FRESH from their multi-million dollar Prospero triumph in New York, Baldwin’s are preparing to offer an outstanding selection of Islamic rarities as part of London Islamic Week in April.
The sale comprises 150 of the rarest and
highest quality Islamic coins from the first to the 13th centuries
of the Hijri and includes some of the finest examples of the
coinage of Mecca ever to be offered at auction.
"Although the auction contains items from
more than one vendor, the heart of the sale comprises a collection
begun in the 1950s by a private collector," said a spokesman for
Highlights include the rarest of all Islamic
coins, the Umayyad dinar, the earliest gold coin which can be said
with certainty to have come from the Arabian Peninsula.
"A coin of this type and of this quality was
sold at auction in London in 2011 and achieved a staggering £3.7m,
making it the second most expensive coin to ever be sold at
auction," said Baldwin's.
If this example matched that price, it would
easily outstrip the star of the Prospero sale
- acknowledged as the finest collection of Classical Greek coins to
be offered at auction in more than 40 years. That was the gold
stater from Pantikapaion, depicting the head of a satyr, which sold
for $3.25m hammer.
Aside from coins, the Islamic sale will also
offer one of the most important pieces of Islamic historical
documentation. The discovery of the Magnus Princeps bronze portrait
medal of Sultan Mehmed II, c.1460 in late 2000 provides the
earliest known portrait of one of history's greatest military
Conceived barely 15 years after the first
art medal had been produced in Renaissance Italy, the Magnus
Princeps medal throws additional light on the personal interest
that Mehmed II was taking in this new medium.
It carries an estimate of £300,000-400,000 for the April 25 sale
in The Pine Room at The Westbury Hotel, Mayfair, London.