A magnificent gold dinar from the short-lived reign of Baghdad caliph al-Muntasir topped a July 17 Islamic coin auction in London.
The impressive sum achieved by the exquisite coin was boosted by its rarity, with the leader's reign lasting for less than a year before he died in mysterious circumstances.
Al-Muntasir first ascended to the throne in December 861, after his father al-Mutawakkil was killed by a Turkish soldier. With the support of the Turkish faction, al-Muntasir claimed the title of Caliph of Islam on the very same day, forcing his two brothers to write statements of abdication shortly after.
Despite this hostile opening gambit, al-Muntasir was a popular leader during his half-year rule, known for his love of Shia Islam and lifting the ban on pilgrimage to the tombs of Hassam and Hussayn. He died in June 862 of unknown causes, with his scorned brothers implicated in the crime.
The dinar at auction was struck in the historic city of Surra Man Ra'a, later known as Samarra, at the end of al-Muntasir's brief rule. An extremely fine and rare example, it was well struck and in an incredible state of preservation given its age. It sold for £19,000 ($29,756).
Elsewhere in the sale, another gold dinar, this time from the first series minted under the rule of the "Mad Caliph" al-Hakim in 1020, sold for £4,000. Another of the auction highlights came from an al-Zahir gold half dinar, which sold 13.3% above its high estimate of £3,000, achieving £3,400.
For more of the latest numismatic news, check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles regularly. We also have a spectacular selection of rarities from across the world currently in stock, with this Italian renaissance coin highlighting our collection as one of just two sound examples available to private collectors.