Author Topic: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar  (Read 334 times)

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Offline Henk

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Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« on: March 10, 2019, 09:02:02 PM »
I have this kind of generic arabic coin. It is made of brass, diameter 22 mm. It has a reeded edge.
O: دينار / ١   (dinar) (in laurel wreath)
R: ١٣٥٢ / مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله / لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله (There is no god but Allah, [and] Muhammad is the messenger of Allah ) (year 1352 = 1933) (in laurel wreath)

On the Obverse is stamped the letter A in a circle and UNECHT, which is German for not genuine. This suggests that also a genuine piece, in gold either exists or was intended.

Where, why and when was this issued? Do other values exist?

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 09:54:01 PM »
The style of the date, especially the 5, suggests Iran or Afghanistan to me. This could mean the date is AD 1974 (1352 solar).

Edit: A further thought. 22 mm is give or take the diameter of a UK sovereign, and these were used widely across the Middle East. It may be that the UNECHT stamp is there not so much to warn that this is a forgery of a real, known coin, but to avoid people being lured into thinking it is an unknown coin made to sovereign standard. The UNECHT therefore would apply more to the metal (it's not real gold) than to the design.

Edit again: From what I can see of the edge reeding on the close-up, the reeds are quite coarse/widely spaced. This is also similar to the UK sovereign and notably coarser than most other reeded coins of the time.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 11:50:51 AM »
I concur on the style looking Iranian. In 1973, USD was pegged at 68.725 rials. Dinars had at that time largely been inflated out of existence, with only 25 and 50 dinar coins, the smallest denominations, still being struck.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Henk

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 10:07:46 PM »
In 1974 (SH 1352) the dinar was an existing unit in Iran, although of very small value. The lowest value coin was 50 dinar or 1/2 a rial. Gold coins were minted regularly this was the Pahlavi, named after the ruling dynasty. 1 Pahlavi was equal to a sovereign. This coin was a bullion coin and not a circulating one.

The shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi left Iran early in 1979 and on the 1st april of that year the Islamic Republic was proclaimed. The Pahlavi was replaced with another gold coin, the Azadi.

A gold dinar does not fit into this. There was no obvious reason to replace the Pahlavi with another gold coin around 1974. There certainly was a reason in 1979, but this is 5 years after the date on the dinar. If the dinar was meant for Iran I would expect the language to be persian instead of arabic. Furthermore in 1974 Iran was a secular state making the use of the kalima on its coins rather unlikely.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 11:20:31 PM »
All true, but look at the 5, shaped like an upside-down heart. That's typical for Iran. In other countries, a 5 is shaped like a dot. There is supporting evidence in the style of the denomination and wreath, but that is circumstantial. Mind that there is no crown on this piece but there is the kalima, an indication that it is post-1979, in spite of the date on the piece.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 08:13:42 AM »
I think we are agreed that this is not a real coin, or a forgery of a real coin for fraudulent use alongside the real one. Therefore the denomination as stated on the coin is not that important. Neither is the language - IME the kalima is always in Arabic on the coins of Muslim states, even where the local population speaks a language that is not related to Arabic at all (such as Farsi, Pashtun or Urdu, all of which are nevertheless written in the Arabic alphabet).

My guess (no more than that) is that this is an attempt to deceive, in a region with numerous different currencies and languages and at a time when many more people were illiterate than now, and in a context where the UK sovereign was regionally important for trade. The "coin" is physically like a sovereign, apart from the metal (it would be interesting to know what it weighs, btw - I presume it is lighter than it should be if it were gold). The design is anonymous but official-looking. The denomination is 1, like a sovereign, and the name "dinar" is widely used and known across the Islamic world (the fact that it is a very small unit in Iran specifically is less important). And if any semi-literate person is going to recognise any written text, it will be the kalima. Using the First Pillar of Islam gives the piece legitimacy - it appears to come from a God-fearing government with His blessing. What Islam has to say about such fraudulent use of scripture is another matter.

And at some later point, someone else - probably a Westerner and quite likely a German - has tried to put the genie back in the bottle by marking the piece as fake.

Offline Henk

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 09:29:58 AM »
The weight is 4,26 grams, roughly half the weight of a sovereign. It looks a bit like gold however, it may have been gilt. A more precise measurement of the diameter gives 22.5 mm.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2019, 10:09:46 AM »
My guess (no more than that) is that this is an attempt to deceive, in a region with numerous different currencies and languages and at a time when many more people were illiterate than now, and in a context where the UK sovereign was regionally important for trade.

Nice scenario, but it has weak points. Yes, there are many different languages in the region, but they are basically spelled the same way, with varying choice of words or construction of sentences, but readable everywhere. This is because it is a religious requirement to be able to read the Qur'an, which in turn makes illiteracy much lower than in Christian dominated areas. That again leads to the observation that while in Christian dominated areas there are indeed plenty coins that try to abuse the illiterate, I am not aware of any in Arabic writing that do this (there are imitations, like the khaccha pice, but they are also deceiving the literate).

Your point on the domination of the sovereign (and presumably its divisions) is valid, though. There are examples of gold coins of the same specifications, some official, some less so, that saw circulation in West Asia. Some have indeed a "fake news" denomination or date and many delete the offensive portrait of a British royal. Possibly, this piece tried to masquerade as such a replacement sovereign division, but it would have had little chance of going very far, as the gold trade was dominated by jewellers, who would not have been deceived easily.

Perhaps more likely, the piece was sold as latter day clothing decoration to those who could not afford gold. This fits in with local culture. Other such pieces also have a funny date. Many bear some resemblance with an existing coin. This one goes back one step further, by combining elements from different coins, making it look like a coin, but being highly defensible as an imitation.

That leaves the counterstamp. Though I have wondered why it doesn't say "falsch", it may be explained by the fact that many Iranians fled to Germany after the fall of the Pahlavis. One may have taken along this piece, hoping to cash in on gold at a German bank or gold trader, who saw it as his duty to apply the counterstamp before returning the piece to its owner.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 06:03:07 PM »
I saw this called once Libyan and another time being from Tarim in Yemen. I remember another text calling them phantasies ordered by a westerner (English name). I don't remember where I found this information.

Offline WillieBoyd2

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2019, 12:49:45 AM »
This is one of the imitation Arabic "coins" struck at the Vienna Mint around 1965 by someone named Bernard M. O'Hea.
They are 23 mm in diameter and struck in a variety of metals.
They are sometimes listed under Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or Tarim as "dinars".

I have one:


Fantasy Dinar Arabia AH 1352 (AD 1933)
Brass, 23 mm, 3.93 gm, Catalog: None

One can look up "Bernard O'Hea" on the internet and find out more.
Much more.

Here is one site (operating on 12 Mar 2019):
Arabia AH1352 coins

:)
BrianRxm Website
The Mysterious Egyptian Magic Coin
Coins in Movies and Television
The 1949 San Francisco Mexico Peso Restrikes

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2019, 07:34:19 AM »
Thank you for that! That seems to clear the issue up.

Offline WillieBoyd2

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Re: Generic Arabic Coin: 1 Dinar
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 06:20:16 AM »
The Newman Numismatic Portal has some information on Bernard O'Hea under various names.

Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis | Comprehensive

Coin World 04/16/1986 (pg. 14)
Ex dealer Barney O'Hea dies
Barney O'Hea one of the most colorful figures in the world coin picture died March 15 reportedly of a heart attack in San Francisco. Mr O'Hea operated a firm known as Mint Roll Headquarters  during the 1950s and later moved his business to Liechtenstein from which he did business as Nummorum Trust based in Vaduz He quickly won recognition as an innovator in his dealings with for (rest of article not available)

:)



BrianRxm Website
The Mysterious Egyptian Magic Coin
Coins in Movies and Television
The 1949 San Francisco Mexico Peso Restrikes