The Australian Numismatic Society


Coin No.1 Quarter Shekel Unique in the British Museum struck before 333 BCE. The reverse (or tail side) portrays a seated deity on a winged wheel with bearded mask lower right Described by Hill (1914) and others as the first Jewish coin following the description in Ezekiel 10:16 Barag (1991) suggests the deity as the God of Yehud ie. The God of Israel. Gitler & Tal (2006) suggest it is a product of the Philistian mint produced by Edomite Jews and one of the earliest coins of the Yehud series.


Coin No.2 is a Persian Empire gold daric struck in the time of Darius I to Xerxes  II 485-420 BCE The obverse (or head side) shows the Persian king  kneeling with spear and bow. The shekel is a weight when mentioned in the Bible  but the daric is mentioned  in Chronicles I (29, 7); Ezra 2,69 and 8, 27, Nehemiah 7, 70-72.Ezra 2,69  mentions in the verse “one thousand darics of gold and 5000 pounds of silver ….


Coin No.3 is a Yehud silver half gerah (issued before 333 BCE).  With obverse a lily (symbol of Jerusalem) and reverse a falcon with Hebrew “yhd “  script. “YHD” is the Persian name for the province of Judah.


Coin No.4 a bronze prutah of the Maccabean king John Hyrcanus I  (135-104 BCE) “ Yehohanan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews”


Coin No.5 a bronze prutah of Alexander Jannaeus  (104-76 BCE). Obv. Palm,  rev. Lily,  obv.  Legend reads  “Yehonatan the king”.


Coin Nos. 6  are bronze prutahs of Mattathias Antigonus (40-37 BCE) known as the menorah coin. This coin type is the most valuable of all ancient coins in copper, based on weight (1gm) and worth >$100,000. Only 30 examples survive – its significance as an issue of the last king of the Maccabean dynasty and a desperate issue by Antigonus, backed by the Parthians but locked in battle with Herod I  who was proclaimed king of the Jews in 40 BCE consequently war resulted. He violated Jewish law against using religious objects from the temple in Jerusalem – it was a desperate propaganda tool to use the menorah and showbread table. The issue was designed for the Jews to fight and rally them against Herod. The seven branch menorah was central to the Jewish faith and described in the Old Testament Exodus 25, 31-40.. The menorah was a symbol of the Jewish temple (destroyed in 70 CE) and became the symbol of Jewish faith.

Coin No.7 a bronze 8 prutot of Herod I (40-4 BCE). Obv. Military helmet, rev. tripod, year 3, and monogram. The monogram was curiously used in the mid late 4th century CE a midpoint in the evolution of the “chi-rho” monogram and the Christian cross.


Coin No.8 a bronze 2  prutot of Herod Archelaus (4 BCE – 6 CE.). Son of Herod the Great and made Ethnarch of Judea. The tyranny and excesses of Archelaus were so offensive that in the 9th year of his reign, his subjects sent a delegation to Rome to complain to Augustus. He was thus banished to Vienna in Gaul.  “But when he heard that Archaelaus did reign in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither” (Matthew 2.22).

Coin No.9 is a bronze issue of Herod Antipas (4 BCE-37 CE). Issued in 29-30 CE, at Tiberias (year 33, LG). Rev. reads “Herod Tetrarch” referred to by Jesus as “that fox” Luke 13, 32. Herod is the man most often referred to in the New Testament. He ordered the execution of John the Baptist and Pontius Pilate sent Jesus to Antipas when he learned he was a Galilean.

Coin No.10 is a bronze coin of Herod Philip (4 BCE-34 CE ) first husband of Salome his niece. Luke 3,1  states “now in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and the region of Trachonitis”

Coin No.11 is a coin of Agrippa I (37-44 CE).  He acquired through Caligula the kingdom of his grandfather Herod the Great. He ordered that James one of the twelve apostles beheaded and placed Peter in prison. See Acts 12, 1-2 and the account Acts 12, 1-23. B below on reverse indicates year 2 =- 37-38 CE.

Coin No.12 a bronze prutah of Pontius Pilate (26-36 CE) issued in year 17 LIZ = 30-31 CE. See Matthew 27, 2. Image No.13 is a stone with Pontius Pilate’s inscription found at Caesarea with Latin inscription that mentions the “Tiberium” a building built by Pontius Pilate the prefect of Judaea (Israel Museum). A unique inscription with Pilate name recorded in an archaeological context.

Coin No.13 is an issue of Agrippa II (55/6-95/6 CE) struck in 75-6 CE at Caesarea Paneas (year 27 (KZ). Paul almost persuaded him to be a Christian. Acts 26, 27-28 “ King Agrippa, do you believe in prophets? I know that you do. And Agrippa replied to Paul, in a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian”.

Coin No.14   is a extremely rare (one of 2 known) silver shekel of the Jewish War (First revolt) (66-70 CE) an issue of year 1 “Shekel of Israel Year 1”  “Jerusalem the Holy”. This exceptional coin  recently sold in the US as a lot in the Shoshana Collection for $1,105,375.

Coin No.15 superb sestertius of Vespasian commemorating the victory in the Jewish war. It sold for $262, 900US from the collection noted above.

Coin No.16 a shekel of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE) issued in year 2 (133-4 CE) (“Jerusalem” /“Year two of the freedom of Israel”) .

Coin No.17 “The Tribute Penny” a denarius of the Emperor Tiberius Mark 12, 14-27 “..bring me a penny.. whose image and superscription.. Caesars..and Jesus answering, said  unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” obv. (“Tiberius Caesar Augustus, Son of the divine Augustus” Pontif Maxim (high priest).

Coin No.18 a shekel of Tyre (known to be of pure silver and good weight). Every Jewish male (over 20) had a temple tax of half a shekel (coins were made of this denomination) (Exodus 30, 11-16). The Talmud says that silver mentioned refers to Tyrian silver. This is the coin type that is known as the payment to Judas for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26, 14-15).  The letter KP on the reverse is believed to indicate that this issue was made in Jerusalem. Also relates to parables etc as the large silver coin in the bible (Matthew 17, 24-27).

Coin No.19 a coin of  Aelia Capitolina (Roman Jerusalem) portraying Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, bust of Sarapis on reverse  (COL AEL CAP ]. Hadrian re-founded Jerusalem and renamed it Colonia Aelia Capitolinus. He also built a temple on the site of the Jewish temple and dedicated it to Jupiter Capitolinus.  This city name as such appears on all issues from 130-251 CE.

Coin No.20 is an issue of what attempts to portray Noah and his wife once in the ark and again standing by the ark. It was Issued at the city of Apamea in Phrygia (Asia Minor) by Gordian III (238-244).. Note the dove or raven in hand above with laurel branch. The box (ark) is inscribed with Noah’s name. The Latin arca (ark) usually means a treasure chest. The story of the flood not only recorded in the Bible but is noted in the tale of Gilgamesh of Uruk (c.3000 BCE) . The issue was made probably as souvenir medallions for Christians and Jews who in the 3rd century thronged Asia. It is a type repeated by several emperors.

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12th June 2012