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Judean coins biblical coins for sale





Auction 89 (November 1-17 2016)


1. Yehud obol struck ca. 370 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1050) 0.51 g.

 Start: $850 Estimate: $1,200 - 1,500

A rare, early Yehud obol with a retrograde inscription. Only five specimens are known, including this one. This coin has been struck by two of the 10-12 earliest dies ever cut in the Yehud period. Uncleaned. Reference:


2. Mattatayah Antigonus, 4-prutah struck 40-37 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1163) 7.48 g.

 Start: $550 Estimate: $750 - 950

An attractive 'semi-barbarous' issue in excellent condition on both sides. Struck by the pair of dies O13-R17.


3. Herod the Great, large denomination struck year 40 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1169) 6.24 g.

 Start: $575 Estimate: $800 - 1,000

A superb example, perfectly centered on both sides. Struck by the pair of dies O7-R34.



4. Herod the Great, half-prutah struck ca. 25 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1186) 0.80 g.

 Start: $275 Estimate: $350 - 450

Struck by the pair of dies O4-R1, this is the 2nd rarest coin type of Herod the Great (29 examples listed). The side with the palm branch is one of the finest and most complete I have seen.



5. Herod Antipas, quarter denomination struck year 20-21 C.E. in Tiberias (GBC 1201) 5.27 g.

 Start: $850 Estimate: $1,200 - 1,500

An exceptional example for the type, almost complete on both sides.



6. Herod Philip, AE 14 mm struck year 33-34 C.E. in Paneas (GBC 1234) 2.79 g.

 Start: $850 Estimate: $1,200 - 1,500

A beautiful example for this rare coin type with a perfectly centered obverse and a complete inscription.


7. First Jewish Revolt, eighth shekel struck year 69-70 C.E. (GBC 1369b) 6.18 g.

 Start: $850 Estimate: $1,200 - 1,500

This exceedingly rare coin with a retrograde inscription is the finest of the 9 examples recorded to date. If we except the prutah of the 2nd year, no other coin type of the First Revolt is known with a retrograde inscription.



8. Bar Kochba Revolt barbarous middle bronze struck 133 C.E. (Mild. 170) 13.40 g.

 Start: $1,450 Estimate: $1,700 - 2,000

A superb, well-centered barbarous specimen, better than the Mildenberg plate coin (no. 170). Apparently the 2nd example known.


9. City of Gadara (Decapolis) AE 11.5 mm struck year 29 C.E. under Tiberius (Spij. 13, Ros. 17) 1.64 g.

 Start: $250 Estimate: $300 - 350

A nice example of a small and rare dated coin from Gadara. Only one other example is known to have appeared in auction. No example found in the Sofaer collection.


10. City of Dora AE 26.5 mm struck year 111 C.E. under Trajan (Ros. 26) 14.22 g.

 Start: $575 Estimate: $800 - 1,000

Finest specimen I have seen for this scarce type.


11. City of Capitolias (Decapolis) AE 26 mm struck year 189 C.E. under Commodus (Spij. 15, Ros. 11) 10.60 g.

 Start: $675 Estimate: $1.000 - 1,200

A beautiful example and certainly one of the finest known. This coin gives tribute to its founder Alexander the Great with a youthful portrait. The people of Capitolia here proclaim that they are descendants of Alexander the Great with the legend KAΠI AΛЄΞ MAKЄ ΓЄNAP ("of the people of Capitolias, descendants of Alexander")


12. City of Abila AE 25 mm struck 198-217 C.E. under Caracalla (Spij. 19, Sofaer 21) 12.96 g.

 Start: $475 Estimate: $750 - 850

An extremely rare and certainly one of the finest known. Only one other example is known to appear in auction nine years ago. Much nicer than Sofaer (no. 21) and Spijkerman (no. 19) examples.



Auction 88 (October 1-14 2016)


1. Yehud obol struck ca. 340 B.C.E. (Hendin 1059) 0.27 g.

 Start: $650  Estimate: $800-900  Final: $650 (1 bid: 715)

A nice obol with a stylized head of the Persian king. On the reverse, the beak of the eagle is connected to the right wing by a little break. Struck by the pair of dies O2-R2 (click here)


2. Ashkelon, AE 16 mm struck 152-145 B.C.E. under Alexander Balas (Spaer 1557) 1.95 g.

 Start: $350  Estimate: $500-600  Final: $582 (4 bids: 400 - 460 - 555 - 625)

An exceedingly rare coin of Ashkelon (Ascalon) in nice condition on both sides.


3. Alexander Jannaeus, prutah struck 104-76 B.C.E. (Hendin 1153) 1.10 g.

 Start: $275  Estimate: $300-350  Final: Unsold

An interesting and spectacular example of a coin struck on a flan that is too small, defective, and improperly cut. Uncleaned with its original encrustations.


4. Mattatayah Antigonus, 4-prutah struck 40-37 B.C.E. (Hendin 1163) 8.77 g.

 Start: $650  Estimate: $800-900  Final: $2,100 (5 bids: 755 - 825 - 1,602 - 2,000 - 3,000)

One of the finest known example, in a superb condition on both sides. Struck by the pair of dies O4-R1 (click here)


5. Herod the Great, countermarked large denomination struck 40 B.C.E. (Hendin 1169) 5.69 g.

 Start: $3,250  Estimate: $4,000-4,500  Final: Unsold

Struck by the pair of dies O14-R34 (click here), this important coin is the first large denomination of Herod the Great ever seen with a countermark. Dolphins are known on countermarks of the 10th Roman legion, but the style is different and it is illustrated with a boar or a galley. Because the dolphin on this countermark is quite similar to the ones that are found on the reverse of some Phoenician coins in silver, D. Hendin suggests this coin may have leave the kingdom of Herod to be used and countermarked in Phoenicia.

The picture at left shows the single other known countermarked coin of Herod the great, found 11 years ago and presently in a famous private collection. This coin is from the pair of dies O11-R14 of type 11 (Hendin 1175).

Although the countermark is squared on the large denomination and oval on the prutah, both countermarks are small and depict maritime symbols. So it is probable both coins share the same 'background': Struck and used in Judaea, then countermarked and re-used in Phoenicia.




6. Herod the Great, half-prutah struck ca. 18-20 B.C.E. (Hendin 1190) 1.19 g.

 Start: $550  Estimate: $800-1,000  Final: $2,100 (6 bids: 575 - 1,200 - 1,333 - 1,500 - 2,000 - 2,375)

A remarkable coin, quasi-impossible to find in that condition and centering.


7. Pontius Pilate, prutah struck year 30 C.E. (Hendin 1342) 2.15 g.

 Start: $325  Estimate: $400-450  Final: $530 (4 bids: 450 - 500 - 505 - 750)

An interesting coin of Pontius Pilate with a well-struck and perfectly centered obverse.


8. First Jewish Revolt, eighth shekel struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 1369) 5.78 g.

 Start: $725  Estimate: $1,000-1,200  Final: $1,250 (4 bids: 950 - 1,010 - 1,200 - 1,250)

A well centered and well struck specimen on both sides (each of the 11 pearls on the rim of the cup is well visible). An interesting network of micro-die breaks is visible in the field on reverse.


9. Agrippa II, AE 30 mm struck year 75-76 C.E. in Caesarea Paneas (Hendin 1288) 15.03 g.

 Start: $800  Estimate: $1,200-1,400  Final: Unsold

A beautiful example recently unearthed in its original, uncleaned condition.


10. Judaea Capta, denarius struck in Rome in 79 C.E. (Hendin 1486) 3.49 g.

 Start: $1,200  Estimate: $1,500-2,000  Final: $3,150 (5 bids: 2,015 - 2,300 - 2,650 - 3,000 - 3,500)

An exceptional coin in mint condition, struck on the same year Pompeii was destroyed*.

* Read the article: The Destruction of Pompeii-God's Revenge? in Biblical Archaeology Review


11. Bar Kochba revolt, small bronze struck year 132-133 C.E. (Hendin 1380c)

 Start: $775  Estimate: $900-1,000  Final: $2,100 (4 bids: 1,154 - 1,600 - 2,001 - 2,300)

Struck by the same pair of dies as the Hendin plate coin, this beautiful coin on both sides is as found.


12. City of Sebaste (Samaria), AE 25 mm struck year 198 C.E. under Geta (Rosenberger 24) 8.98 g.

 Start: $950  Estimate: $1,400-1,600  Final: $950 (After auction)

One of the finest examples known for the type. Uncleaned, as found.



Auction 87 (July 1-7 2016)


1. Samarian obol (UNLISTED) 0.53 g.

 Start: $2,500 Est. $3,000-$3,500  Final: Unsold

An apparently unique Samarian obol with letter Beth and a flower (lily or lotus?) above the galley. The coin is as-found, with its original patina and encrustations, but in excellent condition on both sides.

Comment from the owner: Meshorer and Qedar refer all flower on the Samaria coins to Lily and I can't see the reason to break the convention. The Lily push away the letter "B" which represent the Persian King and maybe the god. Some intention have to be behind it but with scrupulous saving of it original Sidonian elements (Lion, King, Galley but small letter "B"). On this type of Samaria coin the Lily is schematic. I can't refer the Lily type to other Samaria coin with flower or even Gaza and Yehud coin seen from Persian period. As Haim Gitler said It is so far the only one coin seen from this type. So far it is unique unpublished coin. More over I don't know where this type of flower comes from, it looks like later Hellenistic / Hasmonean type rather than Persian. It is highlights the freedom and art self expression of the Samarian coinage one more time, in contrast to it classic Sidonian style of this coin. Lily symbol strongly and with no doubt associated and representing local Israel area values including Samaria and Judaea. It even mentioned in Bible that the Jerusalem temple was decorated with Lily ("Shoshanna") flowers design. Lily can represent the Jerusalem temple as it was published. Lily have strong connotations with YHVH. Samarians have very close association with Jewish people, and YHVH religion. At least one temple for YHVH was made on Samaria / Israel territory. YHWH temples were widespread what can be learned from Elephantine Papyri from Persian period. It is possible to assume that the Lily represent local economic and community values Including the YHVH religion, which run over the years with the Israelite left population after the exile of 722. The question will be open : if there was intention to publish the Jerusalem official symbol or represent their own Lily which made in new unknown style till then ?


2. Samarian obol (MQ 187) 0.62 g.

 Start: $875 Est. $1,200-$1,500  Final: $1,396 (3 bids: 1,000 - 1,330 - 2,500)

A rare coin type in nice condition on both sides. Better than the Meshorer & Qedar plate coin 187.


3. John Hyrcanus, irregular prutah (GBC 1139v) 1.66 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $500-$600  Final: $325 (1 bid: 502)

An enigmatic, irregular prutah I have never seen before: The obverse looks like a mix of Paleo-Hebrew and Greek letters (Description updated on July 2nd at 8:42 am)


4. Alexander Jannaeus, irregular prutah (Kaufman HB 10) 2.11 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $500-$600  Final: $517 (3 bids: 500 - 502 - 517)

Another extremely rare prutah of Alexander Jannaeus, struck by the same pair of dies as Kaufman HB-10. Here again, the obverse looks like a mix of Paleo-Hebrew and Greek letters with a probable series of 4 letters Tav , well aligned, at the bottom.


5. Nabataean drachm struck year 14 BCE under Obodas II (Meshorer, Nabataea Sup. 3 - Obodas III) 4.27 g.

 Start: $1,550 Est. $1,800-$2,000  Final: $1,550 (1 bid: 2,200)

A Nabataean drachm in exceptional condition on both sides.


6. Herod Agrippa I, AE 19 mm struck year 40 CE in Caesarea Paneas (GBC 1241) 6.23 g.

 Start: $750 Est. $1,000-$1,200  Final: Unsold

A very rare coin type of Herod Agrippa I. Only 10 examples are known to date (see here). Another one is presently available from the same pair of dies.


7. Herod Agrippa II, AE 27 mm struck year 74 CE in Caesarea Paneas (GBC 1284a) 15.31 g.

 Start: $750 Est. $1,000-$1,500  Final: $1,125 (4 bids: 755 - 1,000 - 1,111 - 1,125)

A spectacular example struck on a larger flan than usual, with fresh illustrations on both sides.


8. Jewish War, quarter shekel in bronze struck year 68 CE (year 4 of the revolt) in Jerusalem (GBC 1368) 11.22 g.

 Start: $2,500 Est. $3,000-$3,500  Final: $3,307 (5 bids: 2.555 - 3,000 - 3,000 - 3,150 - 4,000)

A nice quarter shekel, far above the average condition for the type.


9. Jewish War, eighth shekel in bronze struck year 68 CE (year 4 of the revolt) in Jerusalem (GBC 1369) 4.48 g.

 Start: $525 Est. $650-$850  Final: $1,282 (5 bids: 955 - 1,000 - 1,200 - 1,221 - 1,350)

A beautiful example not cleaned, not restored, exactly as found with its 1950 years of encrustations.




Auction 86 (June 1-7 2016)


1. Samarian obol (Meshorer & Qedar No. 71) 0.65 g.

 Start: $875 Est. $1,200-$1,500  Final: $1,590 (3 bids: 1,000 - 1,515 - 2,300)  

A superb example on both sides for this rare coin type, much better than the Meshorer & Qedar plate coin.


2. Samarian obol (Meshorer & Qedar No. 188) 0.62 g.

 Start: $475 Est. $700-$800  Final: Unsold

A nice example for this scarce coin type. On most examples known, an impressive die flaw is visible on obverse, above the head.


3. Yehud hemiobol (GBC 1075) 0.40 g.

 Start: $1,225 Est. $1,700-$2,200  Final: $2,341 (4 bids: 1,555 - 2,200 - 2,230 - 2,500)  

This is the 2nd finest example I have seen in 14 years for the type (click here).


4. Herod the Great,  2-prutot struck ca. 30 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1178a) 3.05 g.

 Start: $275 Est. $350-$400  Final: $525 (2 bids: 500 - 751)  

An nice example well centered on both sides and with a complete inscription on the obverse. Pair of dies O26-R59.


5. Herod the Great: hybrid type 18 (coin #1, 0.60 g.) and variety of GBC 1185 (coin #2, 0.64 g.)

 Start: $425 Est. $600-$700  Final: $945 (3 bids: 802 - 900 - 1,670)   

Two exceedingly rare coins, for a collector specialized in Herod the Great. Five examples are known for the hybrid coin #1* (here), three for coin #2** (here, scroll down to dies O7-R4).

* The coin #1 was listed as No. 57 in TJC, but it would take a die study to understand the status of hybrid of this coin type.

** Also listed in TJC, as No. 55a.


6. Valerius Gratus, countermarked prutah struck 18-24 C. E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1340a) 2.19 g.

 Start: $925 Est. $1,400-$1,700  Final: Unsold

A nice, well struck and well detailed countermark.


7. Herod Agrippa I, prutah struck year 41 C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1244), mounted in jewellery. 4.68 g.

 Start: $775 Est. $1,000?-$1,500?  Final: $1,050 (6 bids: 800 - 823 - 906 - 1,000 - 1,000 - 1,500)  

An unique piece of jewellery made with a prutah of Agrippa I. To see high definition pics of this object (before & after cleaning), please click here. I do not know how exactly this piece was used, but the sophistication of the setting of the ring, made with a diamond-shaped piece of metal flanked by two small circular pieces, is surprising and enigmatic. It is probably the earliest piece of jewellery to be attributed to the Judaean-Jewish culture.

The piece shown at left is the only parallel I have seen, made with a local issue of Judaea Capta.



8. Judaea Capta aureus struck year 72-73 C.E. in Rome (GBC 1469) 5.85 g.

 Start: $6,000 Est. $8,000-$10,000  Final: $10,200 (2 bids: 10,000 - 10,200)  

An exceedingly rare Judaea Capta aureus. Worn, but still attractive.


9. Judaea Capta AE sestertius struck year 71 C.E. in Rome (GBC 1504) 26.63 g.

 Start: $2,750 Est. $3,500-$4,000  Final: $4,725 (6 bids: 3,350 - 3,800 - 4,000 - 4,018 - 4,500 - 6,003)  

An interesting sestertius struck in Rome, one year after the fall of Jerusalem and two years before the fall of the last rebels in Masada.


10. Judaea Capta AE sestertius struck year 80 C.E. in Rome (GBC 1593c) 24.69 g.

 Start: $4,750 Est. $5,500-$6,500  Final: $4,750 (1 bid: 12,500)  

A nice, rare issue with the head of Titus to left.


11. City of Petra, AE 26 mm struck under Hadrian, 117-138 C.E. (Ros. 2) 10.25 g.

 Start: $450 Est. $600-$750  Final: $840 (4 bids: 755 - 800 - 800 - 1,000)  

A remarkable example well struck and perfectly centered on both sides. Both dies have probably not been cut by the same engraver: The inscription on the obverse is regular and well balanced as the one on the reverse is more irregular with engraving errors from 1:00 to 4:00.



Auction 85 (May 1-9 2016)


1. Thirty shekels of Tyre struck in the lifetime of Jesus

 Start: $27,500 Est. $30,000  Final: Unsold

A lot of 'thirty pieces of silver', the price for which Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. See each coin of this lot here. This lot includes (see below): A crucifixion year coin (coin #1). A 'Star of Bethlehem' countermarked coin (coin #2)*, A millenium coin struck year 1 CE (coin #3).

Additional information (May 2nd, 5:48 pm): This lot is from a hoard of 37 coins.

* In his list of April 7th 2014 (PDF), Jonathan Kern offered a similar coin. See here, at bottom.


2. Yehud obol (GBC 1055) 0.51 g.

 Start: $700 Est. $900-1,000  Final: $1,178 (4 bids: 925 - 1,100 - 1,122 - 2,200)

An interesting and scarce Yehud coin written in Aramaic. No other example could be found with a better obverse because when it was paired to this reverse die in Aramaic, the head of Athena was already very worn (click here and scroll down to O2-R6).



3. Yehud hemiobol (GBC 1062) 0.29 g.

 Start: $12,000 Est. $14,000-15,000  Final: $25,000 (3 bids: 21.000 - 24,000 - 25,000)

5th example known for the type, and one of the 2 finest known with the striations well visible on the shofar The last time another one was offered for sale was 18 years ago (Leu Auction 73, May 12th 1998, No. 320).



4. Agrippa II, AE 18mm struck ca. 45 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi  (GBC 1260) 5.84 g.

 Start: $2,200 Est. $2,500-2,700  Final: $3,780 (4 bids: 2.500 - 3,067 - 3,600 - 4,500)

An extremely rare type of Agrippa II (pre-royal) with the name and portrait of Britannicus on the reverse.



5. Bar Kochba barbarous bronze (Unlisted) 8.71 g.

 Start: $1,500 Est. $1,800-2,000  Final: $2,163 (4 bids: 1.555 - 2,000 - 2,060 - 2,666)

An unlisted, barbarous middle bronze of the revolt of Bar Kochba. Traces of the underneath coin on the obverse at 10:00-11:00.


6. Countermarked coin of the 10th Roman legion (GBC 1613) 12.12 g.

 Start: $700 Est. $900-1,000  Final: $840 (2 bids: 800 - 900)

A LXF countermark of the 10th Roman legion paired to an unlisted* and enigmatic countermark depicting a head of a bovidae with trace of letters around. If the usual animal emblem of the 10th legion was a boar, the one of the 3rd legion 'Gallica' (Syria) was a bull**. However, no countermark are known for this legion. The countermark with the bovidae is very, very deep.

* Not in Howgego or BMC or SNG or Sofaer.        ** This legion was involved in the Jewish War.


7. City of Gaza AE 21mm struck year 163 CE under Marcus Aurelius (Ros. 95 var.) 8.70 g.

 Start: $250 Est. $350-400  Final: Unsold  

A nice example for this relatively scarce coin type of Gaza.




8. PLATE COIN No. 208 in Samarian Coinage (Meshorer & Qedar 1999) 0.70 g.

PLATE COIN No. 150 in Les Animaux et la Monnaie Grecque (Demeester & Daubersy 2003)

 Start: $1,500 Est. $2,000-2,500  Final: $3,963 (6 bids: 2,522 - 2.700 - 3,000 - 3,111 - 3,775 - 6,000)

This coin has been re-attributed to the Philistian coinage by Gitler & Tal in 2006 (No. XI.2Oa). The PDF version of the book of Demeester & Daubersy is available here*). Only 2 examples are known.

* This coin is illustrated on the pages 51 and 161.


9. PLATE COIN No. 131 in Samarian Coinage (Meshorer & Qedar 1999) 0.68 g.

 Start: $1,500 Est. $2,000-2,500  Final: $3,266 (7 bids: 1,550 - 2,100 - 2,100 - 2,502 - 2,655 - 3,111 - 5,000)

17 years after the publication of Samarian Coinage, this coin is still the finest I have seen for the type.


10. PLATE COIN No. 1607 in Guide to Biblical Coins 5th ed. (Hendin 2010) 9.81 g.

 Start: $550 Est. $700-800  Final: $1,103 (5 bids: 800 - 816 - 925 - 1,051 - 1,165)

Nice and clear countermarks of the 5th Roman Legion.


11. PLATE COIN No. 381b in A Treasury of Jewish Coins (Meshorer 2001) 9.33 g.

 Start: $550 Est. $700-800  Final: $840 (5 bids: 750 - 765 - 800 - 800 - 851)

This coin shows the typical countermark with a galley of the 10th Roman Legion.


12. PLATE COIN No. 222e in A Treasury of Jewish Coins (Meshorer 2001) 12.10 g.

PLATE COIN No. 5d in Ancient Jewish Coinage (Meshorer 1982)

 Start: $425 Est. $600-700   Final: $1,025 (10 bids: 600 - 712 - 725 - 800 - 800 - 980 - 1,000 - 1,000 - 1,015 - 1,025)

This coin was in the collection of Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 to 1993.


Auction 84 (April 1-7 2016)


1. Alexander III, Phoenician tetradrachm struck ca. 325 B.C.E. in Arados (Price 3332 - Muller 1370) 16.76 g.

 Start: $1.150 Est. $1,500-2,000  Final: $1,982 (2 bids: 1,888 - 2,225)

An interesting lifetime issue of Alexander III with a graffito. The coins with an paleo-Hebrew or Aramaic graffito are exceedingly rare. This one shows a letter Yod on the reverse (enlargement), which was probably the first letter of the owner's name. A close examination under a microscope shows that the inner area of this graffito bears the same original patina as the rest of the coin, confirming its genuineness.

In 2007, I was lucky to find another paleo-Hebrew graffito, an Aleph, cut on a rare Yehud Ptolemaic coin type GBC 1082 in a famous private collection (see illustration at left). This Yehud was struck some 50 years after the Alexander III offered here, it is not impossible that cutting a personal mark on coins was a relatively common practice at that time.


2. Philistia, Gaza, drachm struck ca. 400 B.C.E. (Huth & Van Alfen 6) 3.96 g.

 Start: $1,750 Est. $2.500-3,000  Final: $4,200 (3 bids: 3,100 - 4,000 - 5,600)

An exceedingly rare, early drachm of Gaza unlisted by Gitler & Tal in 2006 but listed 4 years later in Huth & Van Alfen (here). The single other example I have seen was offered by NAC one year ago (Auction 84 No. 695).

Last minute: Sounds like the law of series, but another one, from the same pair of dies but a bit more worn, is presently offered here.


3. Samarian hemiobol struck ca. 340 B.C.E. (Meshorer & Qedar 11) 0.30 g.

 Start: $925 Est. $1.500-2,000  Final: $1,422 (2 bids: 1,355 - 1,855)

A rare Samarian hemiobol depicting a "scorpion-man" on the reverse. Same pair of dies as the NAC example sold one year ago (Auction 84 No. 706). Uncleaned.


4. Yehud obol struck 360-355 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1057a) 0.48 g.

 Start: $775 Est. $1.000-1,500  Final: $1,191 (2 bids: 1,010 - 1,135 - 1,257)

Even if GBC 1057 is a relatively 'common' Yehud coin type, I have been truly amazed to see this coin. In an article published 8 years ago*, I show how, in the very beginning of the striking process, a severe die clash occurred, leaving the negative shape of the reverse die deeply embedded on the obverse (see illustration at left). This rounded shape under the head of the Persian king is visible on all the coins from this type (121 specimens are listed to date).

On October 5th 2004 however, for the first time, an example appeared on the market with no trace of the die clash (Archaeological Center 34 No. 3).  This unique coin would become the plate coin of GBC 1057a. 12 years after, a 2nd specimen is found: This one.

Only 2 coins with no trace of die clash vs. 121 coins struck with the clashed dies, it means that the clash happened after only 1.5% of coins struck.

* Extreme Degradation and Damage on Yehud Coin Dies (Israel Numismatic Research Vol. 3 (2008) pp. 29-44).


5. Nabataea, drachm struck year 35 B.C.E. under Malichus I in Petra (Meshorer 12) 3.26 g.

 Start: $1,450 Est. $2,000-2,500  Final: $1,601 (3 bids: 1,500 - 1,525 - 1,775)

Apparently truck by a single pair of dies, an exceedingly rare Nabataean drachm in a superb condition on both sides. Only 4 examples are known to date (see the coins #2, 3, 4 & 5 in this list) and this one is the 2nd finest. The last examples in auction were offered 7 and 9 years ago (CNG 2007 #532, CNG 2009 #624, CNG 2009 #743).


6. Herod Philip, AE 14 mm struck year 34 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi (GBC1234) 2.79 g.

 Start: $725 Est. $1,000-1,200  Final: $1,375 (5 bids: 1,025 - 1,150 - 1,155 - 1,310 - 1,500)

A rare and interesting coin type of Herod Philip with a much better obverse than usual. It is often written that the tetrarch Herod Philip ruled over a quite and prosperous territory, the illustration on the reverse of this coin can be seen as a good indication of this prosperity.


7. Herod Agrippa I, AE 24 mm struck year 43-44 C.E. in Caesarea Maritima (GBC 1248) 16.56 g.

 Start: $9,500 Est. $15.000-20,000  Final: $12,600 (2 bids: 12,000 - 15,000)

An important and exceedingly rare coin type of Agrippa I struck on the last year of his life and in the city where he died. In the 10 last years, only 4 specimens have been seen on the market: AC 2007a (previously: Superior-NYINC 1995 No. 1165), AC 2007b, CNG 2013 & CNG 2015, for a total of 8 coins known for the type (see here). This type is always found in a terrible - to not say horrible - condition, but the historical importance of the scene depicted on the obverse makes it desirable and important in any condition. This scene shows the emperor Claudius (in the middle) crowned by Herod Agrippa I (on left) and his brother Herod of Chalcis (on right).

Struck by the pair of dies O1-R2 (like AC 2007b), this coin is one of the 3 finest known examples for the type, with THE most complete scene on the obverse, while the reverse stands in the average condition.  The reason for this nice scene on obverse is that this coin has been struck after O1 was recut by the engraver, which leads us to say a few words about recut. A die was - sometimes - recut if it was too affected by wear or breaks before the number of coins to strike was reached. I have found and studied 4 examples of recut dies on Judaean coins. Two important facts appeared to me: 1) A recut improves the quality of a worn illustration, but it also weakens the die. A recut die could not strike more than 10-15% of the coins previously struck before the recut. 2) An engraver recutting a die was not exactly free to recut what he wants, but he also had to deal with the problems the die was affected by (breaks, cracks, wear...). The recut obverse die of the coin offered here gives several remarkable examples of it. For example, if the right arm of the figure in the middle of the scene - Claudius - appears to be too long, it is because the die was affected by a severe defect in this area (see illustration at left) and the engraver who recut the die had to deal with that.

Now, why did the dies of this coin type were so prematurely and dramatically affected by wear, breaks and other flaws although they struck so few coins? In my opinion, the dies were made in an alloy that was not appropriate or not homogenous enough. During the strike, a too hard alloy is subject to break as a too soft one is subject to premature wear. If the coin makers of Agrippa I have had a better control in the fabrication of their dies, it is probable this coin type - and some others - would have been much more common. It does not make sense to cut an important historical scene on a die if it is for striking a handful of coins only.


8. Herod Agrippa II, AE 23 mm struck ca. 45 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi (GBC 1259) 11.17 g.

 Start: $1,750 Est. $2.000-2,500  Final: $3,675 (6 bids: 2,100 - 2,255 - 3,000 - 3,113 - 3,500 - 3,975)

Not more than 20 examples are known for this coin type. The main problem with the earliest, pre-royal coin types of Agrippa II (GBC 1259, 1260, 1261) is their poor condition. In most cases, the metal surface is rough and affected by corrosion, sometimes severely. It is not the case of this perfectly preserved specimen with most of the original details well visible and an excellent portrait of Claudius. Much better than the GBC plate coin, this specimen is shown in the movie dedicated to coin cleaning and restoration we posted on YouTube two months ago (click here and see at 1'04).


9. First Jewish War, eighth shekel struck year 69 C.E. - year 4 of the war - in Jerusalem (GBC 1369b) 6.18 g.

 Start: $925 Est. $1.500-2,000  Final: $1,575 (5 bids: 1,000 - 1,225 - 1,500 - 1,500 - 1,750)

A rare variety with a retrograde inscription in exceptional condition on the obverse and a clearly barbarous reverse. Interestingly, it is the 3rd retrograde obverse die I have listed for the type. To see the two others, click here and scroll down to the dies O3 (8 coins known) and O39 (1 coin known). If we except the prutah of the 2nd year, no other coin type of the First Revolt is known with a retrograde inscription.


10. Judaea Capta denarius struck year 72-73 C.E. in Antioch (GBC 1491) 2.92 g.

 Start: $925 Est. $1.500-2,000   Final: Unsold

A nice example for this scarce Judaea Capta denarius struck in Antioch on the same year as the fall of Massada. Some light porosity on the obverse. Nicely centered.


11. City of Gadara (Decapolis), AE 22mm struck year 217 C.E. under Elagabalus (Ros. 87 - Spij. 83) 9.38 g.

 Start: $825 Est. $1.000-1,500   Final: $1,685 (4 bids: 1,250 - 1,500 - 1,605 - 1,875)

A fabulous example, probably the finest ever offered, for this scarce coin type of Gadara. Same pair of dies as the NAC example sold 5 years ago (Auction 59 No. 1424).


12. City of Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), AE 29mm struck year 251 C.E. under Hostilian (Meshorer 181) 14.40 g.

 Start: $675 Est. $800-1,000  Final: $1,084 (3 bids: 1,000 - 1,033 - 1,255)

An extremely rare and important coin type depicting the mythic scene of the foundation of Rome, with the eagle of the Roman legions above, in exceptional condition on reverse. I have only found two other examples offered in the 10 last years: Goldberg 2007 and CNG 2012.


Auction 83 (March 1-7 2016)

1. Yehud hemiobol struck ca. 340 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1059) 0.25 g.

 Start: $525 Est. $600-700  Final: Unsold  

A nice example struck by the pair of dies O4-R1 (click here). This reverse die is affected by an interesting network of breaks visible on all the coins struck by this die*. Much better than the GBC plate coin. Uncleaned.

* 80% of all the Yehud reverse dies are affected by breaks. The ratio remains the same on the Ptolemaic and pre-Ptolemaic periods.


2. Yehud hemiobol struck ca. 315 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1069) 0.25 g.

 Start: $825 Est. $1,000-1,200  Final: $1,340 (3 bids: 1,015 - 1,277 - 1,750)

A nice coin with a beautiful facing portrait struck by the pair of dies O2-R2 (click here).


3. Yehud hemiobol struck ca. 330 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (Unlisted) 0.28 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $400-500  Final: $451 (2 bids: 430 - 826)

An extremely rare, unlisted Yehud hemiobol with a helmeted head on the obverse. I found this new type in 2009 (click here) and this is the 8th example I have listed to date.


4. Herod the Great unstruck flan for a large denomination 37 B.C.E. (GBC 1169) 9.18 g.

 Start: $775 Est. $1,000-1,200  Final: $1,050 (3 bids: 850 - 1,000 - 2,500)

An important and possibly unique unstruck flan made for the largest denomination of Herod the Great. Unstruck flans sometimes appear on the market but they are small denominations. They are quasi-impossible to find for sizes over the double prutah. This is the largest unstruck flan I have seen for the Biblical-Judaean coins.


5. Herod the Great, common prutah (GBC 1188) 1.68 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $500-600  Final: $430 (3 bids: 350 - 410 - 518)

A beautiful example for this common coin type of Herod the Great, perfectly centered on both sides with complete border of dots.


6. Herod Antipas, large denomination struck year  33-34 C.E. in Tiberias (GBC 1211) 13.38 g.

 Start: $1,750 Est. $2,500-3,000  Final: $5,250 (6 bids: 2,650 - 3,100 - 4,200 - 5,000 - 5,000 - 6,000)

I will never forget June 29th 2015. That day, I was lucky to discover a previously unnoticed star on a coin of Antipas. It was just incredible, and it was this coin! (now cleaned and restored). First, I looked for the same star on other coins from the same die, and then on all the obverse dies of the type. It definitely appeared this star is present on ALL of them (check by yourself here, it is very interesting). However, the star is never so well visible and well detailed than on this coin, which is probably why no one remarked it before. Also, this type is rare (only 30 examples listed to date) and, even more important, it is one of the most poorly preserved coin types of Antipas. Poor preservation is generally due to wear or corrosion (of the coin or of the die), in any case, it 'eats' the most minute details first.

The star and the cornucopia - with this coin illustrated - are the object of an article published in the present issue of Israel Numismatic Research Vol. 10 (see illustration below).

It is a fascinating detail. But what does it mean? I would suggest 2 hypothesis: First, it might be the illustration of a remarkable, contemporary astronomical event (eclipse, comet, supernova) but the records I have checked do not return clear results for this period and location. Second, it might symbolize someone important (it was frequent at that time: the birth of Jesus was announced by a star, the leader of the revolt of Bar Kochba was the 'son of a star'). Does it symbolize Antipas himself? It is hard to say.... But I am sure of one thing: this star must be something important because, of this series of 4 denominations issued this year by Antipas, it is only depicted on the largest.

On the reverse, another previously unlisted detail appeared to me in 2014 as I was working on a composite image to illustrate the dies of this coin type. Here again, this detail is present on all the reverse dies. I could not identify it by myself but a Canadian numismatist and friend gave me the key: it is a stylized cornucopia, maybe as a reference to the Hasmonaean coins or to coin types issued by the father of Antipas, Herod the Great. This detail is also perfect on this coin.

It's not over. I am pretty sure there is a third unlisted object on this coin type, symmetric to the cornucopia, at right of the palm branch and under the letters LZ (three irregular dots are visible in this area). If you check this link again, it appears there is 'something' in this area on almost all the coins. Unfortunately, this object is too poor and too partial on all the coins to be identified. However, I think an hypothesis would make sense: It might be the right horn of a double cornucopia, a kind of 'tribute' to the coins of the Hasmonaeans, but instead of the classic pomegranate between the horns, we have the usual palm branch of Antipas.


7. Herod Agrippa I, AE 17 mm struck year  40-41 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi (GBC 1242) 3.10 g.

 Start: $4,500 Est. $6,000-8,000  Final: $5,100 (4 bids: 4,500 - 4,575 - 5,000 - 5,100)

An exceedingly rare coin type depicting a remarkable portrait of king Agrippa I on obverse and his wife, queen Cypros, on the reverse. Of the 4 coin types of Agrippa I depicting his own portrait (GBC 1237 - 1242 - 1246 & 1250), this is, by far, the rarest (only 5 specimens are known to me, I will list them soon on MCP). The last example offered was in the Heritage-Shoshana auction, 4 years ago (see here).


8. Herod Agrippa I, AE 15 mm struck year  40-41 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi (GBC 1243) 2.23 g.

 Start: $5,500 Est. $7,000-10,000  Final: $12,000 (6 bids: 8,510 - 9,103 - 10,000 - 10,555 - 11,601 - 12,000)

Agrippa II, the last king of the Herodian dynasty (49-94 C.E.) never portrayed himself on his coins. The only 2 portraits we have show him as he was a teenager, on 2 coin types issued by his father Agrippa I: GBC 1243 & 1247. Unfortunately, both types are extremely rare and most of the coins known are terribly preserved (click here). The portrait on this coin is definitely one of the 2-3 finest known, with the minute details remarkably preserved: The eye and eyelid, the ear and curly hair in the back, the nose, the shin and even the two lips are all well visible.

This coin will be illustrated in an article I am presently writing for the T&T Clark Encyclopaedia of Second Temple Judaism, to be published in September 2017 by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (USA).


9. Herod Agrippa II, quarter denomination struck year  53-54 C.E. in Tiberias (GBC 1268) 3.63 g.

 Start: $750 Est. $1,000-1,500  Final: $1,050 (3 bids: 1,000 - 1,000 - 1,158)

Made in Tiberias, this rare coin type is a 'numismatic tribute' to Herod Antipas, the great-uncle of Agrippa II. Uncleaned but in exceptional condition.


10. City of Capitolias (Decapolis), AE 22mm struck 166 C.E. under Marcus Aurelius (Rosenberger 5) 7.61 g.

 Start: $475  Est. $750-850  Final: $845 (2 bids: 805 - 1,000)

An extremely rare city coin type in a superb condition on both sides. Great portrait of Faustina Junior, wife of Marcus Aurelius. The single other example I have seen was sold by CNG, 6 years ago (click here).



11. City of Akko, AE 21mm struck ca. 230 C.E. under Severus Alexander (Kadman 192 var.) 7.21 g.

 Start: $350  Est. $500-600  Final: $687 (3 bids: 502 - 655 - 710)

This scarce coin type of Akko is the finest I have seen for the type, nicely centered on both sides with a complete inscription on obverse. Note the caduceus on reverse, in front of the horse, at 8:00-9:00.



Auction 82 (February 1-7 2016)

- 17 bidders in this auction -

1. Yehud hemiobol struck 295-290 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1063) 0.37 g.

 Start: $1,250 Est. $1,500-2,000  Final: $4,200 (6 bids: 2,500 - 2,500 - 3,015 - 3,555 - 4,000 - 4,500)

Two months ago, in our auction 80, we were lucky to offer the famous Yehud coin type with the Ear (GBC 1061, see archives 2015). In our description, we were talking about the 4 'patriotic' Yehud coin types: GBC 1060 (lily), GBC 1061 (Ear), GBC 1062 (shofar) & GBC 1063 (incense burner). The coin we offer today is the one with the incense burner. As rare as the type with the Ear (20 recorded examples), this type is generally affected by the same problems: poorly struck and poorly preserved. However, the incense burner is very nice on this piece, with a realistic flame. Uncleaned.


2. Unlisted Samarian obol struck ca. 360 B.C.E. (MQ - ) 0.74 g.

 Start: $1,750 Est. $2,000-2,500  Final: $3,675 (5 bids: 2,010 - 2,500 - 3,015 - 3,500 - 4,200)

An important and apparently unique Samarian obol with an excellent Philistian-styled male head with oriental headdress on obverse. The reverse is similar to Meshorer & Qedar 204. Uncleaned.


3. Unlisted Hasmonaean barbarous prutah 1.88 g.

 Start: $350 Est. $500-600  Final: $525 (4 bids: 444 - 500 - 500 - 627)

An unlisted Hasmonaean barbarous prutah with a crude, truncated inscription apparently in concentric circles with retrograde letters*. Well centered on both sides, this coin establishes an interesting parallel with a coin type of Herod the Great also depicting an inscription in two concentric circles: GBC 1175 (click here). On the reverse, the double cornucopia is not crude, but it is slightly different than usual (a bit larger and shorter).

* This variety is also unlisted in the reference publication on the subject, in two volumes: Unrecorded Hasmonaean Coins from the J.CH. Kaufman Collection, published by the Israel Numismatic Society in 1995 (Vol. 1) and 2004 (Vol. 2).


4. Pontius Pilate, prutah struck year 29-30 C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1341) 2.47 g.

 Start: $425 Est. $600-700  Final: $770 (5 bids: 510 - 625 - 700 - 734 - 965)

A unique and important holed coin of Pontius Pilate shown 'as found' (at top) and cleaned (at bottom). The holed Judaean coins are very rare, and because they were mounted in jewellery, most of them were chosen among the large and nicely illustrated types*. With their small size, their poor strike and their sober illustrations, it is not the case of the coins of Pontius Pilate. But in the eyes of someone, this coin was important enough to be holed twice (for a better stability) and used as a necklace or a bracelet. This coin has been cleaned but not restored to well show that the interior of the holes bear the same patina as the rest of the coin (they are not modern). Also, the picture at top shows that the holes were filled by encrustations when the coin was found.

In the Old City of Jerusalem, many coins of Pilate mounted in modem Jewellery are offered to the Christian pilgrims (some are fakes made to fit the jewellery setting), but it is the first time we have the evidence of an ancient one, contemporary to the time of Pontius Pilate himself.

* See the interesting following examples: Antipas (click here and scroll down to pair O2-R2), Jewish War (click here and scroll down to pairs O3-R3 and O3-R9), Bar Kochba (click here and scroll down to pair O5-R12)


5. Pontius Pilate, prutah struck year 30-31 C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1342 var.) 2.08 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $450-500  Final: $367 (2 bids: 350 - 600)

A nice example, well centered on both sides, with an extremely rare error in the inscription: 'KICAPOC' instead of 'KAICAPOC'. Only 2 other examples are known to me (see them at left). The example offered above is from the same pair of dies as the 'Herakles 2008' specimen, but the 'Amphora 2000' is from a different pair (but cut by the same hand).

These 3 coins are probably not irregular issues made at an unofficial workshop (there is nothing crude or irregular in their lettering and illustrations). In my opinion, they are part of the regular coins from the official mint in Jerusalem, but maybe there was some tolerance for minute errors like this one.


6. Herod Philip, hoard of 8 coins struck from 9 to 30 C.E. in Caesarea Philippi (GBC 1221-1223-1229-1231-1233). Total: 47.07 g.

 Start: $7,250 Est. $9,000-10,000  Final: $9,450 (4 bids: 8,252 - 8,500 - 9,000 - 9,600)

A complete hoard of 8 coins of Herod Philip. There are more coins of Philip in this hoard than there was on the market in the 12 last months! It is offered as found, uncleaned with the original encrustations, in order to preserve the 'hoard character' of this group. Of course, cleaning and restoring each coin and selling them one by one would definitely increase the value of this group, but I would not suggest it: A hoard has a considerable archaeological value that individual coins don't have. So it would be important to keep these coins together in the future, as they have been for 2,000 years. A publication should be dedicated to this hoard (with all the coins illustrated) on next year.

As I was suspecting the coin #1 to be the finest ever seen for the type, I must admit I could not resist to clean and restore it, to be sure. Illustrated at left, the result is exceptional on both sides, and yes, it is the finest known! (Est. $3,000-3,500) I have done my best, in the restoration process, to present a 'finish' (color, appearance) inspired from the original, as-found model.


7. Jewish War, eighth shekel in bronze struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1369) 5.15 g.

 Start: $775 Est. $1,200-1,500  Final: $2,100 (9 bids: 1,000 - 1,118 - 1,326 - 1,550 - 1,611 - 1,800 - 1,855 - 2,000 - 2,175)

A quasi-perfect example with great details and well centered on both sides. The excellent definition of the pearls of the chalice and of the dots at the extremities of the letters shows the high quality of the strike on this coin. Nicely cleaned and restored in Israel.


8. Jewish War, quarter shekel in bronze struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1368) 8.15 g.

 Start: $5,750 Est. $7,000-9,000  Final: $9,835 (6 bids: 6,200 - 7,500 - 8,444 - 8,600 - 9,367 - 10,000)

Struck by the pair of dies O8-R12, this beauty is definitely one of the 3 finest known specimens for the type (see here).


9. Bar Kochba revolt, small bronze struck year 133-134 C.E. (year 2 of the revolt) in Jerusalem (GBC 1410) 5.95 g.

 Start: $875 Est. $1,500-1,800  Final: $1,581 (6 bids: 950 - 1,001 - 1,255 - 1,500 - 1,506 - 1,855)

An exceptional example for the type, much better than the GBC plate coin and from the same pair of dies.



Auction 81 (January 1-7 2016)

- 18 bidders in this auction -

1. Yehud hemiobol struck 295-290 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1088) 0.15 g.

 Start: $1,250 Est. $1,500-2,000  Final: $2,152 (4 bids: 2,000 - 2,000 - 2,050 - 2,255) 

An exceedingly rare Yehud coin type with a crude but spectacular and quasi complete portrait of Ptolemy. Only 5 examples are known (click here), one of them was sold in 2009 for $4,500 (New York Sale auction XX #247)


2. Herod the Great, large denomination struck year 37 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1169) 5.36 g.

 Start: $775 Est. $1,000-1,200  Final: Unsold

Very similar to the coin #3 we offered in our auction 74 (see archives 2015), it is the 7th double struck coin ever listed for the type. It is a nice, spectacular coin with a great eye-appeal.


3. Herod the Great, half denomination struck year 37 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (GBC 1170) 3.98 g.

 Lot withdrawn

Of the 269 specimens I have listed and classified for the type from 2001 to 2010 (click here), it is the first time I see a barbarous example! The 4 dated coin types of Herod the Great were carefully made and controlled, and the varieties - of any kind - are extremely rare".

* For a grand total of 1,320 coins we have listed in our book The Coins of Herod for the 4 dated types, we only have: 0 overstrike, 0 brockage, 0 countermarked, 0 retrograde, 7 double-struck (see coin #2 in this auction) and 14 irregular or barbarous (including this one). Not a single regular example is known with an error or even a retrograde letter in the inscription.


4. Nabataea, Drachm struck year 35 B.C.E. under Malichus I in Petra (Meshorer 12) 3.33 g.

 Start: $1,750 Est. $2,500-3,000  Final: Unsold

Struck by a single pair of dies, an exceedingly rare Nabataean drachm in a superb condition on both sides. Only 4 examples are known to date (see the coins #2, 3, 4 & 5 in this list) and this one is the 2nd finest. The last examples in auction were offered 7 and 9 years ago (CNG 2007 #532, CNG 2009 #624, CNG 2009 #743).


5. Herod Antipas, eighth denomination struck year 29-30 CE in Tiberias (GBC 1206*) 1.35 g.

 Start: $1,250 Est. $1,500-2,000  Final: $2,200 (7 bids: 1,600 - 1,659 - 1,680 - 2,006 - 2,077 - 2,150 - 2,200) 

An extremely rare coin type of Antipas in a superb condition on both sides. It is the 5th specimen ever recorded*, and the 2nd finest (click here)

* The plate coin GBC 1206 is an attribution error. It is in fact a GBC 1202 (with a reed, not a palm branch) struck by the pair of dies O3-R3.


6. Pontius Pilate, prutah struck year 30-31 CE in Jerusalem (GBC 1342) 2.14 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $500-600  Final: $472 (4 bids: 375 - 400 - 450 - 577) 

Struck one year after the previous coin of Antipas, here is an exceptional example for the famous regular prutah of Pilate with the lituus. For a reason I do not understand, the dies with the lituus were a bit larger than the ones with the simpulum but they were all struck on the same prutah-sized flans. It is the reason why the complete inscription around the lituus is rarer than around the simpulum...


7. Herod Agrippa I, prutah struck year 41-42 CE in Jerusalem (GBC 1244) 3.20 g.

 Start: $375 Est. $550-750  Final: $769 (5 bids: 405 - 600 - 701 - 733 - 800) 

It is probably the most common coin type ever struck under the Herodian dynasty (40 BCE - 95 CE), but it is simply impossible to find in this condition. The full border of dots on the obverse is remarkable.


8. First Jewish Revolt against the Romans, prutah struck year 67 C.E. (year 2 of the revolt) in Jerusalem (GBC 1360) 2.50 g.

 Start: $325 Est. $500-600  Final: $648 (3 bids: 555 - 618 - 750) 

It is probably the Law of Series. Two months ago, in our auction 79 (see archives 2015), we were lucky to offer the first brockage known on a coin of the First Revolt. Here is the 2nd one, struck by a different obverse die*.

* The actual obverse side on this coin type is the one with the leaf. The actual reverse is the one with the amphora.


9. Herod Agrippa II, AE 27 mm struck 74-75 C.E. in Caesarea Paneas (GBC 1282 var.) 18.40 g.

 Start: $675 Est. $800-950  Final: Unsold 

A nice coin of Agrippa II with a interesting double strike visible on the reverse only: The 2nd line of the inscription is missing. The obverse is slightly off-centered at bottom right but the strike is strong and the details of the portrait of Vespasian and of the letters of the inscription are at their best. When the 2nd strike was - unintentionally - given, the flan was still at the same place on the obverse, fixed die (increasing the relief and details), but the reverse die, hold in hand, moved a little.


10. Bar Kochba revolt, middle bronze struck year 132-133 C.E. (year 1 of the revolt) in Jerusalem (GBC 1379) 10.89 g.

 Start: $1,250 Est. $1,500-2,000  Final: $2,915 (6 bids: 1,500 - 2,100 - 2,222 - 2,505 - 2,777 - 3,760) 

A fascinating bronze of the 1st year of the revolt of Bar Kochba (132-135 CE), overstruck on a countermarked Syrian coin of Domitian (81-96 CE). This coin had a triple life: First, it was struck in Syria under Domitian in 81-83 CE (see another example here), then, probably a few months or years later, it was countermarked by a Roman legion*. At last, 50 years after the original strike, the rebels of Bar Kochba re-used this coin by overstriking it with their own pair of dies. Like watermarks, the head of Domitian is still well visible on the obverse, as well as the letters SC, a strong symbol of the Roman authority, on the reverse** (I like the 'layout' of the letters: the paleo Hebrew letters Mem & Ayin abbreviating Shimon - the leader of the revolt - at left of the palm tree, and the Roman letters SC at right. The coins of Bar Kochba overstruck on Roman coins are common indeed, and in most cases, only a few traces of the underneath coin remain. But we have here an interesting and like-premonitory symbolism: The vine leaf and palm branch of the rebels could not erase the head of the emperor and the 'signature' of the Senate.

Incidentally, we have here an interesting example of what cleaning and restoration can do (picture at bottom): The countermark and letters SC were apparently unnoticed by the coin finder himself (picture of the uncleaned coin at top).

* The probable animal visible on the countermark - with letters above? - might be the typical wild boar of the 10th Legion.

** SC means Senatus Consulto "By decree of the Senate".


11. Bar Kochba revolt, barbarous middle bronze struck year 132-133 CE (GBC 1379a) 12.24 g.

 Lot withdrawn

A spectacular barbarous coin of Bar Kochba nicely centered and in exceptional condition on both sides. This coin is enigmatic: on the obverse the leaf is very crude as on the reverse, the leaves on the palm branches are more carefully cut and more numerous than on the regular issue!


12. City of Gerasa (Decapolis) AE 23mm struck 132-138 C.E. under Hadrian (Ros. 5, Spij. 5) 5.88 g.

 Start: $225 Est. $350-400  Final: $317 (4 bids: 250 - 250 - 302 - 360) 

A nice example for the type, well centered on both sides with complete inscriptions.