World Coins

Book explores coinage of Holy Land

A new book from expert David Hendin explores the intersecting coinage from the Holy Land.

Cultural Change: Jewish, Christian and Islamic Coins of the Holy Land was published recently as an adjunct to an exhibit of the same name at the New York Federal Reserve that ended in February 2012. That exhibit and the book were produced in cooperation with the American Numismatic Society.

The exhibit and book are based on coins donated to the ANS by Abraham D. and Marion Sofaer. Sofaer has collected Holy Land coins for more than 30 years. Travels in his service as legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State under secretaries of state George P. Schultz and James A. Baker III gave him access to Israeli dealers, collectors and researchers.

Coins from the Sofaer Collection have been donated both to the ANS and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Coins of ancient Judaea, Samaria, the Galilee, Trans-Jordan and some nearby lands are considered under the umbrella of “the Holy Land.” The book chronologically discusses the coins of the Jews, coins used by Jesus during his life, the rise of Christianity as a state-sponsored religion in Rome, Islamic coins minted in the area and coins of Crusader Jerusalem.

All coins are illustrated in full color, with explanatory text, illustrations of related material and maps.

The volume serves as an introduction to the coinage of the Holy Land, as well as providing a history of the region from the fourth century B.C. to Crusader times, illustrated by the coinage that was produced in the region. As such, it contains some of the earliest Jewish coins, as well as the earliest to bear overtly Christian symbolism.

The coins that were contained in the exhibit were often the finest examples of their kind in existence and these are shown in the book, according to the ANS. The book also includes a family tree for the Maccabees and Herodians, and a bibliography for further study.

The 128-page softcover book serves as an introduction to the overall topics; a comprehensive work “would require far more space,” according to Hendin in the introduction.

The book is published at $40 with a reduced rate of $28 for ANS members. A limited number of signed and numbered books are available for $40. Shipping and handling is an additional charge per order.

For more information, write to the ANS at 75 Varick St., 11th Fl., New York, NY 10013, telephone the ANS at (212) 571-4470, email it at or visit the ANS online store at ¦

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