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Islamic Coin Sells For £3.7 Million In Morton & Eden Sale – Second Most Expensive Coin Ever Sold at Auction

Second most expensive coin ever sold at auction

One of the rarest and most highly-prized of all Islamic gold coins, struck possibly to coincide with an occasion when the Caliph himself led the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, sold for a record £3.7 million ($6.029,400 US)  in a sale at specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden in London today. The price makes it the second most expensive coin ever auctioned. (The most expensive is the 1933 Double Eagle sold by Sotheby’s in July 2002 for $7,590,020).

The Umayyad dinar, dated 105h (723AD) was struck from gold mined at a location owned by the Caliph himself – known on the coins as the “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful”. An additional legend which reads: “bi’l-Hijaz” (“in the Hejaz”), makes it the earliest Islamic coin to mention a location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It had been expected to realise £300,000-400,000, but four bidders in the saleroom sent the price spiraling ever higher. It was purchased by the British trade on behalf of a European private collector.

From the Morton & Eden Catelog:

Lot 12: UMAYYAD, TEMP. YAZID (101-105h) OR HISHAM (105-125h)
Dinar, Ma`din Amir al-Mu`minin bi’l-Hijaz 105h
REVERSE: In field: Allah ahad Allah | al-samad lam yalid | wa lam yulad Ma`din | Amir al-Mu`minin | bi’l-Hijaz
WEIGHT: 4.28g
Walker 1956: ANS.16 = Miles 1950: 66; Khalili Collection AV1032 (same reverse die)
CONDITION: Extremely fine, extremely rare and historically important; the first example of this type to appear at public auction

A second, slightly earlier dinar (92h – 711AD) struck from gold from the same mines sold for £648,000. It had been estimated at £250,000-300,000.

Morton & Eden Islamic coins specialist Stephen Lloyd said: “We are absolutely thrilled and delighted with the results from this sale. We had worked very hard to promote these particular coins internationally, but the prices they have achieved have surpassed all expectations. Their success also demonstrates that sales by public auction are the only way to achieve the very highest prices for the very finest pieces.

“The excellent results for the two gold dinars early on in the sale, which was dedicated to important coins of the Islamic world, set the stage for the remainder and extremely strong prices were paid throughout.”

Scholars have identified the site of the mine itself as Ma`din Bani Sulaim, located north-west of the Holy City of Mecca. Gold has been mined there for thousands of years, and the site is still worked today. Remarkably, mediaeval Arab writers record that the Caliph bought a piece of land in this area, containing at least one gold mine, almost exactly when these coins were made. But while there is general agreement on the source of the gold, the question of exactly where these coins were struck is harder to answer.

“The capital, Damascus, is a strong possibility, but mint workers and their tools could easily have travelled with the Caliph and struck coins wherever he stayed,” Stephen Lloyd said. “Scholars have noted that the dates of these very rare dinars seem to coincide with the occasions when the Caliph himself led the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, while an old inscription also shows that a road built specially for the pilgrimage went right past this mine. So one plausible theory argues that the Caliph visited his gold mines while en route for Mecca, and it is possible these coins might have been struck while he was travelling.”

Elsewhere in the sale, one of the first Islamic coins struck in the Sultanate of Oman, an extremely rare Umayyad silver dirham, one of only a handful known today dating from the Hijri year 90 (709 AD) sold for £1,080,000, a world auction record for a silver Islamic coin. It had been estimated at £20,000-30,000 and was also purchased by the buyer of the more valuable gold dinar.

“This coin reflects the importance of Oman and the Gulf region as a key commercial centre, then as now,” said Stephen Lloyd.

Umayyad dirhams from Oman are the earliest Islamic coins struck in the Arabian peninsula, and also the first dated objects to preserve the name Oman. Only two dates are known: 81h and 90h, and just a few specimens are recorded in total.

The sale raised a total of £6,673,560, against estimates of £886,000-£1.16 million.

For further information, contact Stephen Lloyd or Tom Eden on 020 7493 5344 or [email protected].

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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  1. This was a very interesting read and only goes to confirm (more than ever) the extreme value in investing in rare coins. I am currently working on an article about rare South African coins that have sold on auction in America.

  2. I have some pieces of Islmic gold coins.I wonder if there is any posibility to sell these coins in the auction.I,ll be gratefull when you lead me to sell these coins. At your disposition to esnd photos of the mentioned coins.Thanks alot .

  3. I have some pieces of Islmic gold coins and some other rare things.I wonder if there is any posibility to sell these things in the auction.I,ll be gratefull when you lead me to sell these coins.Thanks alot

  4. Hellow Sir/Madam:
    I am in Mogadishu,Somalia, I did come and cross your website and,i was looking provessional coin auctioner, we have Silver Islamic coins which is similar the one i have seen in your website, i think it can be older when i do compered, also gold coins, which is very old, these items is not mine, other people founded while they are chasing and mining Gemstone in the mountainains, i need your help. when ever you ask proof i ready to send photo of coins.

    Mr; 8ashir Mohamed
    tel; +252618908169

    • Mohammad: Islamic coins are a very specialized area of numismatics and you will need to find out more about the different venues available to you. This will of course depend on where you are located and if there are any honest and knowledgeable coin dealers near you. I would first suggest that you take some high resolution images of the coins(s). Take these to a local dealer, if one is available, and ask him to identify the coins for you (Date, type, denomination, etc)

      If he is interested in seeing the coins in person, you might have something of value. In any case once you know what you have you can check online sites, auction records to see if you can find similar or the same coins and see what they sell for. You can also send images of the coins to some of the auction houses to ask them for valuation or if they would handle a sale for you.

  5. Dear sir/madam
    I have some old coins (silver and copper) and i might have a travel to an American country so i ask that is it legal to take my coins with me ? I mean is taking them from one country to another is legal ?

  6. I have a gold Arabic coin with the numbers large 5 and 1383 on one side and the Taj mahal and leaves on the other side. Can you tell me what the value of this coin is? Thank you

  7. My father used to find big,gold co7n,(i guess)…1 side is written Arabic word n d other side,9 men standing…1 man in d centre is holding a stick…Can u tell me snyting bout dis coin?Juz so curious..

  8. I have 2 different old gold coins it’s in muslim language want to know the history and the value. If valued then want to go for auction.


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