A magnificent gold
Aureus of the Roman Emperor Macrinus, dated to 218 AD shattered
pre-auction expectations, selling for $203,150 against a $40,000
estimate as a part of Heritage's auction of the Shoshana
Collection of Judaean Coins, Part 2. Overall, this auction, held
September 5 in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles
Expo, brought prices in excess of $1.5 million, with post-auction buys
continuing. All prices include a 19.5% Buyer's Premium.
Though the gold Aureus of Macrinus is not strictly speaking a
Judaean-related coin, Macrinus’ reign took place entirely in the
neighboring province of Syria. He assumed power after arranging for
the murder of the hated previous emperor Caracalla. His reign was
brief, lasting slightly over a year before he lost the support of the
military and was executed. Gold coins of Macrinus are exceedingly
rare, and this is a magnificent example, struck in high relief from
dies of fine style and fully lustrous, grading choice extremely fine.
year 4 silver shekel from the Jewish War (66-70 AD) sold for
$65,725, more than doubling its pre-auction estimate of $30,000.
Production of silver coins at the Jerusalem Temple appears to have
dropped sharply in the fourth year of the Jewish War when supplies of
precious metal dried up. While the number of recorded specimens for
the first three years number in the hundreds, only 40 shekels are
known from Year 4. The Shoshana Collection includes three year 4
shekels which number among the finest surviving examples. Two of these
coins were offered in this auction, the
other realizing $26,887.
prutah from Mattatayah Antigonus (40 - 37 BC), featuring one of
the very few surviving images of the menorah of the second Jerusalem
temple, also exceeded pre-auction expectations by selling for $56,762.
At the time this coin was struck, the menorah and table were specific
references to the Jerusalem Temple itself. It was only much later,
after the Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD that the use of the
menorah as a symbol was expanded, and by the 4th-5th centuries AD the
menorah had become a widely used symbol of Judaism itself, used on
rings, seals, oil lamps, and synagogue decorations.
Silver selas from the 132-135 AD Bar Kokhba revolt proved very
popular, as three such coins from the first year of the revolt crossed
the auction block for prices exceeding $40,000. A superb
example realized $59,750, while two examples grading Extremely
Fine sold for $47,800 and $41,825 respectively.
These rare coins are notable for their depiction of the holy ark
within the Jerusalem temple.
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