A rare Islamic coin that dates from the first Dynasty of Islam in AD723 was sold for a record £3.7 million ($6.029,400 US) in a sale at specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden in London. The price makes it the second most expensive coin ever auctioned. The most expensive is the 1933 Double Eagle sold by Sotheby’s in July 2002 for $7,590,020.
The Islamic Umayyad dinar, one of only a dozen known to exist, bears a short line of text: “Ma’din Amir al-Mu’minin bi’l-Hijaz”, which means “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz”.
The coin, which is about the size of a modern £1, is thought to have been owned by several Caliphs and is also said to have been given to a former owner by Prophet Muhammad himself. It is one of the first to name a location in Saudi Arabia and is the earliest from the Gulf region as a whole.
It had been expected to reach £300,000-400,000, but four bidders in the saleroom sent the price spiraling ever higher. It was purchased by the British trade on behalf of a European private collector.