710 Islamic Coin Umayyad Silver Dirham al-Walid ibn Abdel Malik Wasit 91AH XF++
Date: Struck 91 AH or 710 AD.
Mint: The coin clearly shows mint location being Wasit in Iraq.
Size and weight: This is a silver dirham, weighs 2.9 grams and is ~27 mm in diameter.
References: It is Album 128, listed in Al-Ush's Arab Islamic Coins Preserved in the National Museum of Qatar as #970, is listed in Lane Poole Catalogue of the Collection of Arabic Coins Preserved in the Khedivial Library in Cairo Egypt as #171-172 and it is Wilkes 297.
Condition: I would grade this coin as a good extremely fine or much better with a wonderful and well centered good strike having beautiful Calligraphy. The coin has a nice large flan, is lustrous which made it difficult to photograph and, is much better than the photos suggest. The coin has a small ding at the edge which appears on both sides (see 9:00 o'clock 2nd photo and 4:00 o'clock 3rd photo). It also has general light wear commensurate with the coin's age and circulated status, but the calligraphy is very readable and clear. The coin also has some minor surface scratches on both sides. Other than that, the coin is problem free, great looking, and is much better than the photos show. Definitely a quality and beautiful coin. Please see photo for additional condition information.
Historic Perspective: The Muslim Arabs used existing gold and silver coinage in lands they conquered. At that time the nascent Islamic nation did not have a monetary system and did not strike neither gold nor silver coins, instead the conquering Arabs used the Byzantine monetary system already existing in Egypt for most of the gold coins and the Sassanian monetary system already existing in Iran for most silver coins with minor modifications. In 77 AH (699 AD) Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan the Umayyad caliph instituted a monetary system and began striking the first Islamic coins including the gold Dinar and silver dirham. The dinar weighed 4.25 grams, or one mithqal, of the highest purity gold possible. The dirham weighed about 2.85 of the purest possible silver composition, which would maintain a solid coin. At the time the center of power and the main gold coin mint was located in Dimishq (current day Damascus in Syria), while silver coins were minted throughout the Muslim empire.
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