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1.3 Million Swiss Francs For a Complete Collection of the First Islamic Gold Dinars

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Published : December 17th, 2012
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You can be sure this excitement over gold dinars and abandoning London will not be shared by Washington or western bankers.



By
CoinWeek on December 13, 2012 1:42 PM

Numismatica Genevensis turns Geneva into the centre of Islamic numismatics

There was great applause when lot number 439 was finally knocked down on November 27, 2012 at the ritzy Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva. Why? Because this most spectacular of the impressive lots from the Islamic coins section brought in an astounding 1.3 million Swiss francs. It also helped mark a turning point – with this, Geneva effectively superseded not only Zurich as the centre of exclusive coin trading, but also London, which for decades had been considered the hub of Islamic numismatics.





It was a very special multiple lot that started the Numismatica Genevensis Islamic coins section: In the year 77 after the Hijra, the year 696 according to the European calendar, Abd al-Malik bin Marwan (AH 65-86; 685-705 AD) decided to mint a new type of coin. He abandoned the Byzantine prototypes and opted instead for a purely Islamic message for his coins to proclaim for the future. “There is no God but God. He is the one and only, without equal.” Even today, Muslims still avow their faith with almost the same words. And it is this profession of faith alone that occupies the place on the obverse, which, on Byzantine coins, was normally reserved for emperors. The inscription is taken from Verse 33 of the 9th Surah: “Muhammad is the Messenger of God, whom he has sent with the guidance and the religion of truth, that he may prevail over all other religions.” The reverse is also dominated by a message from the holy Quran; Surah 112, Verse 1-3: “He is Allah, the one, the absolute God. He begets not, nor was he begotten.” The inscription reads: “In the name of God, this dinar was minted in the year 77.”

Abd al-Malik had introduced a coin whose stability in both weight and gold content was to make it the most popular trade coin of the Middle Ages. The gold dinar became the money of choice not just in the Islamic countries, but everywhere where luxury goods from the Orient were traded.

In this, their 7th auction, Numismatica Genevensis was able to offer a complete ensemble of all years of the earliest strictly Islamic gold coins, including all rarities of this series and with every single piece in outstanding condition. With a hammer price of 1.3 million francs as opposed to its overall estimate of 400,000, this lot turned out to be auction’s most expensive...
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