Ilisch, Lutz

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Numismatist and Arabist, head of the Research Center for Islamic Numismatics of the University of Tübingen

Lutz Ilisch (*1950) finished his studies in Arabistics/Islamic Studies, Pre- and Early History as well as Auxiliary Sciences of History with a focus on numismatics at the University of Münster in 1979. His Master’s thesis dealt with coin donations and donative coins in the Islamic world. In 1985, he obtained his Doctor’s degree with his thesis focusing on the history of the Artuqid rule of Mardin between Mamluks and Mongols AD 1260-1410. Already as a student, he contributed to the “Corpus Nummorum Saeculorum IX-XI qui in Suecia reperti sunt” that records the finds form the Viking Age, comprising many Islamic coins. 

Adding to his studies with Peter Berghaus, Lutz Ilisch gained practical experience in the coin trade. At Münzgalerie München, his activities included editing the “Münstersche Numismatische Zeitung”. In this journal he then published his Master’s thesis in several parts. Following completion of his doctorate, he started to work at Münzen und Medaillen AG / Basel. This was also the time when he held lectureships at Freiburg and Basel. 

When the University of Tübingen acquired the comprehensive collection of Islamic coins from American coin dealer Stephen Album, Lutz Ilisch became head of the newly established Research Center for Islamic Numismatics (“Forschungsstelle für Islamische Numismatik, FINT”) in 1990. Under his leadership, Tübingen has become one the world’s most important collections in this area. At the University of Tübingen, Lutz Ilisch has familiarized many young numismatists with Islamic coinage.

In his capacity as curator, Lutz Ilisch is currently responsible for nearly 75,000 Islamic coins that are being published in the “Sylloge Nummorum Arabicorum Tübingen”. He founded this series as a means of scholarly research and academic training, and authored “Palästina. IVa Bilad as-Sam I” (1993) that was awarded by the Royal Numismatic Society and the ANS. He also wrote “Die Münzstätte Damaskus von den Umayyaden bis zu den Mongolen, ca. 660-1260 AD. IVb1 Bilad a-Am II” (2015).

Lutz Ilisch submitted numerous contributions in national and international academic journals. He is co-editor of “Dirham und Rappenpfennig“, a two-part publication in the “Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters” on medieval coin minting in the mining areas as well as Southwestern Germany. Together with Michael Matzke  und Werner Seibt, he authored “Die mittelalterlichen Fundmünzen, Siegel und Gewichte von Santueri, Mallorca” (2005).

As expert on Islamic coinage, Lutz Ilisch is a member of the Numismatic Commission of the States of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

You can reach Lutz Ilisch by email.

On the website of the University of Tübingen you can find him here.

Lutz Ilisch has his own entry in German Wikipedia.

You can also find him on

To read the German article “Silberstein und Sklaven” of the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, referring to Lutz Ilisch, please click here. 

The CoinsWeekly report on Lutz Ilisch’s 65th birthday is available here.