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Middle Eastern Coins

The earliest-known Middle Eastern coins were introduced by the Persian Empire in 6th century B.C. Most 6th-century Persian coins were melted down and replaced during Alexander the Great's conquest. Currency in the Middle East was dominated by first the Greeks, then later the Byzantine Empire. It took until the end of the 7th century A.D. for the Middle East to escape Byzantium's influence, when the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik created his own monetary system.

Abd al-Malik broke with Byzantine currency as a result of iconoclasm: being Muslim, the increasing usage of Christian iconography caused conflict. Many of the clerics of the time felt that the use of religious icons on something mundane like currency went against their religion, so Abd al-Malik opted for coins without images, using only inscriptions. The heavy use of legends with very limited types continues to trend in Middle Eastern coins today.

Modern-era Middle Eastern coins come in a diverse variety of shapes and metals. Some coins, such as the Jordanian half dinar, are bimetallic. Others show an impressive amount of history for one coin, like the British-made Palestinian coins minted after World War I. These coins had to be legible to three different groups of people in the same region while also avoiding offense. The resulting coins have their legends displayed in Arabic, Hebrew, and English and display their date of issue in both Gregorian and Islamic calendar dates.


Quick Facts

  • The dinar is a Middle Eastern unit of currency that has survived to the present day. It originated from the denarius, an ancient Roman coin
  • An Umayyad gold dinar from the early 8th century A.D. sold at auction for just over $6,000,000 in 2011, the third-highest record sale among all coins
  • Many coins minted by the Ottoman Turks display the date of issue in the Islamic calendar and regnal year

Recommended Items at Auction

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Judaica Israeli 20K Gold Theodor Herzl Coin
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
Judaica Israeli 20K Gold Theodor Herzl Coin
by World Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $500
$4258 Bids
Israeli Silver Coinage
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Israeli Silver Coinage
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$6506 Bids
Palestine-British Administration (1927-1946) Coinage
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Palestine-British Administration (1927-1946) Coinage
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$404 Bids
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$254 Bids
Israel (1949) Silver 500 Pruta (KM-16, .4019 oa ASW).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Israel (1949) Silver 500 Pruta (KM-16, .4019 oa ASW).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$203 Bids
Yemen AH1367 (1948) Silver(?) Ahmadi Riyal (KM-Y17, 28.2 grams t.w.)
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Yemen AH1367 (1948) Silver(?) Ahmadi Riyal (KM-Y17, 28.2 grams t.w.)
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$183 Bids
United Arab Emirates- Sharjah. 1964 Silver 5 Rupees (KM-X1, 25.0 grams t.w.).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
United Arab Emirates- Sharjah. 1964 Silver 5 Rupees (KM-X1, 25.0 grams t.w.).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$203 Bids
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$122 Bids
Saudi Arabia AH1354 (1935) Silver Riyal (KM-18, .342 oz ASW).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Saudi Arabia AH1354 (1935) Silver Riyal (KM-18, .342 oz ASW).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$182 Bids
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot Seafaring (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot Seafaring (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$122 Bids
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot Seafaring (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot Seafaring (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$122 Bids
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$152 Bids
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot Seafaring (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Israel 1963 Silver 5 Lirot Seafaring (KM-39, .7234 oz ASW).
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
A collection of coins
Mar 05, 10:00 AM GMT
A collection of coins
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £600- £800
£3001 Bid
World Coins - Islamic - Umayyad - Dirham Group [4]
Mar 09, 12:00 PM GMT
World Coins - Islamic - Umayyad - Dirham Group [4]
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £40- £60
£51 Bid
World Coins - Islamic - Umayyad - Dirham Group [4]
Mar 09, 12:00 PM GMT
World Coins - Islamic - Umayyad - Dirham Group [4]
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £40- £60
£51 Bid
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Sikh Empire Islamic Silver Coin
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Four Saudi Arabian Silver Riyals
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
Four Saudi Arabian Silver Riyals
by Weschler's
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
1951 Saudi Arabia United Kingdoms Gold Guinea
Mar 15, 10:00 AM CDT
1951 Saudi Arabia United Kingdoms Gold Guinea
by Kennedy's Auction Service
Est: $10- $100,000
$101 Bid
2005 TURKEY 1 LIRA
Mar 08, 10:30 AM EST
2005 TURKEY 1 LIRA
by Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $60- $250
$90 Bids
Australia 1954 First Royal Visit Stamps MUH (10 sets of 3 stamps)
Mar 03, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 1954 First Royal Visit Stamps MUH (10 sets of 3 stamps)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD35- AUD50
AUD250 Bids
Australia 1955 Royal Mail Stamps, MUH (2 x Blocks of 10 )
Mar 03, 12:00 PM AEDT
Australia 1955 Royal Mail Stamps, MUH (2 x Blocks of 10 )
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD35- AUD50
AUD250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Middle Eastern Coins


Nomisma S.p.a

Nomisma S.p.a

Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions

BK Auctions

BK Auctions