Silver Shekel prototype from 66 AD up for auction

Silver Shekel prototype from 66 AD up for auction

A silver shekel minted immediately after the Jewish revolt against Rome in the summer of AD 66. It was auctioned on Thursday, March 8, with a record $ 1,105,375. As far as is known, it is the most expensive coin ever sold in ancient Judea.

The reason it is so valuable is that it is a prototype. It was minted just weeks after the revolt broke out. In Jerusalem, the rebels defeated the Roman army and expelled their king Agrippa-II.

Silver Shekel prototype, front and back respectively. 66 A.D.

When Rome conquered Judea in the 1st century B.C., rejected the minting of the local currency. By Talmudic law, the temple tax had to be paid in high-purity silver coins and the shekels were the only ones of value. These shekels had the face of Melqart carved on the obverse(see second image), while on the reverse there was an eagle.

As soon as the Jews gained control of Jerusalem, they began to mint their own silver coins using the shekels as raw material. They also did it for political and religious statements. By minting their own coins, they declared themselves independent and sovereign and no longer had to obey Roman laws.

The new shekels were dated from the beginning of the revolt, so those that were minted in 66 AD They were carved with the word "Year 1".

Some prototypes were necessary to perfect the design and minting mechanics of these coins, and two such prototypes are known to exist. They were discovered in the late 1970s and one of those coins was donated to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The other has just been sold at said auction.

You can tell they are prototypes because the images and inscriptions are more complex than the rest.

This shekel is part of the 2,000 spectacular pieces in the Soshana collection. Last week's auction was just the first part of the sale of this historic collection that was crafted over 40 years by an anonymous West Coast collector.

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