An Umayyad Gold Dinar from the reign of 'Abd al-Malik (AD 685-705) probably Damascus, dated AH 77/AD 696-697

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Lot 44
An Umayyad Gold Dinar from the reign of 'Abd al-Malik (AD 685-705)
probably Damascus, dated AH 77/AD 696-697

£ 100,000 - 150,000
US$ 130,000 - 200,000
An Umayyad Gold Dinar from the reign of 'Abd al-Malik (AD 685-705)
probably Damascus, dated AH 77/AD 696-697
with three lines of inscription in kufic surrounded by a band of inscription in kufic to each side, anonymous, no mint, in NGC holder graded AU53 (About Uncirculated)
20 mm. approx.; 4.29 g.

Footnotes

  • See John Walker, A catalogue of the Arab-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins, London, 1956 p. 84, no. 186; Stephen Album, Checklist of Islamic Coins, Santa Rosa, 2011, no. 125; and Giulio Bernardi, Arabic Gold Coins Corpus, Trieste, 2010, no. 41.

    Inscriptions:

    In three lines to center:
    la ilah illa Allah wahdahu la sharika lahu.
    'There is no god but God alone, He has no associate'.

    And around:
    Muhammad rasul Allah arsalahu bi'l-huda wa din al-haqq li-yuzhirahu 'ala al-din kullihi.
    'Muhammad is the messenger of God, who sent him with guidance and the religion of truth that he might make it supreme over all religions' (Qu'ran sura IX (al-tawbah) part of verse 33).

    In three lines to center:
    Allah ahad Allah al-samad lam yalid wa lam yulad
    'God is one, God is eternal, He does not beget, nor is He begotten' (Qur'an sura CXII (al-Ikhlas) verses 1-3)

    And around:
    bism Allah duriba hadha'l dinar fi sana sab wa sab'in
    'In the name of God, this dinar was struck in the year seven and seventy'.

    The significance of the Year 77h Dinar to early Islamic history cannot be over-stated.

    To Abd al-Malik it seemed inconceivable that the flourishing Umayyad Caliphate did not have a currency of its own and that affairs of state, and everyday commerce, were being conducted using Byzantine coinage, or copies of it, with Christian symbols and the images of foreign leaders.

    After what is thought to have been a relatively short period of development during which we see de-christianized Byzantine solidi, a proto-type gold coinage with the image of a standing caliph, and notwithstanding a bi-lingual coinage of Latin and Arabic that circulated in north Africa and Spain, the first wholly Islamic coin was struck in the year 77h.

    Highly symbolic in its simplicity, there is no image, no reference to a ruler or place. There are only statements of faith and a date in the context of the Hijrah. The 77h Dinar was to succeed in forming the basis of almost a thousand years of subsequent coinage in the Islamic world.

    The exact date at which the Caliph 'Abd al-Malik actually introduced his new coinage is not recorded, but because of the rarity of this issue it has been suggested that it was probably towards the end of the year 77, perhaps for the pilgrimage season at the time of the 'Eid al-Adha. Anyone bearing the coin carried with them a powerful religious message, which explained to new followers the principle tenets of the new faith. In an age before printing and modern communications, coinage was without doubt the most effective messenger that the government possessed to sway the hearts and minds of the people under its rule.

    The present lot is believed to be the only professionally graded example of this coin.
Contacts
An Umayyad Gold Dinar from the reign of 'Abd al-Malik (AD 685-705) probably Damascus, dated AH 77/AD 696-697
An Umayyad Gold Dinar from the reign of 'Abd al-Malik (AD 685-705) probably Damascus, dated AH 77/AD 696-697
An Umayyad Gold Dinar from the reign of 'Abd al-Malik (AD 685-705) probably Damascus, dated AH 77/AD 696-697
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