An extremely rare gold Umayyad dinar dated 91AH (710 AD) will be auctioned by Morton & Eden at Sotheby's on April 10. The coin, the first of its kind to ever be offered at auction, bears the unusual inscription of "Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin" - translated as "Mine of the Commander of the Faithful".
Morton & Eden specialist Stephen Lloyd said: "Umayyad dinars from the 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' are among the rarest, most highly prized and intriguing of all Islamic coins. We can deduce that they were only ever struck in very small quantities because the same special obverse die, which carries the 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' legend, was used for at least four years."
Some scholars have suggested that coins bearing this inscription were minted from an early Saudi Arabian gold mine owned by Caliph al-Walid I, under whose rule the Arab Empire grew to its zenith, stretching from Spain to the borders of India. It is posited that these coins were specially struck at the mine to commemorate the al-Walid's Hajj that year, by minters from Damascus traveling with the Caliph stopped there on his way to Mecca.
This coin is expected to sell for between £300,000 and £400,00 ($500,000 to $660,000). The April 10 sale will also include a unique early Umayyad silver dirham from the unrecorded mint of Tukharistan, as well as exceptional offerings of Abbasid gold dinars and Fatimid coins from Palestinian mints. For further details please contact Stephen Lloyd, Tom Eden or María Queralt, Morton & Eden Ltd, Nash House, St George Street, London W1S 2FQ. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7493 5344 email@example.com.