Silver Umayyad dirham coin displays 18.05% pa increase in Islamic sale

A fine silver dirham, dating from the Umayyad caliphate (661-750 AD), displayed an impressive per annum increase at Baldwin's on May 8, in its important Islamic coin sale.


Abd al-Malik silver dirham
The Abd al-Malik silver dirham

The coin was minted during the reign of Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, who served as the fifth Umayyad caliph. It was the Abd al-Malik caliphate that saw all important records translated into Arabic and the first occurrence of a special currency for the Muslim world.

It was these declarations of independence that would lead the caliphate into war against the Byzantine Empire. Abd al-Malik's forces went on to defeat those of emperor Justinian II, making the coin the only currency in the Muslim world.

The rare dirham sold for £34,000 ($54,817) against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000-20,000 ($24,184-32,245) displaying an increase of 70%.

The same coin was previously sold at another Baldwin's Islamic coin auction in 2008 for £18,000, which equates to an 18.05% pa increase.

The auction comes just two weeks after a Muslim version of a Byzantine gold solidus, also dating from the reign of Abd al-Malik, sold for £110,000 ($177,347) at Baldwin's on April 25, highlighting the current value and popularity of rare Islamic coinage.

An extremely rare gold dinar from the rule of Shibal al-Dawla Nasr I, citing the Fatimid overlord al-Mustansir, brought £18,000, against an estimate of £15,000-20,000, at the May 8 sale.

An identical sale price was brought by another gold dinar from Shihab al-din Mahmud, this time bearing reference to the caliph al-Muqtafi. The consecutive lots also shared the same estimate.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has its own collection of rare coins from across the world. This Italian renaissance coin, of which only five are thought to exist, provides a superb investment opportunity to boost any collection.

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