Tue, Oct 6, 2020

Art & Auctions
Rare historic gold coin set for auction

An exceptionally rare Islamic gold coin from the Ghorid dynasty, dating from the early 13th century will come under the hammer of specialist auctioneers Morton and Eden in London in London on October 22, 2020.

Specially struck for presentation, the coin measures approximately 46mm (more than an inch and a half) and weighs a hefty 45g of pure gold. It is estimated to fetch £200,000 – £300,000 at the auction.

The reason it is expected to fetch such a high price is due to the fact that it is the only known example of one of these magnificent presentation coins to bear the sole name of one of the most famous Ghorid Sultans – Mu’izz Al-Din Muhammad bin Sam (567-602h), also known as ‘Muhammad of Ghor’.

Stephen Lloyd of Morton & Eden explains: "This outstanding, large gold coin is of significant historical importance to the Islamic world and to India. This is because the man who issued it, Mu’izz al-Din, is credited as having laid the foundations for subsequent centuries of Muslim rule in the Indian Subcontinent."

Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad was born in Ghor, now the heart of present-day Afghanistan. Together with his elder brother, Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad, they created a vast Ghurid empire stretching from Northern India in the East to the margins of the Caspian Sea in the West.

It is Mu’izz al-Din’s successful campaigns in India for which he is most well known today. As swathes of Indian territories fell under his command he quickly set about establishing Islam there, replacing existing temples with mosques and introducing Islamic precepts and legal principles. As a consequence, he is widely acknowledged as having changed the course of Indian history. When Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad died in 599h (1202), Mu’izz al-Din succeeded him as sole Ghorid Sultan until he was assassinated in the Punjab in 602h (1206).

While there are similar gold coins minted at Ghazna for the years of 597h and 598h, also carefully struck to the weight of 10-mithqals/dinars, these bear the names of both Sultan brothers. This coin, however, struck a few years later in 601h (1205AD) after Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad’s death, is the only one of its type to bear the sole name of Mu’izz Al Din.

Why this magnificent medallion was produced is not known for certain, although it carries the date 601h (1205), the year when parts of India came under Mu’izz al-Din’s sway. Steve Lloyd of Morton & Eden said: “This is a truly special coin. It was struck to celebrate and acknowledge the power and greatness of Mu’izz al Din (Muhammad of Ghor) at the height of his achievements in India.”

This is the first time that this great rarity has been seen at public auction, having been in a European private collection for decades.

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