The Holy Half Shekel and
The Holy Shekel and
After much effort, we have succeeded in minting museum quality reproductions of the shekel and half shekel which were originally minted in the last five years that the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) was standing (65-70 CE) (the First Revolt), the shekel of Bar Kochva (131-135 CE) and the Zuzim (quarter Shekel).
First Revolt Shekel and Half Shekel
On the obverse (front) of
the coin is a cup. Many numismatists suggest that it is a depiction of a cup
used to collect the Omer barley (Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:10). On the shekel it says in ancient Hebrew
letters: Shekel Yisroel (Shekel of Israel). On the half shekel it says Chatzi
Hashekel (half of a shekel). Over the cup is the date. The half shekel says
shin beit which stands for shana beit (year two). This corresponds to 66-67
c.e. or 3827 a.m. The shekel says shin hay which stands for shana hey (year
five) which was the last year that the Beit HaMikdash (
On the reverse, there are
three pomegranates, one of the special fruits of the
These museum quality hand minted reproductions contain one half ounce and one quarter ounce respectively of .999 silver.
Originals of these coins sell for thousands of dollars.
Bar Kochva Shekel (also called Sela)
On the obverse (front) is a
depiction of the
On the reverse (back) is a depiction of a lulav and ethrog (palm branch and citron, used on the Festival of Sukkoth (Feast of Booths) (Vayikra – Levitcus 23:40). The inscription, in ancient Hebrew letters, says For the Freedom of Israel.
These museum quality hand minted reproductions contain one half ounce of .999 silver.
A zuz is one quarter of a shekel. The zuz is made famous by its significant position in the refrain of the last song sung at the Pesach Seder (Passover festive service and meal) which talks about the “one goat which my father bought for two zuzim”.
There were two different obverses and five different reverses, making a total of ten basic types.
The two obverses are a bunch
of grapes (one of the fruits for which the Land of
The five reverses are:
Narrow Lyre or Harp (sometimes referred to as Kithara) and in Hebrew as Kinnor
Wide Lyre or Harp called Nevel in Hebrew
Palm Branch one of the four plants used in the Sukkoth (Feast of Booths) ritual (Vayikra – Levitcus 23:40)
Pitcher together with Palm Branches. Probably the Pitcher is the kind used to pour the wine offerings on the Mizbe’ach (Altar).
Trumpets called Hatzotzeroth
in Hebrew. The Trumpets were used to call marching orders in the desert
wanderings and in time of war, and were also used in the
Each of our museum quality, hand minted zuzim contains one eighth ounce of .999 silver.
So far, we have produced four of the zuzim types, both obverses with the palm branch reverse and with the pitcher and palm branch reverse.
We are hoping to have all ten types available by mid-December 2007.
Each coin was minted by hand using a 32 pound (14.5 kilogram) drop hammer. Since each coin was hammered by hand, each one is unique, just like original ancient coins.
The dies were cut by hand, using ancient style tools.
The shekel contains ½ troy ounce (15.55+ grams) of pure (.999) silver. The half shekel contains ¼ ounce (7.775+ grams) of pure (.999) silver. And the zuzim contain 1/8 ounce (3.88+ grams) of pure (.999) silver. We have also minted a very small number of shekels and half shekels in pure (.9999) gold (one half and one quarter ounce respectively). (No original shekels in gold were ever found.)
These coins were produced for us by Charles Larson, author of the book “Numismatic Forgeries” (www.coinsmith.com). Each Shekel and Half Shekel reproduction has Mr. larsons initials on the edge so that it won’t be mistaken for an original coin. These are ancient style coins on irregular, hand made flans, but have not been artificial toned or colored or aged. This means that they look like brand new ancient coins.
These are available for purchase as follows:
Silver Shekel………………….….$36 (US) or 36 Euros or 180 N.I.S.
Silver Half Shekel…………….….$26 (US) or 26 Euros or 130 N.I.S.
Gold Half Shekel…….….….$400 (US) or 400 Euros or 1600 N.I.S.
Gold Shekel……………...….$800 (US) or 800 Euros or 3200 N.I.S.
Silver Zuzim (specify type)…..$13 (US) or 13 Euros or 50 N.I.S.
There will also be a shipping, handling and insurance charge for each coin. Go the catalog page to purchase these coins.