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    Description

    ARAB-BYZANTINE. Umayyads in Spain. Early 8th century AD, time of al-Walid I (AD 705-715 / AH 86-96). AV solidus (14mm, 4.24 gm). Choice VF. Spanish mint (likely al-Qayrawan), dated Indictional Year 11 and AH 94 (AD 712/3). IN Nd NIN dZ NZ dS N dA (truncated and garbled version of In nomine Domini non Deus nisi Deus solus non Deus alius), seven-pointed star / HI Z FRT IN SPN AN CXIIII (garbled Hic solidus feritus in Spania anno XCIIII), INdC XI across center. Wilkes 139. SNA Ashmolean 742 variant (8-pointed star). Struck on a rather irregular flan with some reddish mineralized deposits on the reverse.

    Following the Arab capture of Carthage in 695, the Byzantine fleet made a successful bid to recapture the city during the winter of 697/8. While the Arabs succeeded in retaking the city soon afterwards, it was ultimately destroyed and its population relocated. The mint itself, however, remained mobile afterwards, and it is likely that this piece was among its emissions after the Islamic governor of Ifriqiya and the Maghrib, Musa ibn Nusayr, precipitated the conquest of Visigothic Spain in 711. This may also explain why the series, though produced in Spain, displays no evidence of Visigothic influence. Dated to the reign of al-Walid I, son and successor of the famous caliph 'Abd al-Malik, this piece shows closer conformance to the designs of the all-epigraphic Islamic coinage first issued at Damascus ca. 697-699 than the imitative Heraclian types of North Africa, though its legends remain in Latin instead of Arabic (they translate to In the name of the Lord, there is no god but God alone, there is no other god / This solidus was struck in Spain, year 94). A fascinating and very rare example both for its intriguing design and connection with the Islamic conquest of Spain, this example certainly demands a premium bid and a place of prestige in any collection.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
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