When a new coin arrives too late and stokes passions between
international rivals, it’s bound to be a failure.
That explains the scarcity of a gold coin from Morocco in the
Stephen Album Rare Coins auction May 19 to 21.
The 1787 gold 10-mitqal coin was struck at the Madrid Mint in the
name of Sultan Muhammad III. These are among the first machine-struck
coins of Morocco.
Authorization for the coin was granted Jan. 13, 1787, but production
did not begin until Sept. 22, 1787, according to the auction house. A
total of 10,000 pieces were struck from bullion stored in the city of
Tangier, the firm said.
These were clearly intended for circulation and are not, as some
sources report, pattern pieces,
“Although well executed, for multiple reasons this issue was
destined for failure,” the firm said.
By the time the coins arrived in Morocco, the sultan had died, and
his successor, Sultan Muhammad al-Yazid, would not have released coins
of his predecessor during his reign.
The fact that the Madrid Mint (where the coins were struck) was
named in Arabic on the coin, at a time when friction between Spain and
Morocco was high, also doomed the coins.
Nearly the entire mintage was recalled and melted down, and as few
as 10 examples are known to have survived.
The example in the Album auction has “minor scratches” on the
obverse field, which were “repaired,” according to the firm, but
otherwise displays “much original luster.”
The coin is graded About Uncirculated details by Numismatic Guaranty
Corp., and has a pre-sales estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
The auction features some 2,680 lots and will be held in the firm’s
Santa Rosa, Calif., office. Items offered include ancient, Islamic,
Chinese, Indian, and other world coins, in addition to numismatic literature.
To learn more about the auction, visit the company website.