The coin, estimated at £1.4-1.6m at Morton & Eden’s October 24 auction, was purchased by an anonymous bidder on the telephone.
The price matches the 2011 result, also at Morton & Eden, when another Umayyad dinar from the same year was sold to a London dealer. This also makes it a joint record for any coin sold at auction in Europe.
Similar dinars sell for a few hundred pounds. However, what makes these examples rare is the inscriptions.
The coin is one of only about a dozen known to exist which bears a short line of text Ma‘din Amir al-Mu‘minin bi’l-Hijaz, which translates as ‘Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz’.
Mined between two holy cities
This indicates it was made from gold mined at a location owned by the Caliph himself, one of the successors to the Prophet Muhammad. It also indicates the gold was mined between two holy cities in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia.
Prior to the mine being owned by the Caliph, the previous owner had acquired the land directly from the Prophet Muhammad, adding further importance to the coin.
Morton & Eden said it was the first Islamic gold coin to name a location in Saudi Arabia and indeed the earliest from the Gulf region as a whole.
Stephen Lloyd, Morton & Eden Islamic coins specialist, said: “This dinar is among the most sought-after of all early Islamic coins and represents the ultimate to which any collector of early Islamic coins can aspire.”
The buyer’s premium was 20%.