Coin auctions are often the showcase for sales of some the most prized numismatic pieces in existence. This has been especially evident in recent months, with the sale at the auction held by Morton & Eden in April of an incredibly rare Islamic Gold coin – an Umayyad dinar dated AD 723.
What’s more, this coin was not only the most expensive coin sold at the auction – but rather the most expensive coin ever sold at auction in the UK.
The period from which the coin dates was during an era of unparalleled dominance for the Islamic Caliphate centred on Baghdad, which ruled over vast swathes of the Middle East.
Believed to have been struck from a mine owned by the Caliph within territory now within Saudi Arabia, the piece was always going to reach high prices, but the eventual sale price was astonishing. Against sale estimates of £300,000-400,000, the Umayyad dinar hit an unbelievable £3.7 million – a staggering increase of 825%.
As well as breaking the UK record, the Umayyad dinar also became the second most expensive coin ever auctioned worldwide – the record being held by a 1933 Double Eagle sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for $7,590,020.
We have observed this trend of vast increase in numismatic pieces previously, reporting in February of the 2000% price rise in the sale of a Charles I Oxford Mint Triple Unite – which sold for £168,000 against an original price in 1996 of £7,000. Several auction houses have commented on the sharp increase in sale prices for numismatic pieces, and whilst not every coin can attract the amount paid for this rare Islamic Gold coin, they have suggested that there are now more buyers than sellers, with demand high for all categories of numismatics.