The biblical story of Elijah ascending to Heaven in a whirlwind,
already appearing on canvas, woodcuts, mosaics, and stained glass, is
now being told on coins.
The Israel Coin and Medals Corp., or Israel Mint, has issued four
coins, two struck in silver and two in gold, sharing the same designs
as part of Israel’s long-running “Biblical Art” coin series, which
began in 1994.
The story is mentioned in 2 Kings 2:10-11: “… behold, there
appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both
asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
As the Bible story records, Elijah was weary of his persistent and
unsuccessful efforts to correct the ways of the people. He understood
that his role as a prophet would soon end, that he would depart this
world, and that his disciple Elisha would take over his mission.
Elisha refused to accept that his beloved master was to leave him
and the parting between the two, as they walked and talked together,
is an integral component of the dramatic scene described in the Bible.
As Elisha saw Elijah carried off, he cried: “My father, my father …
And he saw him no more and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent
them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell
from him. …” (2 Kings, 2:12-13).
Artist Yaacov Enyedi created a dramatic rendering of the biblical
scene, which was then engraved by Tidhar Dagan.
The obverse bears the coin’s face value, “Israel” in English,
Hebrew and Arabic, the dates 2011/5722, and a biblical inscription in
English and Arabic around the border, and at the upper right, in
Hebrew in artistic letters resembling flames within a whirlwind. The
state emblem is at top center.
The reverse shows Elijah going up to the heavens in the chariot of
fire drawn by horses of fire. Below left is Elisha, appearing shocked
at the sight of Elijah’s departure.
Both silver versions are composed of .925 fine silver. The
prooflike 1-new-Israeli-shekel coin weighs 14.4 grams, measures 30
millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 1,800 pieces. The
Proof 2-shekel coin weighs 28.8 grams, measures 38.7 millimeters in
diameter and has a mintage of 2,800 pieces.
The gold coins are struck from two different finenesses. A .999
fine gold 1-shekel coin weighs 1.244 grams, measures 13.92 millimeters
and has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces. A .917 fine gold 10-shekel
coin weighs 16.96 grams, measures 30 millimeters in diameter and has a
mintage limit of 555 pieces.
All four coins are offered singly, plus two sets are offered. Both
silver coins are offered in one set, and the two silver coins and
larger gold coin are offered in a second, three-coin set.
Pricing changes daily. Current pricing is available at www.israelmint.com/en or by
telephone in the United States at 888-421-1866.
As of Jan. 9, the prooflike silver 1-shekel coin cost $96, the
Proof silver 2-shekel piece was priced at $148 and the two-coin silver
set was priced at $236. The small gold coin costs $208 and the Proof
gold 10-NIS coin costs $1,775. The three-coin set costs $1,997. All
orders should include $25 to cover insured international shipping and handling.
For more information on all the coin and medal issues of Israel or
to order online visit the Israel Mint’s website.
Alternatively, to order by phone or to receive more information
about Israel’s coins and medals, telephone the ICMC toll free at
888-421-1866, email it at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write
ICMC, P.O. Box 2040, Nesher 36680, Israel. ■