The first silver shekel struck in Jerusalem by Jewish forces rebelling against Roman oppression in the first century CE, one of only two specimens known, will be offered as part of The Shoshana Collection of Ancient Judean Coins on March 8-9, 2012. This auction will take place at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (Ukrainian Institute of America) at 2 East 79th St (at 5th Ave.) in New York. A special preview event will also take place at the Cavendish Hotel in St. James, London, in conjunction with the London Coin Fair, February 8-11.
The Shoshana Collection, assembled over the course of four decades by a diligent collector of Judean coins, is perhaps the greatest assembly of ancient coins related to the foundation of ancient Israel ever offered, with more than 2,300 coins spanning more than 11 centuries. Auction estimates on the coins range from $200 to $750,000.
“This Year 1 silver shekel, struck shortly after the Jewish War began in May of 66 CE, is the prototype for all subsequent Judean shekels,” said Cris Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “Only a handful of coins were struck from this first set of dies before the design was radically changed. Only two ‘prototypes’ have survived to the present day, with the only other known specimen in the Israel Museum’s collection.”
All the more than 2,300 coins in this collection are beautiful examples of their respective types, and combined with their historical value, visitors can get a sense of just how special they are and prepare to bid on the at auction in March.
Other highlights in the auction are the only known surviving silver quarter-shekel of Year 1 (May 66-March 67 CE) in existence, a silver shekel of Year 5 (April-August 70 CE), pedigreed to the famous Nelson Bunker Hunt collection and reportedly found at the mountaintop fortress of Masada, one of the most holy Jewish pilgrimage sites, and an incredibly rare gold aureus of Titus as Caesar (69-79 CE), struck at an Eastern mint in 69 CE, likely Tyre, anticipating the subjugation of Judaea, which the Romans achieved with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
“Numismatists, history buffs and aficionados of fine Judaica alike are all invited to bid in this auction,” said Bierrenbach. “Anyone wanting or hoping to acquire one of these historic pieces should make plans to be in New York in early March, or get your bids in online now before the event.”