Arab-Byzantine Abd al-Malik Standing Caliph Coin
(I do not know if this qualifies as an ancient coin or not)
I was looking at Byzantine coins for sale on eBay and found this one.
I knew nothing about it but it looked interesting.
I had managed to get a $200 bill from a company cancelled and figured
that I could spend some of the money on a coin.
I paid $34 for this coin.
I received the coin and started looking up information on it.
The coin is used on the cover of a book about the Islamic conquests of Byzantine territory.
Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests by Walter Emil Kaegi
Abd al-Malik was the caliph (king) of the Islamic Umayyad forces which took over the
Middle East from the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. He reigned from AD 685 to 705.
He had these coins made around AD 693 to 697.
The obverse has an image representing the caliph standing and bearing a sword.
The reverse has an obelisk and circle set on steps, apparently modifed from a Christian cross on steps.
The legend is written in script and states something like:
"There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of God"
The coin is made of bronze, is around 21mm in diameter, and was minted in Damascus.
Later, the caliph introduced a uniquely Muslim coinage, which supplanted the Byzantine coins
that had previously been in use. After AD 697 the coins had purely script.
Probably Abd al-Malik's greatest accomplishment was the construction of the
Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem.
(I had the privilege of visiting it in 1986)