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Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers
Auction 100  5-6 Sep 2017
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Lot 2080

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Estimate: 25 000 USD
Price realized: 41 000 USD

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Judaea, The Jewish War. Silver Shekel (13.34 g), 66-70 CE. Irregular issue. Year 5 (April-August 70 CE). 'Shekel of Israel' around, 'year 5' above, ritual chalice with pearled rim, the base raised by projections on ends. Reverse: 'Jerusalem the holy', sprig of three pomegranates. Hendin 1370a; TJC 215a. One of the finest from the Baldwin Hoard.

See Hendin p. 363 for a concise and interesting summary of the Baldwin Hoard. Nearly Mint State. Estimate Value $25,000 - UP
Ex Shoshana Collection, pt. II (Heritage, 5 September 2012), 20128 A Connoisseur's Collection of Ancient Jewish Coins.
Year 5 shekels are the rarest of all the shekels minted during the Jewish War. There were only four months that year to strike them before Titus captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in the Fall of 70 CE. Nevertheless, during the last months of the siege when all commerce as well as the striking of bronze coins came to a halt, it was important to continue striking coins in silver in order for the Jews to continue to pay the half-shekel Temple tax, as commanded in Exodus 30.13. Several year 5 shekels were among the coins excavated at Masada, one of the most famous rebel strongholds against the Romans, which notoriously held out against them for three more years after Vespasian and Titus celebrated their Triumph in 71 CE. It is therefore known that at least some Jewish fighters were able to escape Jerusalem just before it fell. After the war, it was forbidden to use coins of the revolt, so the shekels were melted down into ingots, for their silver value.

Josephus (de Bello Judaico 7.320-406) tells us that when at length it became evident that the Romans would prevail, the rebel commander of the zealot group known as the Sicarii, Eleazar ben Ya'ir, convinced his men to kill their wives and children and then to commit suicide, thereby depriving the Romans of the glory of taking them captives and sparing themselves from slavery.
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