Nubar Pasha, Armenian-Egyptian Politician and first Prime Minister of Egypt

Nubar Pasha, born as Nubar Nubarian in 1825 to an Armenian family in Smyrna (on the western coast of modern-day Turkey), began his career in Egyptian political affairs at the age of 20, serving as first secretary to the heir apparent to the Wāli (governor). Having been sent to numerous European capitals on Ottoman diplomatic missions, Nubar quickly gained a reputation as a trusted confidant to the successive Egyptian Wālis. Following Ismail the Magnificent’s massive spending and poor financial governance of Egypt, Ismail agreed to accept a reduced role as a constitutional sovereign in 1878. This situation saw Nubar serve as the first Prime Minister of the newly-formed government—a role that he would fill three times in total (1878-79, 1884-88, and 1894-95), before leaving public office.

In the years following his retirement, Nubar, along with his son, Boghos Nubar Pasha, raised award-winning livestock, with the elder Nubar especially focusing upon cattle. At the Khedivial Agricultural Exposition in late December 1898, he garnered 1st place for his Behari bull in the ‘3 years old and over’ category—a feat that is celebrated on a medal in our ANA sale later this month (lot 20393). The medal features a pleasing pastoral scene on the obverse, with farm implements in the foreground and the iconic pyramids in the background. On the reverse, a crowned coat-of-arms is placed between two facing sphinxes, all set within a decorative grain wreath. The award’s recipient, "Nubar Pasha" is elegantly engraved at the base of the coat-of-arms, while further information regarding the prize is inscribed upon the edge.

A review of the proceedings for this agricultural show reveal that the younger Nubar was even more decorated, with awards not just in the Behari cattle category, but also for ewes, geese, and turkeys, as well as categories ranging from white wheat, Sabeini rice, and foreign maize to eggs, butter, and silk. Accordingly, and rather appropriately, our ANA sale will feature a medal presented to Boghos Nubar Pasha (lot 20394) for the show in 1909. This medal was awarded in the category of bulls, just as his father’s aforementioned medal had been some 11 years prior.

Returning to the elder Nubar, he would sadly pass away just weeks after the December 1898 Exposition, dying in Paris on 14 January 1899. In the spirit of his father, Boghos Nubar Pasha continued this strong agricultural tradition, along with a connection to the family’s Armenian heritage, serving as chairman of the Armenian National Assembly and even helping to found Nubarashen, a suburb of Yerevan in the Armenian capital.

To view these lots, along with the rest of our August 13-16 ANA World’s Fair of Money auction, please visit our website where you may register and participate in this upcoming sale.

While we are no longer accepting consignments for this auction and our August Hong Kong auction, we are always seeking interesting and exceptional coins, medals, and paper money for future sales, including for our Collectors Choice Online auction in October and our Official Auction of the N.Y.I.N.C. in January 2020. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.

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