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 ARCHIVES 2011

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1. Philistia

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 SOLD (Private sale, January 2011)

 

 

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 SOLD (Private sale, March 2011)

Philistia, Hellenistic period, around circa 370 B.C.E. (Gitler & Tal XIV.22.O, p. 200) We are proud to offer, for the first time, this extremely rare and fascinating Philistine coin type depicting a male head with an enigmatic head of dog above it. This is the 5th specimen known to date, and one of the two finest ones. In their reference book The Coinage of Philistia of the 5th and 4th Centuries BC: A Study of the Earliest Coins of Palestine, Gitler and Tal write that this type 'may allude to the importance of canines in daily life Philistia in Persian times (...) as is evident by the numerous dog burials discovered in Philistian sites'. Now, what means this male's head surmounted by a dog's head? It certainly has nothing to deal with the lion's or elephant's heads over the portraits of gods or rulers on Greek and Roman coins. So I would not see here a headpiece or ornament, but a symbol related to what Gitler & Tal wrote. As one can see, both portraits are facing the opposite directions: It is tempting to see here a symbolic illustration that dogs can see and feel what humans don't.

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 SOLD (Sale 29, August 2011 #1)

Philistia, struck circa 370 B.C.E. in Gaza (Hendin #1014)  Exceptional specimen, as good as the Hendin's plate coin. It shows a complete and well preserved portrait of Athena on obverse and a superb reverse with a well detailled owl and a perfect letter Marnas (see enlargement at right). The Aramaic letter Mem, initial of Marnas, the chief god of Gaza, appears on the reverse between the owl and letter 'E'. Marnas  was the god of grain and rain in Gaza and he was prayed against famine. Centuries after centuries, the letter Mem continues to appear on the coins minted in Gaza and it is still present on the city coins of the 2nd to the 3rd centuries C.E. This is probably the earliest coin type ever struck in Palestine: It came into circulation only 200 years after the destruction of the Solomon Temple, and around 130 years after the dedication of the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem.

 

 

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2. Yehud

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3. Samaria

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4. Hasmonaeans

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 SOLD (Sale 23, January 2011 #2)

John Hyrcanus I 135-104 B.C.E. (Hendin 1132, Meshorer type A) Exceptional issue struck on a large flan with a full inscription and wreath on obverse. The Greek letter A, above the paleo-Hebrew inscription, is perfect (see enlargement). Even a bit off-centered, the reverse is also complete, and very well struck: The pomegranate between the horns of the double cornucopia is well defined, as well as the ribbons hanging from the horns. The fruit hanging from the top of the left cornucopia is very well visible: It is probably a grape, inspired by an earlier Egyptian coin types (click here). But on this coin type, which is one of the earliest Jewish autonomous coins ever struck, the objects filling the top of each cornucopia might be the seven species.

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 SOLD (Sale 30, November 2011 #2)

Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C.E.) Hendin 1149  Exceptional example with a complete inscription and perfectly defined letters (see enlargement at left). Also note the two interior filets on the reverse (enlargement at right, yellow arrows). In most cases, they are not visible, even on the best coins. The obverse of this specimen is as beautiful as the Hendin's plate coin, with an even better reverse.

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 SOLD (Sale 25, March 2011 #2)

Alexander Jannaeus 103-76 B.C.E. (Hendin 1150) Gorgeous specimen struck on a large flan, perfectly centered with a complete inscription. Much better than the Hendin (#1150) and TJC (Series K) plate coins.

 

 

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 SOLD (Sale 26, April 2011 #3)

Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BCE), coin in lead (Hendin 1155) The first time I have seen this specimen, it was hard to believe: A Hendin 1155 with a complete inscription had never been seen before, and this coin type is always so poor that I would have never expected to see one like this (see 72 examples here). This truly amazing specimen is not only the single one known to show a 100% complete inscription in Greek with EACH letter in excellent state, it is also well centered on a very large flan, and thus an aesthetic piece (see enlargement at left). It reveals a well planned and well balanced inscription (the letters are not too large in the beginning of the inscription and too squeezed in the end, like it is sometimes the case). Also, the letters are not crude but stylized with big dots and inclined, a bit like 'italics'. Another remarkable detail: In general, pieces in lead are not 'cleanable' and poorly preserved. It is not the case here. The reverse, however, is more similar to the average coins for the type: On the 3 lines of the inscription, the first one is completely missing and the 3rd one is a bit unclear. Only the 2nd line is well legible.

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 SOLD (Sale 24, February 2011 #1)

Alexander Jannaeus 103-76 B.C.E. - UNLISTED COIN TYPE IN LEAD -  This UNIQUE specimen is a new and unlisted coin type of Alexander Jannaeus! But like all the coins in lead, it is in poor condition and quasi-impossible to clean. Fortunately, the obverse depicting the star within diadem and inscription in Paleo-Hebrew between the rays ('King Yehonatan') is well visible. The reverse, however, is less clear: The anchor as well as 2 letters are visible, but the red, enhanced reproduction at right also shows other details. As one can see, it is possible this coin has been struck by a Hendin 1150 pair of regular dies, but for an enigmatic reason, the flan is in lead. It might be a test or a prototype. Two types of coins or tokens in lead are already known under Jannaeus: We have the relatively common Hendin 1154, and the relatively scarce anepigraphic and uniface Hendin 1155. But the specimen offered here is the only one to be a real coin in lead, as the two other types are probably tokens (especialy Hendin 1155).

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 SOLD (Sale 26, April 2011 #4)

Unstruck and uncut Hasmonean flans Individual unstruck flans are scarce pieces but they sometimes appear on the market. This piece is much more exceptional because it shows two flans, not only unstruck but also uncut. They are much probably from the time of Jannaeus, but they might be also from the time of Herod the Great: The 5 rare types Hendin 1185 (crossed palm branches), 1186 (palm branch), 1187 (vine), 1190 (eagle) and 1191 (galley) have also been struck on exactly similar flans. This is an interesting piece to have in a collection of Judaean coins because it shows one of the essential steps of the coin fabrication. Interestingly, a similar piece owned by the Israel Antiquities Authority is pictured in the present issue of Israel Numismatic Research in the article by Yaniv Schauer: 'Mint Remains from Excavations in the Citade of Jerusalem' (see p. 103, Fig. 3a, at left)

 

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 SOLD (Sale 26, April 2011 #5)

Mattatayah Antigonus 40-37 B.C.E. (Hendin 1164) This coin type always come in an extremely poor condition and the obverse is always partial for a simple reason: The obverse die was much larger than the flans they struck, so it is impossible to find a single specimen showing the complete patterns on the obverse. Even the composite pictures I have created for this type are still not complete in spite of the 178 specimens I have listed! (click here). So the specimen offered here is exceptional with a complete inscription and half of the wreath on obverse, and a superb reverse indeed. Moreover this coin is unclean, with its original mineral encrustations. This truly amazing coin type shows a retrograde inscription on ALL of the dies. Isadore Goldstein (Zuzim Judaea) suggests a fascinating explain for this: "This inscription style has isolated the letters of G-d's name on the second line. The letters thus arranged in proper form are forbidden to be struck on a mundane object such as a coin".

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 SOLD (Sale 28, June 2011 #1)

Mattatayah Antigonus 40-37 B.C.E. (Hendin 1164) This coin type always come in extremely poor condition and the obverse is always partial for a simple reason: The obverse die was much larger than the flans they struck, so it is impossible to find a single specimen showing the complete patterns on the obverse. Even the composite pictures I have created for this type are still not complete in spite of the 178 specimens I have listed! (click here). So the specimen offered here is much better than usual with an almost complete inscription and the two thirds of the wreath visible on obverse, and a complete double cornuccopia on reverse. This truly amazing type shows an entirely retrograde inscription on ALL of the dies. Isadore Goldstein (Zuzim Judaea) suggests a fascinating explain for this: "This inscription style has isolated the letters of G-d's name on the second line. The letters thus arranged in proper form are forbidden to be struck on a mundane object such as a coin".

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 SOLD (Sale 29, August 2011 #2)

Mattatayah Antigonus 40-37 B.C.E. (Hendin 1164)  This is one of the finest specimens ever seen for this coin type that always comes in extremely poor condition. It must be noted that the obverse die was much larger than the flans they struck, so it is impossible to find a single specimen showing the complete patterns on the obverse. Even the composite pictures I have created for this type (see illustration at left) are still not complete in spite of the 195 specimens I have listed on MCP! (click here). So the specimen offered here is, by far, much better than usual with a 100% complete inscription and half of the wreath visible on obverse, and a 100% complete double cornuccopia on reverse. This truly amazing type shows an entirely retrograde inscription on ALL of the dies. Isadore Goldstein (Zuzim Judaea) suggests a fascinating explain for this: "This inscription style has isolated the letters of G-d's name on the second line. The letters thus arranged in proper form are forbidden to be struck on a mundane object such as a coin".

 

 

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.5. Herodians

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #1)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1169) struck year 37 B.C.E. Exceptional specimen struck on a large flan.

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #2)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1170) struck year 37 B.C.E.  A fantastic specimen, by far the finest ever seen on 268 examples listed (click here)

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 SOLD (Sale 28, June 2011 #2)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1172) struck year 37 B.C.E.  A fantastic specimen, definitely one of the finest ever seen for the type.

 

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #3)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1178a)  One of the very best specimens known for the type (click here). As beautiful as the Hendin plate coin (#1178a)

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #4)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1187) For the first time on the market, here is the rarest coin type of the most famous king of Judaea. Only two other specimens are known. This coin has been recently found, 7 years after the discovery of the 2nd specimen in 2004 (presently in a private collection) and 28 years after the first one (owned by the Israel Museum, click here). This is an extremely important type that depicts on reverse a typical decoration of the Temple of Herod the Great: The golden vine 'as large as a man' that was affixed above the entrance to the sanctuary (Josephus, Ant, XV, xi, 3; BJ, V, v, 4).

 

 SOLD (Sale 24, February 2011 #2)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1190a) Struck around 10 B.C.E in Jerusalem Exceptional example for this super rare barbaric issue, which is the crudest and rarest variety known for this famous coin type (if we except the unique TJC 66b). This specimen is in a much better condition than the Hendin's plate coin (#1190a). This is the 5th specimen ever listed and the 2nd finest known for this coin type which is usually in extremely poor condition (click here and scroll down to Die O52). Before GBC 5 (2010), this variety was unpublished. As you probably remarked, there is no dot in the back of the eagle. It is an important detail showing that this barbaric issue has probably not been made in an official workshop, even by an apprentice: In a book to be published later this year, I will demonstrate that this enigmatic dot is present on almost all of the 60 regular dies with the eagle I have listed. So it is very possible that this coin is an unauthorized issue made in an illegal workshop. This eagle, which is famous as the first 'graven image' ever cut on a Judaean coin (the Yehud coinage has been produced in much different circumstances), most likely depicts the golden eagle that was affixed by Herod over the gateway of the Temple in around 10 B.C.E. The 1st century historian Flavius Josephus describes how students hacked off this eagle because they saw it as an offending graven image forbidden by the 2nd commandment, and the cruel punishment Herod reserved to them, as he was facing death (Jewish Antiquities xvii. 6, 2).

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #5)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1191)  Here is one of the two best specimens ever listed, with a fantastic and 100% complete galley (click here). Better than any plate coin known.

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 SOLD (Sale 31, May 2011 #4)

Herod Philip, struck year 33/34 C.E. in Tiberias (Hendin 1233)  Superb specimen, as beautiful as the Hendin's plate coin (#1233)

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 SOLD (Sale 26, April 2011 #6)

Herod Philip 4 B.C.E.-33 C.E. (Hendin 1232) Struck year 30 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi This extremely rare issue (10 specimens known) shows a superb portrait of Herod Philip, the very first Jewish ruler ever depicted on coins. This portrait is contemporary to the time when Jesus was preaching in his territories, and his famous question: 'Who do you say I am?' (Matthew 16:13-15) has been asked to his disciples in 28-29 C.E., as Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi, the city where this coin has been struck in 30 C.E. So this piece is of first importance for the Jewish history as well as for the early Christianity history. David Hendin writes in GBC that Philip was 'the least violent and achieved the historic status of being a peace-loving man and a good administrator'. The kingdom of Philip was also prosperous, tax-free, and the cohabitation between his Jewish and Gentile subjects seems to have been harmonious. In 2010, a specimen has been sold for $9,013 with buyer's fees (click here): the inscription in the back of the head was visible (first part of the word 'Philip') but the eye-appeal was much less beautiful than the coin offered here. Also note that this specimen will be published in a forthcoming article (early 2012) dedicated to the coins types of Herod Philip with his portrait.

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #6)

Agrippa I 37-44 C.E.(Hendin 1244) Struck year 41-42 C.E.  Superb example of this common type generally poorly struck and poorly preserved. The patterns, inscription and date are complete.

 

 

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6. Prefects & procurators

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #7)

Marcus Ambibulus, struck year 9 C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 1329)  Beautiful example perfectly centered on obverse and nicely struck on reverse.

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 SOLD (Sale 25, March 2011 #5)

Valerius Gratus 15-26 C.E. (Hendin 1338) Struck year 18 C.E. in Jerusalem It is extremely rare to find this relatively common coin type in such a beautiful condition.

 

 

 SOLD (Sale 23, January 2011 #3)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1341) Struck year 29 C.E. in Jerusalem  Magnificent specimen with a perfect inscription and simpulum on the obverse. The quality of this coin is comparable to the Hendin (#1341) and Meshorer (#331) plate coins. To my knowledge, it is the first time such a quality ever come on the market for this coin type.

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 SOLD (Sale 25, March 2011 #3)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1342) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Exceptional regular issue with an entirely complete inscription on obverse. Beautiful contrast and superb eye appeal.

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 SOLD (Sale 24, February 2011 #5)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1342) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Here is a truly amazing coin: Not only the double struck coins are scarce, but in most cases, they are very partial with a messy design. It is also the case here on the side with the wreath, but the side with the lituus (the most important side) is very complete and beautiful. It probably explains the drunk sensation it causes! It is the first time I see such an entire and well preserved inscription on a coin affected by a multiple strike.

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 SOLD (Sale 26, April 2011 #7)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1342) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Exceptional regular issue with a quasi-complete inscription on obverse. Beautiful contrast and superb eye appeal.

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 SOLD (Sale 26, April 2011 #8)

Pontius Pilate 26 - 36 C.E. (Hendin 1342b) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Superb specimen bearing the rare date error 'HZ' instead of 'LIZ'. This is the FINEST SPECIMEN KNOWN bearing this variety, in a much better condition than ANY plate coin known (Hendin 1342b, Meshorer TJC 333d)

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 SOLD (Sale 29, August 2011 #6)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1342, Unlisted variant) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Here is an amazing variety of date, never seen before: 'S' instead of 'LIZ'. It might be connected to the variety 'LIS' (instead of 'LIZ'), but there is a big problem: I have listed almost 50 dies bearing the variety LIS (click here), and several of them are definitely not a mistaken retrograde Z (click here), but a deliberate 'S', the archaic Greek letter Digamma. It means that a scarce issue bearing the lituus came into circulation on the same year as the issue with the simpulum, also dated LIS. This is very probably also the case of the variety offered here, as the letter S is much more similar to a Digamma in its regular form than to a retrograde Z.

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 SOLD (Private sale, January 2011)

 

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SOLD (Sale 29, August 2011)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1342, UNLISTED variety) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem  Exceedingly rare date variety, ''LIN'' instead of ''LIZ''. Interestingly, the same variety but retrograde, was already listed and published (TJC 335c, only 3 specimens are known: Click here and scroll down to die R2 to see them). Also note the dot under the crook of the lituus. This little detail talks a lot: It is the mark of the compass point used by the engraver of the die to draw a circle on which he would cut the dots of the border. This detail is important because it shows that the border of dots was the very first thing to be cut on a die, a bit like the exterior walls of a house are built before the interior walls. This dot was then supposed to be masked by the other patterns to be cut by the engraver (here, the handle of the lituus) but in some rare cases, it is not. Interestingly, the same phenomenon also occurs on the reverse dies of the silver shekels of the First Revolt, but it is also extremely rare (see illustration at left). In most cases, the central dot was masked by the stem of the middle pomegranate, but sometimes, the dot remains visible.

 

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7. Nabataeans

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8. First Revolt

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 SOLD (Sale 28, June 2011 #7)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1354) Struck year 66-67 C.E. (year 1 of the revolt) C.E. in Jerusalem  This impressive and exceptionally complete specimen has been struck by the pair of dies O2-R1 in my classification (click here). A gem!

 

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SOLD (Sale 23, January 2011 #7)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1360) Struck year 67-68 C.E. (year 2 of the revolt) in Jerusalem  Beautifull, well centered and well preserved specimen. The inscription is 100% complete on the obverse and almost complete on the reverse (only the top of two letters at right, yud & vav, are missing). It is remarkable that the circle of dots is almost complete on the obverse. Superb eye appeal.

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 SOLD (Sale 29, August 2011 #7)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1360) Struck year 67-68 C.E. in Jerusalem  Exceptional specimen, as beautiful as the Hendin plate coin, with a 100% complete inscription on reverse. The coins of this type with a complete inscription on reverse are almost impossible to find for a simple reason: The engraved surface on the dies with the vine leaf is 10% larger than on the dies with the amphora. So for having a complete inscription, it takes two conditions that are extremely rare to find together: 1) a flan larger than usual, 2) a perfect centering. Both conditions are present on this coin. It is not the first time that a coin type is struck with two dies of different sizes: It was the case of the coins of Antigonus and of most of the undated series of Herod (the coin #4 above is a good example). But a remarkable thing is that the oversized die is always the obverse, never the reverse. It means that, on this coin type, the real obverse is not the one with the amphora, but the one with the leaf!

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 SOLD (Sale 30, November 2011 #7)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1360) struck year 3 of the revolt (68-69 C.E.) in Jerusalem  For the first time on the market, here is the SINGLE prutah of the 3rd year of the First Revolt ever seen to be overstruck on another coin type.The underneath type is the common prutah of Agrippa I with the three ears of barley (H1244). The most amazing is that I believe the coin maker who (over)struck the coin, deliberately adjusted two forms that are very similar in order they be mixed together on the final coin: The top of the umbrella on the Agrippa coin, and the conical lid that covers the amphora on the obverse die of the year 3 prutah (see reconstitution at left). By mixing them together, he probably wanted to 'mask' the umbrella and try to make a final result not too messy. The overstruck coins are always interesting and they talk a lot. However, in most cases, their patterns are aesthetically messy and a bit hard to understand. It is not at all the case here: on obverse, the year 3 prutah is immediately recognizable, but the inscription at right is in Greek! The reverse is also easy to recognize, but the leaf is replaced by the Agrippa's ears of barley. The First Revolt prutahs of year 2 overstruck on an earlier coins are less rare, but only 5 specimens are known to date (to see all of them, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page). It is not so surprising, as the prutah of year 2 is 5-10 times more frequent than the prutah of year 3. The coin offered here will be published in a coming issue of Israel Numismatic Research, the official publication of the Israel Numismatic Society, in an article by Ken Miller.

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 SOLD (Sale 23, January 2011 #8)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1361) Struck year 68-69 C.E. (year 3 of the revolt) C.E. in Jerusalem  Sumptuous MINT STATE specimen struck with a new pair of dies (O4-R6, click here), with each letter 100% complete on both sides (extremely rare). The quality of the metal is exceptional (no corrosion, no porosity, no breaks), and remarkably, the background of the coin is not affected by the usual network of breaks or micro breaks that are generally visible on the shekels of the First Revolt. The reason for this is that this specimen has been struck by a brand new pair of dies, not yet affected by worn of any kind. There is, however, a little scratch on the reverse at 10:30, between the letters He and Koph.

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 SOLD (Sale 27, May 2011 #9)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1369) Struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem  Superb specimen with a strong strike and complete patterns and inscriptions on both sides.

 

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SOLD (Sale 30, October 2011 #8)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 1369) Struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem  A BURNING TESTIMONY, FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE MARKET. Recently found in Jerusalem, this fascinating specimen is of considerable historic importance: A few months after having been struck, it has been partially melted in the great fire that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, in September 70 C.E. This coin will be pictured in an article I will publish in late 2012-early 2013. On the 12 specimens known to date as having been exposed to the fire of Jerusalem (click here to see all of them), 8 are in the national collections of the Israel Antiquities authority (from excavations in Jerusalem)* and only 4 (including this one) are in private hands. For a very enlarged view of this coin, please click here. So what exactly happened with this coin? A close observation talks a lot, and the very first thing to consider is the reverse: The metal of the edge from 7:00 to 4:00 has been completely 'eaten' by the extreme heat: It flowed and spread out around the corresponding section of the obverse (from 8:00 to 4:00, with a peak between 10:00 and 2:00). It shows that the coin was resting on its obverse and that the section mostly exposed to fire was the reverse from 7:00 to 4:00 (see simulation at left). In other words, the remarkable excess of metal on obverse from 10:00 to 2:00 is not at all the fact of a too large flan, but this metal flowed from the melted, 'eaten' section on reverse.

 

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9. Bar Kochba Revolt

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 SOLD (Private sale, January 2011)

 

 

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 SOLD (Private sale, February 2011)

This beauty is one of the 3 rarest Bar Kochba sela types (struck on year 2 of the revolt), and is in a much better condition than the Hendin plate coin (see GBC 1387, plate 37).

 

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 SOLD (Private sale, January 2011)

 

 

 

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 SOLD (Private sale, January 2011)

 

 

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 SOLD (Private sale, January 2011)

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 SOLD (Sale 23, January 2011 #10)

Bar Kochba struck year 1 of the revolt (132-133 C.E.) in Jerusalem (Hendin 1378 - Mildenberg 46)  Exceptional specimen, in a much better condition than the Mildenberg's plate coin (#46).

 

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10. Minima of Caesarea

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11. City Coins