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    Exceptional Year 1/2 Hybrid Sela

    JUDAEA. Bar Kokhba Revolt (AD 132-135). AR sela (26mm, 13.16 gm, 12h). Second year (hybrid with first year obverse) (133/134 AD). Paleo-Hebrew Jerusalem on three sides of facade of Jerusalem Temple, the holy ark seen from end in center of entrance / Year two of the freedom of Israel, around lulav with etrog at left. Mildenberg 125, 7 (O1/R6). Hendin 1385. Very rare. An exceptional example of this seldom-offered hybrid (8 examples listed by Mildenberg), well struck on a broad flan from dies of an early state, with no sign of the undertype or die breaks usually found on the issue. NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5.

    Ex Goldberg 28 (Los Angeles, 20 February 2005), lot 675. 

    Unlike coins of the first Jewish War against Rome (AD 66-70), all coins of the Bar Kokhba Revolt were overstruck on Roman Provincial issues already in circulation, mainly silver tetradrachms  and drachms of Antioch, Tyre, and Caesarea in Cappadocia, as well as Roman silver denarii. The government of Simon Bar Kokhba mainly controlled the Judaean hinterlands, hiding men and equipment in an elaborate network of underground caves and tunnels, did not have the time or resources to set up a full-fledged mint with smelting, refining and casting capabilities. All the same, it must have given the rebel mintmasters a certain thrill to hammer flat the images of the Roman emperors and Pagan deities who they hoped to banish from Israel altogether. The imagery of Bar Kokhba coins focuses upon the symbols related to the original Temple of Jerusalem, the facade of which appears on the obverse of the large silver tetradrachm-sized selas, and the Feast of Tabernacles, with the lulav and etrog occupying the reverse. Coins struck during the first and second years of the revolt carry a date ("Year One / Two of the Redemption of Israel"), while coins struck the third year (AD 134-135) are undated. Coins of Year One are the rarest of the series, with "hybrid" issues matching a Year One obverse die with a Year Two reverse are quite nearly as rare. This superb piece is among the finest surviving specimens of the hybrid series.  

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    January, 2016
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