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 ARCHIVES

 - Coins sold in 2010 -

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1. Philistia

 

 SOLD (Private Sale, Jun. 2010)

Ashdod, Persian rule, struck end of 5th century in Ashdod (Gitler & Tal II.7D) This superb coin type is also an extreme rarity: It is the 2nd specimen known, better than the other one listed in the book of Gitler & Tal.

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 SOLD (Sale 19, Sept. 2010 #1)

Philistia, struck circa 370 B.C.E. in Gaza (PLATE COIN in Hendin GBC 5). Somptuous specimen, exceptionaly complete and well preserved on both sides. This is the PLATE COIN in the new edition of David Hendin's Guide to Biblical Coins. (See Plate 1, Coin #1014). The Aramaic letter Mem, initial of Marnas, the chief god of Gaza, appears on the reverse between the owl and letter 'E'. Marnas  was the god of grain and rain in Gaza and he was prayed against famine. Centuries after centuries, the letter Mem continues to appear on the coins minted in Gaza and it is still present on the city coins of the 2nd to the 3rd centuries C.E. This is probably the earliest coin type ever struck in Palestine: It came into circulation only 200 years after the destruction of the Solomon Temple, and around 130 years after the dedication of the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem.

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 SOLD (Sale 20, Oct. 2010 #1)

Philistia, struck circa 370 B.C.E. in Gaza (Hendin #1014 in GBC 5)  Exceptional specimen, with a complete and well preserved portrait of Athena on obverse and a superb reverse with a well detailled owl and a perfect letter Marnas (see enlargement at right). This specimen is as good as the David Hendin's plate coin we sold on last month. The Aramaic letter Mem, initial of Marnas, the chief god of Gaza, appears on the reverse between the owl and letter 'E'. Marnas  was the god of grain and rain in Gaza and he was prayed against famine. Centuries after centuries, the letter Mem continues to appear on the coins minted in Gaza and it is still present on the city coins of the 2nd to the 3rd centuries C.E. This is probably the earliest coin type ever struck in Palestine: It came into circulation only 200 years after the destruction of the Solomon Temple, and around 130 years after the dedication of the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem.

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2. Yehud

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #1)

Yehud, Persian rule, struck circa 350 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 426) Superb example of this coin type that usually comes in poor or very poor condition. Amazingly, the large head of persian king on the obverse die has been affected by an extremely rare and interesting phenomenon that happened in the beginning of the striking process: Both dies have been clashed together with no flan between them. The composite illustration at left shows the entire remains of this dramatic clash on the obverse die: The circle shape, with striations inside, located under the portrait of the king are the negative remains of the head of the owl and its feathers. The explain of this fascinating phenomenon has been given by David Hendin in his column in The Celator (Vol. 21, No. 10, October 2007)

SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #1)

Yehud, Persian rule, before 333 B.C.E. (Hendin 427) Excellent specimen 100% complete on both sides. Uncleaned and as found!

 

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #1)

 Yehud, Persian rule, before 333 B.C.E. (Hendin 429) Beautiful specimen with a complete and well struck portrait of the persian king. Interestingly, it is the 2nd specimen known to be struck by this extremely rare and irregular pair of dies (click here and scroll down to pair O15-R22): On the obverse, the eye of the king is larger than usual, and the reverse is apparently anepigraphic.

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 SOLD (Sale 16, May 2010 #2)

Yehud, Persian rule, before 333 B.C.E. (Hendin 429) Finest example known for this very rare pair of dies (only 4 coins listed, click here and scroll down to pair O9-R17). As shown on the enlargement at right, the reverse die is affected by a network of tiny breaks located in front of the beak of the falcon. It is very possible that these breaks caused the interruption of the striking process with this pair of dies, which would explain the extreme rarity of coins struck by this pair of dies (on this subject, read my article in Israel Numismatic Research 3, 2008: Extreme Deterioration and Damage on Yehud Coins). The obverse die (O9) is extremely degraded on all of the 4 other specimens known. Also note the retrograde inscription on the reverse.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #2)

Yehud, Persian rule, before 333 B.C.E. (Hendin 430) Exceptional specimen with a complete and very clear, beautiful portrait on the obverse. Not only this coin type is very rare (click here) but only around 10% of all the specimens known are showing the facing portrait in a good state like this one. In fact, the obverse dies of this coin type were prematurely worn and on most of the coins struck, the portrait is in an extremely poor state and/or off-centered. On many specimens, the obverse dies are so worn that the obverse side is simply blank! The reason for this is a bit enigmatic but it is possible that the dies were cut in a too soft alloy or also sometimes too off centered during the strike.

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #2)

Yehud, Persian rule, struck circa 350 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (UNLISTED) In fall 2008, I was lucky to contribute, with Cathy C. Lorber, to the discovery of an extremely rare but important new class of Yehud coins that share the facing head/owl types of TJC 2023, but with four major differences: 1) They are written in Greek or pseudo-Greek, 2) They are of crude style on both sides, 3) The owl faces left, 4) The details of the face of the owl (eye, beak) have been enigmatically erased. So we wrote an article on the subject that was published in January 2009 (Fontanille-Lorber, Israel Numismatic Research Vol. 3 pp. 45-49, see the abstracts here). Before this discovery, no one would have never imagine that Yehud coins might be written in Greek! These Yehud coins in Greek are extreme rarities: On the 1300+ Yehud coins listed on Menorah Coin Project, only 10 specimens written in Greek are known (0.7 %), click here to see all of them. Now, what about the specimen offered here?  It is the 11th specimen ever seen, the 2nd specimen known by this pair of dies, and probably the very first one ever offered on the coin market (3 specimens are property of the Israel Museum, the 7 other ones are in 2 private collections). The condition of the other specimen known by the same pair of dies is a bit better on the reverse, but its obverse is blank and the portrait is totally missing (the obverse die was too off-centered during the strike). On the specimen offered here, the portrait is not only almost complete (only the top of the head misses), but it is also in very good condition for the type (to see and compare both specimens, click here, and scroll down to 'Die O2')

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010 #1)

Yehud, Persian rule, struck circa 310-301 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 440) This superb specimen, which is one of the three best known for this rare coin type, is apparently the finest that ever came on the market in the 30 last years! (click here) On the 72 specimens listed to date, only 5 of them (7%) show the obverse die in an acceptable state, with the roaring lion's head well recognizable. Why not more? After a very few specimens struck, this obverse die became suddenly dramaticaly damaged for some obscure reason, and only a 'pellet' remained on the die. The page on Menorah Coin Project (click on the previous link) well shows this phenomenon. To learn more about the amazing degradation process of this important die, read our article published last year in Israel Numismatic Research: Extreme Deterioration and Damage on Yehud Coin Dies, pp. 29-44. This coin type is one of the latest types of Attic weight before the Ptolemaic group, and can be dated of circa 310-301 B.C.E.

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3. Samaria

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #2)

Samaria, Meshorer & Qedar Samarian Coinage #25. Struck in Samaria, fourth century B.C.E. Rare coin type in superb state showing a winged sphinx with Persian king's head on obverse and a bridled horse on the reverse.

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4. Hasmonaeans

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #3)

John Hyrcanus I 135-104 B.C.E. (Hendin 460) Even if this 'widow's mite' type H460 is one of the most common coin types ever struck in Judaea, this specimen is definitely a rarity: First, it is perfectly centered on both sides, which is extremely rare. Second, the inscription and the other patterns are complete on both sides (only the very top right of the wreath is partial). And third, this coin is as found, with its original incrustations naturally accumulated during more than 2,100 years. This specimen might be even more beautiful if cleaned.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #4)

Alexander Jannaeus 103-76 B.C.E. (Hendin 469) Gorgeous specimen with a fantastic obverse, much better than the Hendin (#469) and TJC (Series K) plate coins.

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 SOLD (Sale 20, Oct. 2010 #2)

Alexander Jannaeus 103-76 B.C.E. (Hendin #1148 in GBC 5)  This gem, with its original desert patina, is the FINEST specimen ever seen for the type (click here), better than any plate specimen (Hendin, Meshorer, Maltiel-Gerstenfeld), and is very similar to the exceptional one we sold in our Sale 01 in March 2009 (click here and scroll down to 'Hasmonaeans'). Ever if this specimen is struck on an exceptionaly large flan, the reverse cannot be complete on coins because it has been struck with an oversized die, like it was frequently the case under the Judaean rulers of the first century B.C.E. (especially Jannaeus, Antigonus and Herod I).

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #1)

Alexander Jannaeus, 103-76 B.C.E. (Hendin 469 Variety) This beautiful specimen with a complete inscription is the sumo of the widow's mites: 6.20 grams. This incredible weight, which is 300-400% above average for the type, is similar to the typical weight of the eight prutot of Herod the Great! Might this coin be a new, unlisted large denomination? A specimen above 3 grams is considered as heavy for the type. However, three interesting details must be taken into consideration: 1) The overweight of this coin is not the fact of a too large flan as the size of the flan fits the size of the obverse die, and is even a bit too small. 2) If the inscription is exactly the same as on the regular issues (see example at left), the letters on the heavy specimen are thicker and a bit cruder than on the regular coins. 3) The anchor is also a bit cruder and less detailled than the one on the regular issues. So I would tend to believe this coin is not an unlisted large denomination, but more probably an illegal issue not made in an official workshop.

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #2)

Antigonus, struck circa 40-39 B.C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 482 Unlisted variety)  Beautiful example of an unlisted variety: The Greek inscription on obverse is truncated and the 3rd line is completely missing. However, this coin is regular, not barbaric at all. Simply, the engraver had no space enough to cut the 3rd line.

 

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5. Herodians

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010 #3)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 486) Exceptional specimen of Series I with tripod flanked by appendages and letters omega open. The Series I are the earliest, rarest and most interesting series for the eight prutot of Herod the Great (only 16% of them are series I). Unfortunately, series I are in a much poorer condition that the regular series, but this coin is definitely one of the finest specimens known, on BOTH sides (click here). Interestingly, the star is not visible at the top of the helmet, but it is not a defect: on the 30 dies known with helmet, it is the single one with no star.

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #3)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 486) struck year 37 B.C.E. Exceptionally complete and clear specimen with a superb eye appeal on both sides. This is one of the very best coins ever seen for Series II. The Series II are rarer and a bit more crudely cut than the Series III, the regular and most common series, but they are more common than Series I, the earliest series for the type.

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #5)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 490a) This is one of the best specimens known for the type (click here, it is the pair of dies O1-R2). Exceptional inscription & patterns for this coin type that usually comes in very poor condition. A very interesting phenomenon happenned on this obverse die: After a few specimens struck, severe die flaws appeared at right and top left. These flaws were constantly growing and they finally completely ruined the die and caused the abortion of the striking process. On most of the coins struck by this obverse die. The specimen offered here shows the very early step of the degradation process.

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 SOLD (Sale 16, May 2010 #5)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 490a) Superb specimen on both sides. As one can see, the reverse die was much larger than the obverse, and it is extremely rare to find this coin type with such a complete and well centered reverse side.

 

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #6)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 490) This specimen of exceptional quality has been struck by a super rare pair of dies (only 2 other specimens are known: click here and scroll down to dies O29-R81). The eye appeal of this coin is superb with a perfect diadem and cross surronded by a complete inscription, and an almost complete reverse side with a beautiful and clear table.

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 SOLD (Sale 14, Apr. 2010 #4)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 490) This specimen of exceptional quality has been struck by a rare pair of dies (only 10 specimens are known, this one is the best: click here and scroll down to dies O27-R80). The eye appeal of this coin is superb with a perfect diadem and cross surronded by a complete inscription, and an almost complete reverse side with a beautiful and clear table. Also note the border of dots on reverse which is flattened at top.

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #9)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 493) Fantastic example of this coin type which is always very partial and in extremely poor condition (click here to compare). By chance, the preserved area shows the entire  name of Herod, and the letters are nicely enhanced by a beautiful natural desert patina covering the background.

 

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 SOLD (Sale 21, Nov. 2010 #1)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1188) Struck in Jerusalem  Very beautiful example of the most common issue of Herod the Great (around 70% of ALL the coins ever struck under Herod are from this type). The design (anchor and double cornucopia with caduceus) is directly inspired by the patterns depicted on the Hasmonean coins. This specimen is much better centered and complete than usual. Superb eye appeal.

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010) #6  

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 500, anepigraphic variety) struck in Jerusalem  Beautiful example of the very rare anepigraphic variety (with no inscription) of Hendin 500, the common prutah of Herod the Great. To date, only 11 specimens were listed, struck by four anepigraphic dies (click here, 1st paragraph). This coin shows a 5th die, previously unlisted. Interestingly, the obverse die with anchor is not partial, with an almost complete circle of dots.

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 SOLD (Sale 20, Oct. 2010 #3)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 1185) Struck in Jerusalem This is one of the 3 best specimens known for one of the 3 rarest coin types of Herod the Great (click here). This coin has been sold by the Goldbergs in June 2000 (Sale 5, June 4-7 2000, Dr. Jon Kardatzke Collection). The obverse, with half of the inscription well visible, is exceptionaly complete for the type. The reverse well shows the two crossed palm branches and only a short section of the border line (from 6:00 to 9:30) is missing.

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 SOLD (Sale 14, Apr. 2010 #5)

Herod the Great 40-4 B.C.E. (Hendin 502) Struck around 10 B.C.E in Jerusalem This excellent specimen shows the most complete and beautiful galley I have seen. The coin type of Herod the Great with galley is one of the rarest types for this ruler: our records on Menorah Coin Project show that only 6-8 specimens appear on the market every year. Unfortunately, this type is always in extremely poor condition. The most important side, the one with the galley, commemorates the foundation of the port of Caesarea by Herod the Great.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #5)

Herod Archelaus 4 B.C.E.-6 C.E. (Hendin 503v) Struck around year 1 C.E. in Jerusalem This specimen is not only in a much better condition than usual, it is also entirely retrograde (inscription & galley) on the obverse. Only five retrograde specimens are known for this type, this one is by far the best of them.

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #6)

Herod Archelaus 4 B.C.E - 6 C.E. - UNLISTED TYPE - Struck around yr 1 C.E. This amazing specimen of 0.52 grams is probably the only lepton ever seen of Herod Archelaus. It sometimes happen that pretended unlisted small denominations be offered for sale, but in most cases, they are in fact regular coins struck by regular dies on a defective, too small flan, and listed by error as a small denomination (see a good example here). It is definitely NOT the case here: Even if the obverse die is slightly off-centered, it perfectly fits the size of the flan, and it is the same for the reverse die. It means than the dies having struck this coin were lepton sized dies as well as the flan they struck. Interestingly, for the other coins struck in the same period (Antipas and the procurators for example), we have the same phenomenon: the smallest denominations are, by far, the rarest. For example, the eighth denominations of Antipas are extremely rares, and for the procurators, David Hendin and Ya'akov Meshorer only listed a single example of leptons  in their books (Hendin 642b, TJC 322)

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #10)

Herod Archelaus 4 B.C.E.-6 C.E. (Hendin 503v) Struck around year 1 C.E. in Jerusalem Superb barbaric issue in exceptional condition. The layout of the inscription on obverse is very different than usual and on the reverse, the double cornucopia is cruder than usual and the letter ''P'' at 3:00 is retrograde.

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 SOLD (Sale 16, May 2010 #6)

Herod Archelaus 4 B.C.E.-6 C.E. (Hendin 504) Struck around year 1 C.E. in Jerusalem A beauty with complete inscription and complete patterns on both sides. In better condition than the Hendin and the Meshorer plate coins!

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 SOLD (Sale 20, Oct. 2010 #5)

Herod Antipas 4 B.C.E - 40 C.E. (Hendin 1201) Struck year 20 C.E. in Tiberias This exceptional specimen, sold by Leu Numismatics in May 2003 (Sale 86 #489), was in the famous collection of Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem for 28 years, from 1965 to 1993, who was once called "the greatest builder of Jerusalem since Herod." On the 64 specimens listed to date for this coin type (click here), only two of them are showing a 100% complete inscription on the obverse: This one, and the Meshorer TJC 77 plate coin (Bromberg I, 1991, #29). The reverse is also of exceptional quality: not a single dot of the border is missing! Dark black patina.

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #7)

Herod Antipas 4 B.C.E - 40 C.E. (Hendin 511) Struck year 20 C.E. in Tiberias Nice specimen with a complete or almost complete inscription on both sides, which is extremely rare on this coin type and on the types of Antipas in general. Since around 2 years, the decent specimens of Antipas are EXTREMELY rare to find on the market. Also, the coins of Antipas are the most frequently tooled among all the coin types ever struck in Judaea.

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #3)

Herod Antipas, struck year 29 C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 512)  Largest denomination. Exceptional example for this rare coin type which is generally offered in very poor condition or tooled. Only 37 specimens are listed to date (click here). This coin has been struck on the same year as the issue with the simpulum of Pontius Pilate, some months before the crucifixion of Jesus. Superb eye appeal in hand.

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 SOLD (Private Sale, Aug 2010)

Entire collection of 12 rare coins of Herod Antipas

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 SOLD (Sale 22, Dec. 2010 #6)

Herod Agrippa I, 37-44 C.E. (Hendin 1240) struck year 37/38 C.E. in Caesarea Paneas  This exceptional specimen is one of the rarest coin types of Agrippa I, struck in the very beginning of his reign. Unfortunately, most of the specimens known are in a very poor condition: On the only 24 specimens listed to date (click here), less than half of them are in a descent state. This one is one of the 3-4 best known.

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SOLD (Sale 21, Nov. 2010 #3)

Herod Agrippa I, 37-44 C.E. (Hendin 1246) struck year 42 C.E. in Caesarea Maritima  Exceptional specimen, one of the very best ever seen, for this very rare coin type (36 specimens are listed to date, click here). The portrait of king Agrippa I is fresh and in an excellent condition. The countermark is also remarkable for three reasons (see enlargement at left): First, it is in a superb condition with many details well visible on the face. Second, it does not hide the portrait of Agrippa. And third, the portrait of the countermark shows the same top/bottom orientation as the portrait of Agrippa, which increases the aesthetical qualities of this coin. Interestingly, this coin has been struck by the same pair of dies as the plate coin in the 4th and 5th editions of Guide to Biblical Coins (#555 in 4th edition, #1246 in 5th edition).

 

 

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6. Prefects & procurators

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #4)

Procurator Coponius, struck year 6 C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 635a) Exceptional specimen for this coin type which is common but always comes in a very poor and partial condition. It is definitely one of the very best ever seen, full of interesting minute details (see enlargements). Interestingly, the obverse die has been cut with small letters, exactly like the somptuous variety #635a pictured in GBC. David Hendin describes it as a 'fine engraving'. We have the same case here. In future books and articles, I will demonstrate that, at least for the Yehud coins as well as the coins of Herod the great, a few dies were cut by a master engraver (around 10% of the dies) as all the other ones were cut by more or less experienced apprentices imitating the work of the master (90% of the dies). The coin offered here, as well as the specimen pictured in GBC might indicate that it was the same situation under the procurators.

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 SOLD (Sale 16, May 2010 #7)

Marcus Ambibulus 9-12 C.E. (Hendin 636) Struck year 9 C.E. in Jerusalem Another beauty, struck on a much larger flan than usual, perfect on both sides.

 

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 SOLD (Sale 16, May 2010 #8)

Marcus Ambibulus 9-12 C.E. UNLISTED Struck year 9 C.E. in Jerusalem Exceptionally rare example of a small denomination struck by a regular pair of dies. The picture at left shows three examples of these tiny coins (right column) compared to the size of the regular issues (left column). On the first line is the coin of this sale. On the 2nd line is the Hendin 642b plate coin. The third line shows that the coins of the procurators were not the only ones to be affected by this phenomenon. We have numerous examples indicating that the smallest denominations were not in high demand in Judaea (see a Yehud example here, and an Antipas example here). But at least, appropriated small sized dies were cut to strike them. But apparently, the coin makers of the prefects/procurators and of the First Revolt decided to not cut new dies for striking small coins. They simply used the regular prutah-sized dies to strike lepton-sized coins, probably because the need for such coins was too low. It explains the reason why these coins are so partial. To date, the 3 lepton-sized coins pictured at left are the only ones I have seen.

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #5)

Procurator Valerius Gratus, struck year 15 C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 639)  Nice example for this coin type which is generally in a very poor condition: The double cornucopia and inscription on obverse are almost complete and the wreath and inscription on reverse are well detailled.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #7)

Valerius Gratus 15-26 C.E. (Hendin 643, TJC 326) Struck year 17 C.E. in Jerusalem Best specimen known of one of the rarest and most beautifull coin types of the procurators/prefects period.

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SOLD (Sale 21, Nov. 2010 #4)

Valerius Gratus 15-26 C.E. (Hendin 1334) Struck year 16 C.E. in Jerusalem  This is the finest specimen ever seen for this type, in a much better condition than any plate coin known (Hendin, Meshorer, Maltiel-Gerstenfeld). Interestingly, the name of the emperor on the obverse bears an error: 'TIBEIPOY' instead of 'TIBEPIOY'. This is one of the rare coin types of Valerius Gratus, and the double cornucopia/caduceus depicted on the obverse is directly inspired from one of the most classic pattern of the Hasmonaean and Herodian kings.

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 SOLD (Sale 22, Dec 2010 #4)

Valerius Gratus 15-26 C.E. (Hendin 1338) Struck year 18 C.E. in Jerusalem This is a relatively common coin type, but almost impossible to find in such a sumptuous condition (on BOTH sides). As beautiful as a composite image! Note that this coin has a natural but very dark patina, and might be restored in order to enhance the patterns.

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 SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #2)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 648) Struck year 29 C.E. in Jerusalem Superb specimen with a complete inscription and a perfectly preserved simpulum on the obverse. Such a beautiful condition for an uncleaned specimen is exceptional.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #9)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 650) Struck year 31 C.E. in Jerusalem Superb and exceptional coin of Pontius Pilate, with a countermark clearly showing the Greek letters C and Pi flanking the palm branch (see elargement at left). Countermarked coins are the grail of the Pontius Pilate varieties!: Struck in 31 C.E. in Jerusalem, this specimen has been then countermarked some years later by roman soldiers (the letters C and Pi flanking the palm branch of the countermark mean 'cohort' according to Kenneth Lonnqvist, author of the most in-depth study ever published on the subject: Israel Numismatic Journal #12 (1992-93: 56ff)). Only 5 countermarked specimens were known for this type (click here), this one is the 6th.

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 SOLD (Sale 20, Oct. 2010 #6)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 1343d) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem  Exceptional coin of Pontius Pilate, with a countermark depicting a palm branch flanked by the Greek letters C and Pi*** (see enlargement at left). Only two dozens of countermaked coins of Pilate are known to date. The letter C at 10:00 is a bit faint, but the letter Pi at 2:00 is very clear. The countermarked coins of Pontius Pilate are among the rarest and most sought-after varieties in all the categories of Judaean coins. A good thing with this specimen is that the date is very clear. In many cases, the area of the date is flattened by the smash of the countermark on the other side and the letters of the date are hard to read. Dated 'LIZ' (year 30 C.E.), this specimen has been then countermarked some years later by roman soldiers. This coin is only the 4th countermarked specimen ever listed as bearing a clear date 'LIZ', the year of the crucifixion of Jesus. To see the other countermarked coins of Pontius Pilate known, please click here. Interestingly, this countermark clearly shows a palm branch, with its typical triangular shape (the leaves are larger at bottom than at top of the branch). It is not the case, however, on the other countermarks: On most of them, the branch is more similar to a reed (like the one depicted on the earliest issues of Antipas, click here). So the specimen offered here leads us to an interesting question: Is a palm branch really depicted on the other countermarks, or is it another plant with equi-length leaves, like a reed? *** The letters C and Pi flanking the palm branch of the countermark mean 'cohort' according to Kenneth Lonnqvist, author of the most in-depth study ever published on the subject: Israel Numismatic Journal #12 (1992-93: 56ff)

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SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #3)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 649) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Impressive barbaric issue with a retrograde and very crude inscription on the obverse. The reverse is also very crude with a simplified wreath. The letters 'L' and 'I' of the date are normal, but the last letter, probably a 'Z', is replaced by two horizontal, parallel crude bars. Only 3 specimens are known from this pair of dies, this one is the finest. To see the 3 specimens known, please click here, then scroll down to Section 2, Die O2.

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #7)

Procurator Pontius Pilate, struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem (Hendin 649)  This interesting and rare variety (this is the 8th specimen known) has been listed for the first time in 1982 by Prof. Meshorer in AJC (#23c, same pair of dies). It is also depicted in TJC (#333c). The word KAICAPOC ('Emperor') is truncated: the 3 last letters 'POC' are missing. Also note that on the reverse, the letter 'Z' of the date is retrograde. The very best specimen known is the one shown in the Meshorer's books, which is owned by the Franciscan Biblical school in Jerusalem. The specimen offered here is the 2nd finest known. To see all the other specimens known, please click here and scroll to the Die O2 of the 4th Paragraph entitled 'Very crude inscription.'

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 SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #4)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 649) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem I never saw this variety before. On the reverse, the date is not only entirely retrograde, which is extremely rare already, but the letter 'Z' is vertical instead of horizontal. On the obverse, the lituus is much more crudely cut than usual (compare with the specimen above)

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #8)

Pontius Pilate 26 - 36 C.E. (Hendin 649) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Beautiful specimen bearing the super rare date error 'NZ' instead of 'LIZ'. The only other specimen known appeared on the market 10 years ago. To see both coins, click here and scroll down to die R6. On the two specimens known, this one is the best.

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #9)

Pontius Pilate 26 - 36 C.E. (Hendin 649) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Very rare barbarous issue with errors on BOTH sides: On obverse, 'TIBEPIYO' instead of 'TIBEPIOY' (the letters 'O' and 'Y' are inverted), and on the reverse, 'Z' is retrograde. This is the 3rd example know. The first one appeared on the market in 1978, and the 2nd one in 2004. To see the three specimens known, click here, scroll down to the 4th section, Die O6.

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 SOLD (Sale 19, Sep. 2010 #5)  Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 650) Struck year 31 C.E. in Jerusalem Excellent specimen with date framed by an upside-down wreath. Beautiful strike and nice eye appeal.

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #11)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 649/650, Unlisted variant) Struck year 30 or 31 C.E. in Jerusalem This extremely barbaric and enigmatic issue of Pontius Pilate is probably the crudest I have ever seen. On the reverse, the usual date (''LIZ'' or ''LIH'') is replaced by a mysterious ''T'', never seen before. Usually, even the crudest dates have a lot to deal with the regular ones: they simply bear inverted or retrograde or upside-down letters for example. But the letter ''T'' depicted on this coin is radically different from the regular dates as well as any of the other barbaric dates known. So, how to explain this amazing variety? One can reasonably speculate that, in some cases, the unskilled engravers who cut the barbaric dies had no regular coin under the eyes to imitate. So they cut the dies of memory. Interestingly, when this pair of barbaric dies were cut, a new coin type bearing a ''T'' inside a wreath (and a ''C'' under it) recently came into circulation in Galilee and was probably already circulating in Judaea. It is a rare coin type of Antipas, struck on year 29 C.E. (click here). So it is possible that the engraver who cut this barbaric pair of dies had the coin type of Antipas in mind and made the confusion with the side also bearing a wreath of the coin of Pontius Pilate he was supposed to imitate.

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 SOLD (Sale 12, Feb. 2010 #12)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 649, UNLISTED variety) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem  Exceedingly rare date variety: ''LIN'' instead of ''LIZ''. Interestingly, the same variety, but retrograde, was already listed and published (see coin at left., only 3 specimens are known: Click here and scroll down to die R2 to see all of them). So the specimen offered here is the very first ever seen. By chance, the date is complete and very clear.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #8)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 649) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Very barbarous and entirely retrograde variety on obverse (inscription + lituus) combined to a reverse with date ''IZ'' (retrograde Z). Only 29 entirely retrograde specimens of Pilate are known to date, this one is among the very bests on both sides with a 100% complete lituus. Original patina and encrustations.

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 SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #5)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 649) Struck year 30 C.E. in Jerusalem Exceptional regular specimen with a 100% complete inscription on the obverse. Beautiful contrast and great eye appeal.

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 SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #7)

Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 650) Struck year 31 C.E. in Jerusalem Superb barbaric specimen, spectacular on both sides. On the obverse, the layout of the inscription is completely different than usual and on the reverse the date is entirely retrograde with a wreath facing left. Interestingly, the varieties on the issue of year 31 like this one (Hendin 650) are much rarer than on the issue of year 29 (Hendin 649). This is the 3rd specimen ever seen for this amazing pair of dies and the finest one. One other is property of the American Numismatic Society, as the other one is in a private collection. To see all the three specimens known, please click here and scroll down a little to 'Die O2'.

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010) #7  Pontius Pilate 26-36 C.E. (Hendin 650a, countermarked) Struck year 31 C.E. in Jerusalem It is not the first time we are proud to offer a counternarked coin of Pontius Pilate, the most sought-after variety of the most famour procurator of Judaea. But this specimen is of special importantce because the style of this countermark was previously unlisted (click here to compare with the 19 other countermarked specimens known to date). This new countermark depicts a palm branch, like the other ones, but its size is much smaller than the other ones, and the palm branch is not flanked by the two usual letters: lunate Sigma at left and Pi at right. Interestingly, this countermark has been struck on the issue of year 31 C.E. ('LIH') which is at least 2 times less frequent than the type of year 30 C.E. ('LIZ').

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 SOLD (Sale 14, Apr. 2010 #6)

Antonius Felix 52-59 C.E. (Hendin 652) Struck 54 C.E in Jerusalem  Superb barbaric specimen with a beautiful eye appeal. This is the crudest issue I have seen for this coin type.

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 SOLD (Sale 21, Nov. 2010 #5)

Antonius Felix 52-59 C.E. (Hendin 1348) Struck 54 C.E in Jerusalem  Superb example for this coin type, with complete inscriptions on both sides.

 

 

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #10)

Porcius Festus 59-62 C.E. (Hendin 653) Struck year 58 C.E. in Jerusalem Probably the best specimen ever seen for this type. Perfectly centered, struck on an exceptionaly large flan and thus much more complete than usual.

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7. Nabataeans

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #6)

Aretas IV (9 B.C.E.-40 C.E.), Nabataea (Meshorer, Nabataea 98 var.) struck year 19 C.E. in Petra Very rare and important coin type (drachm, 5.20 grams) showing an exceptionally fine portrait of king Aretas IV, maybe the best ever seen (see enlargement at left). On the reverse, the portrait of queen Shaqilat is also excellent. Aretas IV, who was the most powerful neighbour of Judea, is mentionned by Paul in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 11:31-33) and also by Josephus (AJ 18.5.0). His daughter Phasaelis married Herod Antipas (4 BC AD 39), the son of Herod the Great. But when they divorced in around 35 C.E., Antipas took his brother's wife Herodias, mother of Salome. With his family honour shamed, Aretas IV invaded Judean territories along the West Bank in 36-37 C.E., including the areas around Qumran. The beheading of John the Baptist by Antipas occurred about the same time.

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8. First Revolt

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 SOLD (Sale 15, May 2010 #7)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 661) Struck year 67-68 C.E. in Jerusalem Beautifull, well centered and well preserved specimen. The inscription is complete on the obverse and almost complete on the reverse, which is extremely rare. Nice contrast and superb eye appeal

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010) #8   First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 664) struck year 3 of the revolt (68-69 C.E.) in Jerusalem This is, by far, the finest specimen ever seen on the obverse, much better than any plate coin known. In some rare occasions, it is possible to find a prutah of year 2 with a 100% complete inscription, but it is not at all the case for the prutah of year 3, like this one. Why? There might have two reasons: First, the prutah of year 3 is about 3-4 times rarer than the one of year 2. Second, the amphora depicted on the prutah of year 3 is covered by a decorated lid (see enlargement at left) which makes it much higher than the amphora of year 2. Consequently, the size of the engraved surface of the dies of year 3  was probably a bit larger than the dies of year 2. But because both coin types were struck on flans of the same size, the inscription on the prutah of year 3 is always much more partial than on the prutah of year two. On this amazing coin, not only the inscription is 100% complete, but each one of the 7 letters is also complete. Moreover, the strike is strong and the most minute details of the amphora as well as the leaf on the other side are very clear.

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 SOLD (Sale 19, Sep 2010) #7   First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 669 BARBARIC) Struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem  This beautiful specimen with complete patterns and inscriptions on both sides, is much more than the rare, sought-after coin type Hendin 669. It is an exceptional barbaric issue, similar to the specimen owned by the Israel Museum (TJC #213b) and probably cut by the same hand. To date, this specimen is the crudest ever seen for the type. Compared to the regular issues (example at left), the inscription on obverse is complete but the letters are too large and crudely cut with irregular spaces between them. Interestingly the reverse die, also unlisted, is not so crude and has been cut by a more experienced engraver (the letters are smaller and similar to the ones on the regular dies, but the layout of the inscription is different at right and the lulavim are also different than usual, not surrounded by dots). At last, this coin has been struck on a too small flan, that was probably a flan for the smallest denomination of the series, Hendin 670.

This specimen is an interesting illustration of the confusion that reigned in Jerusalem during of the fateful 4th year of the revolt, in 69 C.E.: We have here a mix of two dies cut by two engravers, one more experienced than the other, and the coin has been then struck on a too small flan. At last, if the coins struck by this pair of dies are so rare (unique to date), it is probably because the obverse die has been prematurely ruined by a network of breaks starting from the edges*** (see at left). It is remarkable that, in spite of the relatively small size of the flan, this specimen is perfectly centered and the inscriptions are 100% complete on both sides, which is rarely the case even on the regular issues. It makes this specimen in a much better condition than the other barbaric specimen at the Israel Museum.

*** Such die breaks, starting from the edges, are an indication of dies cut in an unappropriate environment and/or by unskilled workers. On the Yehud coins for example, these breaks are very frequent on the earliest dies cut under the Persian occupation (half of them are affected by breaks!), and much rarer under the Hellenistic period, when the coin fabrication and production became well controled.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #11)

First Jewish Revolt (Hendin 670) Struck year 69-70 C.E. in Jerusalem Superb specimen with a strong strike and complete inscription on both sides. On the obverse, EACH one of the nine pearls of the rim of the chalice is well visible and perfectly detailled and the circle of dots is quasi-complete (extremely rare). On the reverse, the lulav and the two etrogs are also perfectly defined with all the details well visibles. Moreover, this coin has NOT been restored and the earthen deposits are original (click here to see a super-enlarged view of this coin). This coin type is of special interest because it has been struck in Jerusalem during the fateful 4th year of the Jewish war against the Romans, as the city was besieged by the Romans, only one year before the destruction of the 2nd Temple. The terrible and fascinating narration of Josephus gives us a very good idea of how dreadful were the consequences of this siege for the Jerusalemites. At last, this coin type, as the two larger and much rarer denominations in bronze struck on the same year (Hendin 668 & 669) is known as the first siege coin ever struck in the world.

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #12)

Vespasian (69-79 C.E.) Judaea Capta issue (Hendin 759). Struck in Rome in 70 C.E. Fantastic specimen struck on an exceptionally large, round flan. Perfectly centered on both sides (not a single dot misses in the border!) This is, by far, the best example I ever saw for this important coin type commemorating the victory of the Romans over the rebels of the First Jewish Revolt and struck in Rome in 70 C.E., immediately after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the 2nd Temple.

 

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9. Bar Kochba Revolt

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 SOLD (Sale 13, Mar. 2010 #13)

Bar Kochba War (Hendin 677). Struck on 'Year one' (132/133 C.E.) This is the best specimen ever seen for the type. Click here to see enlarged pics, click here to compare with the other specimens known.

 

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 SOLD (Sale 18, Aug. 2010 #10)

Bar Kochba struck on year 1 of the revolt (132-133 C.E.) in Jerusalem (Hendin 681)  Fantastic specimen on both sides, and superb strong strike well showing each fruit of the wine grape and each leaf of the palm tree. The inscriptions are 100% complete on both sides with perfectly defined letters.

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010) #9   Bar Kochba Revolt (Mildenberg 150) struck year 1 of the revolt (132-133 C.E.) This specimen shows a perfectly centered and much better obverse than the plate coin of Mildenberg (#150)

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 SOLD (Sale 21, Nov. 2010 #6)

Bar Kochba Revolt (Mildenberg #102 PLATE COIN) Struck year 134/135 C.E. in Jerusalem  Not only this is the PLATE COIN 102 of Mildenberg, it is also the SINGLE specimen known for this reverse die depicting a palm branch that looks like an ear of wheat (see enlargement at right). This coin is overstruck upon a Trajan-Arabian drachm and interesting remains of the inscription and portrait of Trajan are still visible on the obverse side (see enlargement at left). These traces, however, do not affect the aesthetical qualities of the Bar Kochba patterns.

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 SOLD (Sale 19, Sep 2010) #8   Bar Kochba struck year 3 of the revolt (134-135 C.E.) in Jerusalem (Hendin 736 - Mildenberg 100)  Superb specimen, much better than the Mildenberg's plate coin (#100) struck by the same pair of dies. Complete inscription on obverse (exceptional for the type) and die break well visible at 10:00.

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10. Minima of Caesarea

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 SOLD (Sale 11, Jan. 2010 #10)

Minima of Caesarea - UNLISTED TYPE - Struck 1st Century C.E. in Caesarea This important unlisted type depicts a lion's head facing right on the obverse, which has never been seen before on a Minima of Ceasarea coin. In addition, the amphora on the reverse is much different than the ones generally depicted on these coin types. The lion's head shown here is really amazing because it imitates coin types struck several centuries earlier but that were probably still in circulation in Judaea. The rare little coins called Minima of Caesarea have been made somewhere in Caesarea, in the end of the last decades of the 1st century C.E. There was here a workshop specialized in the production of very small denominations (half a prutah) probably in order to meet a high demand that arose in this city after the end of the Jewish War against the Romans. It is not the first time a lion is depicted on a Judaean coin. In the 4th century B.C.E., a Yehud coin type (Hendin 440) was also showing a roaring lion facing right (click here) but it was a rare type and amazingly, only around 5% of all the specimens struck were showing the lion's head in a good state. On the 95% other coins of this type, the lion's head is very degraded and definitely unrecognizable. So I am not sure this amazing minima of Caesarea be an imitation of this Yehud type. It might be an imitation of earlier Greek coin types that were still in circulation in the Roman world, including Judaea, and also depicting a roaring lion, like several coin types of Lydia, Caria, Sicily, Ionia or Lesbos.

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11. City Coins

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 SOLD (Sale 17, July 2010) #10  City coin of Abila (Spijkerman 15/16) 14.02 gr. Struck year 201 C.E., under Septimius Severus This impressive specimen is one of the rarest city coin types. It is in a fantastic condition on both sides (much better than the plate coin of Spijkerman), with a beautiful natural desert patina. This is a big and heavy coin (diameter = 28 mm., weight = 14.02 grams). Abila was one of the major cities of the Decapolis, and is nowadays one of the most important archaeological sites in Near East (click here: http://www.abila.org/html/history.html)