ISLAMIC, Umayyad Caliphate. Uncertain period (pre-reform), AH 41-77 / AD 661-697. Fals (Bronze, 15x16 mm, 4.00 g, 6 h), Pseudo-Byzantine, Class K, uncertain mint in Filastin. Palm branch; to left, NΔΠΟ. Rev. Large m in center; in exergue, uncertain legend in Greek. DOCAB -. Goodwin&Gyselen, p. 48, Class K. SICA I, -. Rare and of great interest. Some areas of weakness, otherwise, very fine.
This is a particularly interesing type within the Arab-Byzantine coinage, as the usual standing figure on the obverse has been replaced by a palm branch. It has been suggested that this was done with regard to religious objections to the depiction of human figures, be it from Jewish, Muslim or Christian communities. It is worth noting that the palm branch obverse clearly resembles the 1st century prutot of the Roman procurators of Judaea, but also a number of post-reform Umayyad fulus from the early eighth century, a period when images began to reappear on Umayyad coins (but never depictions of humans). We kindly thank T. Goodwin for sharing his insights into this unusual coinage.