Asper: coin from City of Caffa (Genoese colony in Ukrainian Crimea)

ASPER: COIN OF CAFFA (GENOESE COLONY)

Asper, ND (until 1475): City of Caffa

Asper, ND (until 1475): City of Caffa (Genoese)

Caffa — historical Genoese fortress in modern Feodosia; Crimean Peninsula (nowadays Ukraine).

ND (no date).

Ruler: Hacı I Giray (probably the coin was issued after the death of the Khan of the Crimean Khanate in 1466 — "by inertia": this practice was common).

Obverse of the coin: a legend in medieval Latin (sign "": Iacobus Zoalio /Yacobus Зoalio/ — tenant of the Caffa Mint) and completely or abbreviated Caffa/Caffae). Coin emblem of the Caffa in the form of a fortress gate with three towers (so-called "portal" — heraldic symbol of the Genoese) surrounded by dots (pearls).

Reverse of the coin: legend in Arabic — tamga of the Crimean khans of the Giray dynasty (taraq-tamga; now — the coat of arms of the Crimean Tatars).

  • Silver: 15 mm - 0.8 g
  • Reference price: 5$

COIN ASPER — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. CAFFA: GENOESE COLONIAL CITY IN CRIMEA (15th century): asper

Some numismatic sources call asper a number of unrelated coins.

However, I personally consider the following statement to be true: the asper is a small silver Genoese colonial coin. It was produced in the city of Caffa and had an original design: the obverse contained a Latin legend and a heraldic symbol of the Genoese, while on the reverse the inscriptions were only in Arabic script and with a Crimean Tatar graphic symbol.

The fact is that asper in Europe at one time was conventionally called akçe (its European name) of the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Khanate. Therefore, the coins of the Genoese Kafa (a city in the Crimea), similar in nature to the akçe, can rightly be considered asper.

In addition, coins of Byzantine states (the Empire of Trebizond, Empire of Nicaea) are sometimes called aspers. In fact, it's an aspron trachy.

There are also data on aspers of Ottoman Algeria and Libya. However, these coins were not issued en masse and are extremely rare. I suspect that by analogy with the metropolis, they should be called akçe.


The name of the coin asper, as well as its prototype — akçe, also in an approximate translation (asper — from the Latin, akçe — from the Turkish) means "white". That is, the term indicates that it is also made of silver (white metal).