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21609

Islamic Dynasties: Abbasid, al-Mutawakkil, AH 232-247 / AD 847-861, gold double dinar for presentation (8.34g, 28mm). ...

2013 January 6-7 Ancient & World Coin Signature Auction - New York #3021

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Auction Ended On: Jan 7, 2013
Item Activity: 1 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Waldorf Astoria
301 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Description:
Magnificent Donative Double Dinar
Abbasid, al-Mutawakkil, AH 232-247 / AD 847-861, gold double dinar for presentation (8.34g, 28mm).  Surra man Ra'a 245, citing al-Mu'tazz as heir-apparent, A-T229, superb style, broad outer margin on both sides, probably unique. Perfectly struck on a medallic flan. Choice Extremely Fine.

The Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (AH 232-247 / AD 847-861) introduced presentation coinage at the two capitals of the caliphate, Madinat al-Salam for the eastern half of the state and at Surra man Ra'a for the western half.  Madinat al-Salam, which means "the city of peace," was the Abbasid name for Baghdad, and Surra man Ra'a, which means "he who sees it is pleased" was a punning name for Samarra.

The presentation coins were struck in both gold and silver, sometimes at the traditional weights of the gold dinar (about 4.25g) and the silver dirham (about 2.97g), but doubles and fractions were made for both.  The present example, struck at Surra man Ra'a in AH 245, is the earliest known date for the gold double dinar, although silver double dirhams reported for earlier dates.

The doubles are of the greatest rarity.  This is the first double dinar of al-Mutawakkil that has been reported to us, and of finest style, obviously produced with greatest care, with superbly engraved dies.  The singles are much less rare.  For example, a silver dirham and gold dinar, both of Surra man Ra'a and dated AH 243, appeared at a Baldwin's auction in October 2010.  These were excellent strikes, but do not compare with the beauty of this piece.

Abbasid presentation coins were struck from for almost 100 years, from the AH 230s to the 330s, primarily silver dirhams and fractional dirhams.  This superbly struck double dinar is one of the most remarkable pieces in this collection.  Although single dinars for presentation, weight about 4.2g, are only moderately rare, this is first reported example of a double dinar.  Unlike most of the known single dinars, the double dinar was obviously produced in order to reveal the magnificence possible at the Surra man Ra'a mint.

This and the other presentation coins in this collection are from a recent find of unknown provenance.

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