Year Five Irregular ShekelJewish War (66 - 70 AD). AR irregular shekel (21 mm, 13.34 gm, 1h). Year 5. LARSy LkS (shekel of Israel); US (year 5 = 70/71 AD) above ritual chalice with pearled rim, the base is raised by projections on ends / USä¿kU My>Säry (Jerusalem the holy); staff with three pomegranate buds, round base. Hendin 1370a. TJC 215a. Samuels 95 (this coin). Irregular issue. Superb.
This is perhaps the best example of the widely discussed small group of coins struck from a single pair of dies. In the mid-1980s, thirteen year 5 shekels, all heavily cleaned, were found in the vault of Baldwin's, a legendary London coin dealer. At the beginning of the twentieth century, an unknown person had marked the group as forgeries. However, the dies matched the previously-thought-to-be unique specimen in the British Museum collection (BM Palestine, p. 271,20), which had been acquired by the BM in 1887. Upon examination of the BM specimen, one observes that its reverse is covered by a thick layer of silver chloride. This type of corrosion is formed during a long period underground. This, plus the circumstances of acquisition of the BM specimen, not only seems to establish its authenticity, but also eliminates the possibility that the additional group of coins from the same dies were manufactured from it. Scanning electron microscopic studies of the entire group further established their authenticity (INJ 9, 1986-7, pl. 9,10). Optical microscopic examination of the coins shows specific manufacturing attributes that would not have been known to forgers of the nineteenth century when they were discovered. Ya'akov Meshorer acquired one of these specimens for the Israel Museum Collection, where it remains today.
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