The delicate Ottoman Empire coins known as akche were the smallest coins minted by this powerful Eastern Empire. Minted between the 15th and 18th Centuries, akches were stamped with the Sultan’s symbol, the mint and in later years, the date.
As the years passed, and the Empire’s mints developed larger, more valuable coins, the tiny akches were devalued, but found a permanent place in the Ottoman culture in an unlikely place – as the tinkling decorations that adorned belly dancers’ dresses.
Belly dancers, from the market bazaars (where akches were tossed from an appreciative crowd) to the Sultan’s courts, valued the beautiful coins not just as decorative accents to their colorful costumes, but as a visual dowry that would proclaim their worth as a potential wife. With silver coins tinkling in the sunlight, a woman could display her wealth to potential mates while earning a living. Each of these little coins has led an interesting and colorful life, and will now visit new lands with you!
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