Ancient Judean shekel nets $1.1 million at auction

JTA

JERUSALEM — An ancient Judean shekel coin was sold at auction for $1.1 million.

The coin, the first silver shekel struck in Jerusalem by Jewish forces rebelling against the Romans in the first century, was purchased by an unidentified private collector on March 8 at Heritage Auctions in New York City. Its pre-auction estimated value was $950,000; the auction house told the Associated Press that it is the highest price ever paid at auction for a Judean coin.

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The coin, called a Year 1 prototype, was minted in the year 66 AD. The words “A shekel of Israel made in Year 1” is printed on the front of the coin, and “Jerusalem the holy” on the back. The only other coin of its kind known to exist is housed at the Israel Museum, the New York Post reported. 

The coin was part of the auction of The Shoshana Collection of Ancient Coins of Judea, made up of 2,200 ancient Judean coins assembled over 40 years by a private Los Angeles collector. The Year 1 prototype coin was purchased 20 years ago for $240,000.

The collection, which will be auctioned over the course of the next year, is regarded as the greatest assembly of ancient coins related to the foundation of ancient Israel ever offered, spanning more than 11 centuries, according to Artdaily.org. It is expected to bring in about $10 million.