What is “arguably the most important coin ever struck in the
Arabian Peninsula,” the earliest gold coin that names a locality in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, leads A.H. Baldwin and Sons’ April 25
auction of Islamic rarities.
The A.H. 105 (circa 723 to 724) Umayyad gold dinar was struck in
the first year of Hisham Bin ‘Abd al-Malik and the last of al-Alid II
Bin Yazid, from gold considered to have been mined from Ma’dan amir
al-Mu’minin Bi’l-Hijaz, the Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in
the Hijaz. In Uncirculated condition, the coin names Hijaz, the
birthplace of the Islamic faith, the land of the holy cities of Mecca
A similar coin was sold by Morton & Eden in a 2011 auction for
a staggering, record-setting £3.7 million (about $6 million in U.S.
funds). The coin offered by Baldwin’s has an estimate of £1.5 million
to £2 million (about $2.4 million to $3.2 million U.S.).
It is the highlight from a collection that Baldwin’s is selling in
three parts in London in 2012; the first part is for sale April 25 in
the Westbury Hotel, Mayfair, with the second part following May 9 and
the third part in October.
For more information, telephone the firm at (011) 44 20 7930 9808,
email it at email@example.com, or
visit a special page at its website, www.baldwin.co.uk/islamic-rarities
Some additional highlights:
Umayyad, Mu’awiya b. Abi Sufyan, A.H. 44 (circa 664 to 665)
uniface lead seal, legend translating to “among those things ordered
by the Commander of the Faithful Mu’awiya to dismiss the Amir ‘Abd
Allah bin ‘Amir from the rule of al-Basra,” 21.53 grams, not attached
with a cord through a drilled hole but rather by a ring attached at 12
o’clock, 35 millimeters in diameter, “unique,” Lot 5, Extremely Fine.
Arab-Byzantine, Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, undated A.H. 72 to A.H. 74
(circa A.D. 691 to 694) deChristianized copy of a Byzantine gold
solidus of the emperor Heraclius and his two sons, 4.4 grams,
“earliest gold coin to contain the kalima, the Islamic statement of
faith,” Lot 7, Good Very Fine.
Umayyad, Hisham, Ifriqiya, A.H. 114 (circa 732 to 733) gold dinar,
4.26 grams, “metal defect on the obverse at 3 o’clock,” Lot 18, Good VF.
Umayyad, Hisham, Ifriqiya, A.H. 122 (circa 739 to 740) gold dinar,
4.27 grams, “the latest dinar recorded from Ifriqiya,” “slightly
double struck on the obverse,” Lot 19, Extremely Fine.
Abbasid, al-Muntasir, al-Kufa, A.H. 248 (circa 862 to 863) gold
dinar, 4.2 grams, “light scratches in obverse field,” completely
unpublished,” Lot 57, EF.
Abbasid, A.H. 325 (circa 936 to 937) silver medallion dirham,
Madinat al-Salam, 14.45 grams, “mixes legends normally found on the
reverse with the abbreviated kalima usually found on the obverse,” Lot
Abbasid, al-Mu’tazz, A.H. 252 (866) gold dinar, 4.11 grams, gold
for the coin came from the covering of the Makam Ibrahim (the station
of Ibrahim), “the stone behind which the Prophet Muhammad prayed when
he performed the circumambulation of the Holy Ka’ba,” Mecca, Lot 93, VF.
Ikshidid Dynasty, Abu’l-Misk Kafur, A.H. 357 (circa 967 to 968)
gold dinar, Mecca, 2.78 grams, “one of the classic rarities of Islamic
gold coinage,” one of five examples known, with two examples available
privately “the other remaining with the owner of this piece,” pierced,
Lot 103, EF.
Fatimid, al-Mustansir, A.H. 450 gold dinar, Madinat Rasul Akkah,
3.3 grams, “second known example of this mint,” Lot 106, About EF.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ‘Abd al-’Aziz al-Sa’ud, A.H. 1370 (circa
1950 to 1951) gold guinea or 1-riyal pattern, Makka al-Mukarrima,
“unique,” 7.98 grams, Lot 107, Proof Uncirculated.
Ottoman Empire, Mehmed II bin Murad, circa 1460 uniface bronze
portrait medal, presents the earliest known portrait of Sultan Mehmed
II, attributed to Pietro da Milano, cast, Lot 129, “surprising amount
of detail present and only a small degree of wear over the higher
points of its surface,” “a beautifully toned and very fine
contemporary cast with a reddish-brown patina.” ■