80-79 BC Greek Silver Shekel of Tyre NGC Choice XF

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A Very Rare Greek Silver Shekel of Tyre!

  • Minted -- Tyre, 80/79 BC
  • Grade -- NGC Choice Extremely Fine (CH XF), Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5, "Light Scratches"    
  • Obverse -- Bust of the god of Tyre, Melquarth, facing right
  • Reverse -- Eagle standing left on prow; palm frond in background; to left, ZM (date) above club; Δ to right, Phoenician B between legs
  • Legend -- In Greek, TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (Holy and inviolable Tyre)
  • Diameter -- 29 mm

From the desk of GovMint.com’s resident ancient coin expert, David Levine:

  • A very rare variety -- in a search of all of the over 1,660 major ancient coin auctions of the past 16 years, only seven other coins of this year and type were sold.
  • This coin is from the Eric Engstrom Collection.
  • The Shekel of Tyre coin is featured on the cover of "Money of the Bible." It is the coin that is most mentioned in the Bible and is sometimes translated as "pieces of silver."
  • This is the main silver coin used in Judea during the time of the Temple and the New Testament. It is the coin that is linked to all of the New Testament stories, including the "30 pieces of silver" -- the coin Jesus took from the mouth of the fish.
  • In addition, this is the only coin that was recognized by the Temple authorities for paying the yearly Half Shekel Tithe.
  • This particular example is one of the early coins minted in Tyre.
  • When the Greeks stopped minting coins made of pure silver, there were no coins available for use in the Temple. The Jews got permission to mint their own coins in Jerusalem which had the correct silver content, but only on condition that they minted the coins to look as if they were minted in Tyre. Otherwise, it would look as if Tyre had lost power and that the Jews were sovereign in Jerusalem.
  • The two types of Shekel of Tyre coins look exactly alike except that the coins minted in Jerusalem had the Greek letters Kappa Rho, which is the first two letters of Krotoi, meaning "with the permission of."
Composition Silver
Grade Choice-XF
Dimensions 29mm
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