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    The Shoshana Year 5 Shekel, Found At Masada

    JUDAEA. The Jewish War (AD 66-70). AR shekel (23mm, 13.92 gm, 10h). Jerusalem or Masada, dated Year 5 (AD 70). Paleo-Hebrew Shekel of Israel around Year 5 above ritual chalice with pearled rim, the base raised by projections on ends / Paleo-Hebrew Jerusalem the Holy around staff with three pomegranate buds, round base. Hendin 1370. TJC 215. AJC 263, 31. Samuels 94 (this coin) MCP dies 03/R9 (one example cited). Very rare! NGC Choice VF ★ 3/5 - 4/5.

    Ex Shoshana Collection (Heritage 3003, 3 March 2012), lot 20220 (realized $262,900); Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection (Sotheby's New York, 19 June 1990), lot 116. Found at Masada, 1970s. 

    The year 5 shekel ranks as likely the most storied coin in the Judaean series. Silver shekels dated to the fifth year were struck in the months just before Titus and his troops captured Jerusalem and burned the Temple in July of AD 70. It is probable that large numbers of these just-struck coins were melted down and the bullion carried back to Rome as part of the booty, which would eventually finance the Colosseum as well as other building projects. There were several year 5 shekels among the coins excavated at Masada, raising the possibility that the dies formally employed at the Great Temple may have been smuggled out of the city and that at least some of the coins might have been struck at that remote mountain-top fortress. These coins continued in use until Masada fell to the Roman legions in AD 73 and the last defenders committed ritual suicide, an act of defiance that is still celebrated in Israel today. 


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
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