Estimate: 20000 USD
Price realized: 24000 USD
Judaea, Bar Kokhba Revolt. Silver Zuz (2.58 g), 132-135 CE. Year 1 (132/3 CE). 'Eleazar the priest' (Paleo-Hebrew), jug with handle; at right, willow branch. Reverse: 'Year one of the redemption of Israel' (Paleo-Hebrew), grape bunch with branch and small leaf. Hendin 1374; cf. Mildenberg 2/5 (O1/R3); TJC 219. Extremely Rare - die combination not recorded by Mildenberg. Traces of undertype visible. Extremely Fine. Estimate Value $20,000 - 25,000
A Connoisseur's Collection of Ancient Jewish Coins; Ex NAC 78 (26 May 2014), 341.
The silver zuzim of the Bar Kokhba War were regularly overstruck on Roman imperial denarii and provincial drachms from Cappadocia and Bostra that had been captured by the rebels from the invading Roman forces. The types seem to be influenced by the bronze prutot of the earlier Jewish Revolt (66-73 CE) which featured an amphora and a vine leaf. The zuzim of the Bar Kokhba War mirror this typology by depicting a grape bunch on the obverse and a one-handled jug on the reverse, and those of the first year of the war (132/3 CE) are especially notable because they name "Eleazar the priest," a mysterious figure who disappears from the coins in the subsequent years of issue except for some mules. It is often suggested that he is none other than Rabbi Eleazar of Modein, an uncle of Simon bar Kokhba who seems to have lent his religious authority to the cause of war against the Romans. Later, after having begun doubting his actions and planning to surrender to the forces of Hadrian, Bar Kokhba reportedly kicked him to death.The branch to the right of the jug has traditionally been identified as a palm branch. In "The Temple Willow-Branch Ritual Depicted on Bar Kokhba Denarii," INJ 16 (2007-2008), pp. 131-5, Y. Adler argues that it is in fact a willow branch, and represents the willow branch ceremony that took place along with the water ceremony (represented by the jug) at the Temple altar during the Feast of Tabernacles.