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Islamic Coin AUCTION LONDON 2012



To be sold by auction in London at The Westbury Hotel, Mayfair

25 April 2012 5pm An Incredible Selection of Numismatic Rarities from the Islamic World For further information and to register your interest in receiving a catalogue please contact Graham Byfield at or Seth Freeman at

A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd.

Celebrating 140 years 11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 9808 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450

11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6879 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450

Part of Noble Investments (UK) PLC

11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6879 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450 Brochure Issued - January 2012



A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd have been producing specialist Islamic Coin Auctions for almost twenty years and are now proud to present this magnificent group of Islamic coins for sale by auction in London. It includes many of the great rarities found in the series and some of the highlights are featured in these pages. While the Arabian Peninsula always enjoyed a pre-eminent religious and cultural position in the Islamic world, and a number of coins were struck there, the great political centres and trading cities were, from an early date, located outside its boundaries in such cities as Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Constantinople, or, further to the west, al-Andalus (Spain) and Ifriqiya (North Africa). Abundant coinages in gold, silver and copper were struck in the great capitals and important towns, as well as in centres of economic life, at important points on trade routes and in centres of mineral wealth. As the great numismatist Stanley Lane-Poole wrote in 1892, “If the complete series of coins issued by every Muslim state were preserved we should be able to tabulate, with the utmost nicety, the entire line of kings and their principal vassals that have ruled in every part of the Muslim world since the eighth century (CE) and to draw, with tolerable accuracy, the boundaries of their territories at every period”. The earliest coin in this remarkable group is a dechristianised copy of a Byzantine Gold Solidus which shows the Emperor Heraclius and his two sons on the obverse and bears the kalima, the Islamic statement of faith, on the reverse. However, the most famous and sought after of all Umayyad Gold Dinars is that struck in the year 77 of the Hijra by the Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan. This was the very first fully Islamic gold coin, bearing words from the Holy Qur’an without any of the imagery that had been seen on its Byzantine type predecessors. Umayyad gold coins bearing mint names are rarely found, but this auction includes

the earliest reform Dinars from the mint of Ifriqiya dated 100H and an extraordinarily rare set of the full, half and third Dinars of al-Andalus of 102H. To cap it all is the first Gold Dinar which can be said with certainty to have come from the Arabian Peninsula bearing the legend Ma’dan Amir al-Mu’minin bi’l-Hijaz, which means “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in Hijaz”. This coin is believed to have been struck from gold from this mine. While the gold coins of the Umayyads and Abbasids rarely bore mint names, their Silver Dirhams nearly always did. It was the Abbasids who first issued silver coins in al-Yamama, the district around today’s Saudi Arabian capital city, al-Riyadh. Coins bearing the name of the Holy City of Makka are highly prized by collectors of this series. This sale includes the famous Gold Dinar of the Caliph al-Mu’tazz dated 252H. It is recorded that it was struck from gold which had been used to cover the Makam Ibrahim, outside the Ka‘ba. The makam is one of the great relics associated with the Prophet Muhammad, and this outstanding example of the coin, which so eloquently recalls this sacred spot, is extremely rare. Another rare Gold Dinar was struck in Makka after its seizure by the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu’izz by his successor al-‘Aziz in 366H. Gold coins continued to be issued in the Holy City until relatively recently, as can be seen from the unique and beautiful pattern Gold Guinea of King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud bearing the mint name Makka al-Mukarrama struck in the year 1370H (1950-1951 CE). One of the most beautiful silver pieces here is the highly original Silver Medal with an elegant floral pattern that was issued by the Abbasid Caliph al-Radi billah in Madinat al-Salam (“City of Peace”), the name given to Baghdad which was the capital of the Abbasid caliphate.

As time went on the size and design of Islamic coins changed dramatically. Examples illustrated here are the Gold Five Ashrafi piece struck by Ahmad III during Turkey’s “Tulip Period”. It is considered to be the most beautiful of all Ottoman coins, and bears the Sultan’s name and that of his father in a tughra (the Sultan’s signature device) set within a garden of flowers. The elegant tughra design is seen again on the Ottoman Five Guinea piece in the name of ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Mahmud struck in Misr (Egypt) and the “Guinea”, an imitation of the Ottoman Lira or Guinea, which, although issued by the Mahdi of the Sudan also bears the mint name Misr. An extraordinarily rare example of imagery is the uniface Bronze Medal of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II bearing the initials PM in his turban, which is attributed to Pietro di Martino da Milano, one of the great Renaissance master medallists. Thought to be unique, this finely cast medal provides an astonishing insight into the character of the great Sultan so soon after his conquest of Constantinople in 1453 CE. This sale includes many coins that record important events in the history of Islam and some of its great rulers. This is exemplified by a rare Dinar struck after the death of the Fatimid caliph al-Amir, who had no sons, in the name of al-Muntazir (“the Expected”), a caliph who never actually existed. The great Ayyubid ruler al-Nasir Yusuf I, known in the west as Saladin, the famous foe of the Crusaders, is represented here by a Gold Dinar which is said to have been a reward for his troops after his recapture of Jerusalem for the Muslims in 583H.

“…the most beautiful

of all Ottoman coins…”


“…all that a serious collector

of Islamic coins could desire…” A Dinar of the last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta’sim, was struck in Madinat al-Salam during the six week period before the sack of Baghdad and the death of the caliph at the hands of the Mongols in 656H. The Qarmatids, who came from the region of Bahrain in eastern Arabia, earned themselves a bad reptuation by attacking pilgrims as they travelled to Makka. The end of their occupation of Palestine and Syria is marked by a rare Dinar struck there just before their final defeat by the Fatimid forces in 368H. The later coinage of Spain and North Africa was well-known for its “square in circle” design. One such is the magnificent gold coin issued by Muhammad IX the ruler of the Nasrids, the builders of the famous al-Hamra palace complex in Granada, bearing his dynasty’s motto la ghalib illa Allah, meaning “no victory without God’s help”. This pattern was copied by many other dynasties, including the Rasulids of the Yemen. They usually struck their coins in silver, but this sale includes a very rare Dinar issued by al-Mu’ayyad Da’ud in Adan in 718H. The square in circle design of this coin allowed it to circulate as a trade coin along with others of the same type. These are no more than a choice selection of the many highlights from this sale. Among them are all that a serious collector of Islamic coins could desire in their historical importance, high quality, great rarity and artistry, which eloquently illustrate the development of Islamic coinage through the ages. A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. are proud to offer this magnificent group of coins for auction, which it is hoped will be one of the most exciting events in the field of Islamic numismatics for many years. 5

to have a set of all three

Dechristianised copy of a Byzantine solidus of the Emperor Heraclius and his two sons struck in the reign of the caliph ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan in the year 72-73 of the Hijra.

denominations is found only

This is the earliest Islamic gold coin to contain the kalima, the statement of faith, bismillah la ilah illa Allah wahda Muhammad rasul Allah (no god but God unique, Muhammad is the messenger of God).

in the American Numismatic

Umayyad dinar, time of ‘Umar II bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, STRUCK IN IFRIQIYA IN THE YEAR 100 H.

This is the earliest Umayyad post-reform dinar struck in Ifriqiya, probably in the city of Qayrawan in Tunisia, in 100 h. Although it is a full dinar, its legends are identical to those found on the half dinar denomination from Syria.

Society in New York.

A set of the Umayyad full, half and third dinars, time of the caliph Yazid II bin ‘Abd al-Malik, struck in al-Andalus in the year 102 H.


All Umayyad mintless half dinars bear the same Arabic legends. This piece, of the year 101 h., is the latest date in this ten-year series, and it is of the highest rarity.


While all three of these coins are individually very rare, to have a set of all three denominations is found only in the American Numismatic Society in New York.

This is the most sought-

after Islamic coin, whose legends set the pattern for centuries to come Umayyad dinar, 77 H, without mint name, time of ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan.

In the year 77 of the Hijra the Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik introduced a fully Islamic gold coin carrying legends found in the Holy Qur’an. This is the most sought-after Islamic coin, whose legends set the pattern for centuries to come.


This extremely rare dinar is the earliest gold coin which can be

said with certainty to have come from the Arabian Peninsula. Umayyad dinar, struck in the FIRst year of Hisham bin ‘Abd al-Malik and the LAst of al-Walid II bin Yazid, at Ma’dan Amir al-Mu’minin bi’l-Hijaz (Mine of the Prince of the Believers in Hijaz) in 105 H.

This extremely rare dinar is the earliest gold coin which can be said with certainty to have come from the Arabian Peninsula.


one of the rarest



When gold dinars were first issued in Ifriqiya (North Africa) and al-Andalus (Spain) they bore the same legends as the Umayyad half dinar denomination. But, as this may have caused confusion to their users, by the time this piece was struck the legends, except for the addition of the mint name, were identical to those mintless dinars struck in Damascus.

While the Umayyads and early Abbasids struck many dirhams at the mint of Arminiya, gold dinars are excessively rare, with only three examples recorded. This piece was struck in the last year of al-Mutawakkil's hostile occupation of Armenia, before he removed his troops and released the rebel leader, at which time peace was restored.

dirhams issued by

Umayyad dinar, time of Hisham bin ‘Abd al-Malik, struck in Ifriqiya in the year 122 H.

partisans of ‘Abd

By this time the legends on the gold dinars in both east and west followed the same wording and pattern, with the exception that the Umayyad mints in Ifriqiya and al-Andalus bore their mint names in the reverse marginal legend. It is possible that this coinage was struck to support the first Muslim campaign against the Byzantines in Sicily.


This is one of the rarest dirhams issued by partisans of ‘Abd Allah bin Mu’awiya in the centre of revolutionary activity, the province of Fars. The extra marginal legend from the Holy Qur’an calls for loyalty towards the love of kindred, implying the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.

Allah bin Mu’awiya

Abbasid dinar, time of al-Saffah bin Muhammad, without mint name 132 h.

Abbasid dinar, al-Musta’in billah, Makka 248 H.

The Abbasid revolution was displayed in the coinage by substituting the words of Qur’an surah 112 with Muhammad rasul Allah in the reverse field on both their dinars and dirhams.

This is an Abbasid dinar of conventional design struck in the name of the Caliph al-Musta’in in the Holy City of Makka in 248 h. While this mint name became more frequently encountered at this time, it is still very rare.


intended for

Abbasid medallion dinar, al-Mu’tadid billah, Barda’a 286 H. This remarkable coin was struck in the Azeri city of Barda’a, probably while al-Mu’tadid was on military campaign in the region. Its broad flan and especially artistic legends make it clear that it was intended for presentation to members of the Caliph’s court and army.

presentation to members of the Caliph’s

Abbasid dinar, al-Muqtadir billah, Antakiya 305 H.

Antakiya/Antioch is another rare Syrian mint, although one which appeared in the coinage of the Tulunids and Hamdanids as well as the Abbasids.

court and army

Abbasid dirhams, time of al-Mahdi bin al-Mansur, al-Yamama 165, 169 and al-Hadi bin al-Mahdi 170 H.

The earliest mint place to be established in the Arabian peninsula was al-Yamama, the district around today’s Saudi Arabian capital, al-Riyadh. The first coin was dated 165 and bears the name Hajar in the reverse field. The second also struck by al-Mahdi, bears the name ‘Abd Allah bin Sa’id, and the third, the latest dated issue of 170 gives the name of the ephemeral caliph al-Hadi.


ABBASID, AL-MUQTADIR BILLAH, DINAR, BARDA’A 315 H. This dinar was struck in the Azeri capital Barda’a at a time when this remote Abbasid possession, which had frequently been under the control of semi-independent governors, briefly returned to direct Abbasid rule.

No public collection possesses an

example of this coin Abbasid dinar, al-Mu’tazz billah, Makka 252 H.

The gold for this famous dinar of the Caliph al-Mu’tazz dated 252 h came from the covering of the Makam Ibrahim in the Holy City of Makka.


as this mint was active ABBASID, AL-MUQTADIR BILLAH, DINAR, ‘ATHTHAR 319 H.

This dinar from the Asir region of Saudi Arabia shows the region's allegiance to the Sunni caliphate. It is remarkable in the placement of the Caliph's title, Amir al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful), alone in the obverse field and his caliphal name, al-Muqtadir billah, as well as his personal name, Abu Ja’far, in the reverse field.

Sa’adian Usurper, dinar, Abu’l-Mahalli, known on his coinage as Abu’l-‘Abbas Ahmad al-Mahdi, Marrakush 1021 H. “Abu Mahalli” claimed descent from the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle al-‘Abbas. He devoted his life to Allah. named himself the Mahdi (Messiah) and waged holy war to end the rule of the Sa‘adian Sharifs. Abu Mahalli led his followers to confront the Sa‘adian ruler, who put up no resistance. He took on all the trappings of royalty, won great popularity and took advantage of the available gold to strike coins in his own name. However, having assured his followers of his divine power, he was killed in battle by a single shot, and Marrakesh returned to Sa‘adian rule.

for only four years, its Abbasid dinar, al-Musta’sim billah, Madinat al-Salam 656 H.

The year 656 H marks the end of Abbasid power, just as 132 h marked its beginning. In the first days of the month of Muharram Madinat al-Salam was besieged by the forces of the Ilkhan Hulagu, and capitulated within a few days. At this time the city reverted to its original, popular name, Baghdad. After Musta’sim’s murder a shadow caliphate lived on under the Mamluks of Egypt. Later the office of caliph was claimed by the Ottomans after their conquest of Cairo.

Qarmatid dinar, anonymous (al-Sadat al-Ru’asa), Filastin 368 H. This dinar marks the end of the Qarmatid occupation of Palestine. After removing Qarmatid influence from Makka the Fatimid forces of al-‘Aziz defeated the Qarmatids in the first days of 368 h, prompting their return to Bahrain.

coins are notably rare Fatimid, ‘Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi, al-Muhammadiya 320 H.

al-Murabitid, dinar, ‘Ali bin Yusuf (500-537 H), Malaqa 501 H.

‘Ali bin Yusuf ruled both in Morocco and Spain. This coin from the first year of his reign was struck in Malaqa (Malaga). As this mint was active for only four years, its coins are notably rare. On the reverse is found the title of the Abbasid caliph without his regnal name, showing that the Murabitids were Sunni.


‘Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi, the founder of the Fatimid caliphate, first ruled from Qayrawan in central Tunisia and then moved his seat to al-Mahdiya on the eastern coast. Late in his reign the mint name al-Muhammadiya appeared on his coinage which, for lack of an important city in North Africa bearing this name, probably conceals that of the actual mint place, possibly Tunis.

It is one of the masterpieces

of all Islamic art Abbasid medallion diRHAM, al-Radi billah, Madinat al-Salam 325 H.

This magnificent coin is unusual in several respects. It mixes legends normally found on the reverse with the abbreviated kalima usually found on the obverse, and includes a beautiful floral device. This was probably taken from the plasterwork designs used in decorating the rooms of the caliphal palaces in Madinat al-Salam and Surra man ra’a (Samarra). It is one of the masterpieces of Islamic art.


After al-Mu’izz conquered Egypt he went on the seize the Holy City of Fatimid dinar, al-‘Aziz billah, Makka 366 H.

After al-Mu’izz conquered Egypt he went on to seize the Holy City of Makka in the Hijaz. This excessively rare dinar was struck in the name of his successor al-‘Aziz during the latter’s struggle with the Qarmatids.


Makka in the Hijaz.

from the Palestinian mint of Fatimid dinar, al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah, Asqalan 509 H.

al-Amir succeeded al-Must‘ali in 495 h and struck most of his coinage in Egypt. This rare dinar comes from the Palestinian mint of Asqalan, south of Acre, which for a time was the chief Fatimid port in Palestine.

Asqalan, south of Acre, Fatimid dinar, al-Muntazir li-amr Allah, al-Iskandariya 525 h.

al-Muntazir (the ‘Expected’) was the imaginary son of al-Amir, who died without issue leaving a pregnant concubine whose child’s birth was never recorded. This coin demonstrates the extreme importance that the Fatimids placed on direct descendants of the Isma’ili imams.

which for a time was the chief Burid dinar, Abaq, acknowledging the overlordship of the Iraq Saljuq Mas’ud and the Great Saljuq Sanjar, Dimashq 538 H.

Damascus was the westernmost extension of Saljuq power. The Burids were an ephemeral dynasty which lasted for no more than half a century. Surprisingly, their coinage resembled that of the Fatimids, although the legends were purely Sunni, acknowledging the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtafi.

Fatimid port in Palestine.


a special donation Nasrid dinar, Muhammad IX b. Nasr, Gharnata undated

The Nasrids were the builders of the great al-Hamra complex in Granada. This, one of the beautiful coins struck by the last Muslim rulers in Spain, contains the Nasrid motto la ghalib illa Allah - ‘No victory without God’s (help), and on the reverse the mint name Gharnata (Granada). Muhammad IX reigned between 821 and 856 h., but his rule was interrupted three times. This coin can be attributed to his first period of rule, 821-830.

issue struck to reward AYYUBID, AL-NASIR YUSUF I (SALADIN), DINAR, DIMASHQ 583 H.

While Saladin struck an abundant gold coinage in al-Qahira (Cairo) and al-Iskandariya (Alexandria), this is the only dinar bearing his name from a Syrian mint. The date, 583 h., the year in which Saladin won the decisive victory at the Horns of Hattin outside Jerusalem, suggests that it was a special donative issue struck to reward his victorious troops.

his victorious troops Bahri Mamluk dinar, al-Ashraf Musâ II, al-Qahira 649 H.

All coins in the name of al-Ashraf Musâ II were struck by the Mamluk ruler Aybak, who used the Ayyubid Musâ as a formal justification for his own de facto rule. Musâ was a son of al-Ma’sud Yusuf, the Ayyubid ruler of the Yemen. This coin, while entirely Ayyubid in its form and legends, is emphatically one of the first Mamluk issues.


believed to be the earliest surviving representation of

the great Ottoman The Extraordinary ‘Magnus Princeps’ Bronze Portrait Medal of Sultan Mehmed II.

Made shortly after Mehmed II’s conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and attributed to the medallist and sculptor Pietro da Milano, this masterful uniface portrait from the High Renaissance is remarkable in showing the Sultan as a young man at this hugely significant time. Believed to be unique, this medal is considered the earliest surviving representation of the great Ottoman ruler.


generally considred to Rasulid gold dinar, al-Mu’ayyad Da’ud, ‘Adan 718 H.

While practically all the Rasulid coinage was struck in silver, there were occasional, very rare gold issues which copied the square in circle design introduced by the Muwahhids in North Africa. The principal difference is that, unlike the latter, the Rasulids included both the mint name and the date in their legends.

be the most beautiful Anonymous, Mahdi of the Sudan, gold “guinea”, “Misr” 1255 H. regnal year 2

It is recorded that when the Mahdi siezed power in the Sudan he used an Egyptian guinea bearing the tughra of the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd al-Majid as a pattern for his gold coinage. It is clear that this coin is a reasonable copy, but that it would only fool those who had to accept it in Umdurman (Khartoum), the Mahdi’s capital.

of all Ottoman coins Ottoman, gold presentation five ashrafi, Ahmad III bin Muhammad, Qustantaniyya 1115 H.

This piece is generally considered to be the most beautiful of all Ottoman coins. It places the Sultan’s tughra in what appears to be a garden, which, considering that the reign of Ahmad III was known as ‘the Tulip Period’, is entirely appropriate. These large presentation pieces were inspired by contemporary Venetian issues of similar size.


This is

the only

example known. Sa’udi Arabia, gold pattern guinea, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al Sa’ud, Makka al-Mukarrima 1370 H.

This is the pattern for the first gold coinage of Saudi Arabia. The design of the obverse is identical to the issued coinage, but the description of the denomination on the reverse is inscribed without the vowel marks. This is the only example known.


struck in tiny

Ottoman, gold five guineas/500 ghurush, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Mahmud, gold five guineas, Misr 1277 H. regnal year 15 This magnificent five guinea/500 ghurush coin was struck in tiny numbers as gifts for the Khedive’s family and court.

numbers as gifts for Rum Saljuq presentation dinar, ‘Izz al-din Kaykawus II, without mint name, undated

the Khedive’s

The names of the Sultan Kaykawus II appear on the obverse and of the Abbasid Caliph al-Musta’sim on the reverse of this dinar. It is an unpublished piece that is unusual in that it lacks both mint name and date, which suggests that it was intended for presentation to members of the Sultan’s court.


family and court

This is a previously unpublished coin which confirms that after the fall of the Buwayhids in Fars the coasts of Oman came under the rule of the Saljuqs of Kirman. It is recorded that Qara Arslan Beg briefly sought refuge in Oman while conflicts within his family forced him to leave Kirman.


A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd, London Founded in 1872, A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd set up their in-house auction department ‘Baldwin’s Auctions’ in 1993 and have since expanded to hold regular auctions of all numismatic material in London, New York and Hong Kong. Baldwin’s have been based in central London for over 100 years and are the last remaining traditional coin dealers in London offering an old-fashioned personal service to help you build your collection with confidence. e Baldwin’s specialist team has worked as advisors and cataloguers of coins for many of the most prestigious auction houses in London and abroad for decades. Our extensive library, comprising thousands of reference books, allows us to research thoroughly all aspects of numismatics from Ancient times to the present day, with the main focus including English, European, Russian, Islamic, Indian, the Americas and Oriental coins, as well as commemorative medals, for auction and direct sale. Today our permanent staff of numismatists include: Edward Baldwin (European, Colonial, Oriental and Russian Coins), Dimitri Loulakakis (English, European, Latin American and Modern Greek Coins), Steve Hill (English Coins), Graham Byfield (Indian and Islamic Coins and Commemorative Medals), Paul Hill (Ancient Coins), Seth Freeman (British Tokens and Banknotes), David Kirk (Military Medals), Caroline Holmes (Numismatic Books), and Laurent Stainvurcel (European Coins). e merger of Baldwin’s with Noble Investments (UK) PLC in 2005, and the acquisition in early 2008 of Apex Philatelics Ltd., has seen the company expand to become a formidable market player offering a complete package for any coin or stamp collector or investor. A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd is one of the largest numismatic houses in Europe and the only numismatic trading company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Baldwin’s has been a member of the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) since 1969, and is also a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA), the British Antique Dealer’s Association (BADA) and individuals on their staff are members of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Royal Numismatic Society (RNS) and the British Numismatic Society (BNS).

11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 9808 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450

11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6879 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450

Design & Production by Jamm Design

11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 9808 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450

11 Adelphi Terrace London WC2N 6BJ Great Britain tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6879 fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9450

Classical Rarities of Islamic Coinage  
Classical Rarities of Islamic Coinage  

Baldwin’s have been holding specialist Islamic Coin auctions for almost twenty years and are delighted to announce that, in the year they wi...