Published: March 13, 2012
The first silver shekel struck in Jerusalem by Jewish forces rebelling against the Roman Empire in the first century CE, one of only two specimens known, brought a world record price of $1,105,375, including the buyer’s premium, at Heritage Auctions on Thursday, March 8, as part of the auction of the Shoshana Collection of Ancient Coins of Judea. The coin sold to an anonymous East Coast collector.
“This Year 1 silver shekel, struck shortly after the Jewish war began in May of 66 CE, is an incredible piece of history,” said Cris Bierrenbach, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions. “This is literally one of the very first coins the Jewish rebels struck after they ousted the Romans from Jerusalem, sending shockwaves through the empire. That history, as evidenced by the spirited bidding and the price realized, obviously continues to resonate today, more than 2,000 years later.”
The Shoshana Collection, assembled over the course of four decades by an American collector, is an assembly of ancient coins related to the foundation of ancient Israel spanning more than 11 centuries. Consisting of more than 2,200 coins in total, Heritage expects the collection to realize more than $10 million over multiple auctions this year, the first of which began last week.
Other highlights from the collection included the only known surviving silver quarter-shekel of Year 1 (May 66⁍arch 67 CE) in existence, which brought $896,250; a silver shekel of Year 5 (April⁁ugust 70 CE), pedigreed to the famous Nelson Bunker Hunt collection and found at the mountaintop fortress of Masada, realized $262,900.
A full review of the auction will appear in a future edition.
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