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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 April 2018

Abu Dhabi Police foils illegal sale of Dh2.5 million antique coins

Four of the five gold dinars were authentic, with one dating back to the Fatimid caliphate.

The five antique coins - four authentic, one fake - seized by Abu Dhabi police. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police
The five antique coins - four authentic, one fake - seized by Abu Dhabi police. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police

Abu Dhabi Police have thwarted the illegal Dh2.5m sale of four antique gold coins and a fake.

One dated back to Fatimid caliphate - between AD909 and AD1171. Another was Ottoman.

And while four of the five coins were genuine, the fifth - also made of gold - appeared to be from the time of the 7th-century Umayyad caliph Abdul Malik ibn Marouan, but was a fake, Maj Gen Mohammed Al Menhali, the head of police operations at Abu Dhabi Police, told the Arabic-language daily Al Ittihad. A real coin from that period would have been worth around US$3m (Dh11m), he noted.

"The Criminal Investigations Department have recently arrested three young men implicated in an attempt to sell five 'authentic' golden antique coins, one of which was fake," he was reported as saying.

"The coins were tested and the results showed that four dinars … were indeed minted under Ottoman and Fatimid caliphs and sultans, a couple with different dates on them, and others with blurred dates."

The police obtained "conclusive information" that three Arab suspects - MM, 29, a document processor, MY, 27, and MS, 27, both lorry drivers - were putting the old currencies up for sale, according to Col Rashed Bursheed, head of CID.

"The suspects were apprehended at the time of delivery in an Abu Dhabi district, after the buyer - a member of the undercover operation - agreed with the main suspect to purchase the coins for Dh2.5m," he reportedly said.

Maj Gen Al Menhali said the UAE was committed to international conventions banning the trade and smuggling of antiquities and cultural property. He encouraged the public to report similar incidents.

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