Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ancient Coin Post - A Year One Shekel of the Jewish Revolt Agaiants Rome

Obverse: Chalice with smooth rim, pearl on each side, the base is flat with pearled ends.

Hebrew inscription: Shekel of Israel , Year 1.

Reverse: Stem with pearled base and three pomegranates.

Hebrew inscription: Jerusalem the Holy

Silver, 13.51 grams

Date: 66 CE

My most expensive coin and perhaps one of the most historically significant.

This silver shekel coin dates to the first year of the (first) Jewish Revolt against Rome. The war began after continued abuse by the Roman Procurator Gessius Florus led the Jews to revolt.

The Jews drove the Romans from Judaea, at least for a time, and began striking their own silver and bronze coinage.

These shekels were issued for 4 more years, ending in the fifth year. The price of these shekels today steadily rises year by issued year, with the Year 4 shekel in the ten thousand dollar plus range and the Year 5 shekel selling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars due to its rarity. As you can guess, by Year 4, the war was not going well for the Jews and by Year 5 there was no question that Rome had the upper hand.

These thick silver coins are tangible connections to that great war. An account of the war at the time The Jewish War by Josephus is an interesting read. Written immediately after the war, he recounts the history that led to it, and the major battles and events that took place.

A great coin with incredible connections to history.

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