My White Whale has been sighted

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    But there is no way I can afford it. If anyone is interested in a fascinating bit of history, feel free to check out the ROMA listing for the gold Dirham, minted in Northern Africa under the authority of William I of Sicily. If nothing else, the listing is exciting because I had not yet found a high quality colored image of this particular coin (the best I have found is a now pixelated black and white image from 1930 of a specimen of Roger II in a Libyan museum). Only two are known in existence.

    Lot Listing Here
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  3. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    Beautiful but superbly expensive. I'd have to sell half my collection just to buy this one coin. I think is one of those coins most of us will admire from a distance....sadly.
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  4. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    So interesting looking.
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  5. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    That is a gorgeous coin Fitz, I can completely understand why it would be your white whale! There are certain coins that when they come up for sale have me questioning if they might be preferable to a Roth IRA. This is one of those coins.

    I did not know the Normans minted coins in their African possessions. Somewhere I have a copy of " The Kingdom in the Sun" by John Julius Norwich that I need to go back and read about the Kingdom of Africa. Thanks for sharing.
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  6. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Someone recently completed their PhD thesis on the Norman kingdom of Africa. As far as I am aware, it is the first in-depth study of it (and it is available online to download - I found it months ago but can’t remember where). This coin is one of the key pieces of evidence for the kingdom and the nature of Norman rule there.

    So while I would love to own it; it frankly belongs in a museum.
  7. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting historically and numismatically. Is it recognisable if you dont read Arabic?
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  8. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    If I remember correctly, the two lines of script in the center is the giveaway. There is only one Fatimid coin with two lines in the center, which was the design this coin was based off. So you would have to do a little comparison, but not much. However, knowing Arabic would certainly make reading it easier...
  9. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    Someday I will get a high grade Fatimid gold coin. That is far in the future. I find the designs fascinating and beautiful..
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Wow! :wideyed:

    Closest thing I have is this (probably) Lombard imitation issued in southern Italy around the time the Normans first appeared there:

    Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 10.52.54 PM.jpg
    Imitation of Fatimid al-'Aziz, 975-996 (AH 365-386)
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  11. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Interesting and rare, I love that !

  12. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I like the imitation @Severus Alexander! I was chasing an imitation tari at the beginning of the year and missed out on. So I only have an ‘official’ issue:

    Med-14-ISic-1140-Roger II-Tar-Palermo-202.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    Roger II, r. 1130-1154 (1140-1154)
    Palermo mint, AV Taris, 12.66 mm x 1.1 grams
    Obv.: Outer Cufic legend denoting date and mint, inner Cufic legend al-malik Rujar al-mu’tazz bi-llah, pellet in center of dotted circle
    Rev.: Outer cufic legend denoting date and mint, in center, cross potent on shaft with pellet between IC XC NI KA
    Ref.: NCKS 240, MEC 14.202, De Wit 3796
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  13. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Now this is recognisable regardless.
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  14. Jim Dale

    Jim Dale Active Member

    When I see members reviewing coins like this one, I feel like I'm a member of a Tiny Tots football teaming playing against the New England Patriots. It's fun to read, but I don't think I could catch up to the information in some of these posts. Anyway, thanks for teaching me.
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  15. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Getting there is only a matter of what your passion is Jim - i’ll Never know half of what some people here know about Greek or Roman coins, but my interest in medieval Norman coins brought me down this rabbit hole
  16. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    If your interest is in italo-norman history and coinage you will get to know all these things by heart in no time.
  17. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    Don't be too worried about that. Most of us know a lot about one or two specific areas that we like to focus on, but know just a little bit or nothing about most other areas of ancient coin collecting. After all, ancient coins encompass over 1000 years of history, including thousands of rulers, hundreds of city states, hundreds of kingdoms and empires, and countless denominations. And that's not even getting into the medieval stuff.

    For example, I have a pretty good grasp of Roman imperial coinage from the first century through the mid-250s, but my knowledge of Roman Republic coinage and LRBs is more basic. And my knowledge of Greek coins can best be described as a passing familiarity, but nothing much deeper. My knowledge of Indian, Chinese, Asian, and medieval coinage is very fragmented. None of that has stopped me from collecting coins from all over the ancient world. That's why forums like this come in handy, as they gave me the confidence and knowledge to buy coins I may not be as familiar with because I know someone else here is and can advise me. Likewise, I'm always happy to give my opinion on Imperial coinage from the principate era to anyone that needs it.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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