This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
An exhibit organized by the American Numismatic Society in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York titled “Cultural Change: Coins of the Holy Land” is on view at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It opened May 6.
Most of the coins on display are from the collection of Abraham and Marian D. Scheuer Sofaer. During more than three decades of assembling their collection, the Sofaers acquired a multi-cultural representation of coins that includes ancient Jewish coins, Christian coins of the Byzantine and Crusader periods, and Islamic coins minted in the area.
The scope of the collection ranges from the fifth century B.C. to the 13th century and includes some of the greatest rarities struck in Jerusalem and throughout the region, according to the society.
On display are more than 300 coins and objects that illustrate topics such as Christian and Jewish symbols, coins and Jesus, the Jewish Wars, the Arab tradition of coinage, as well as Byzantine and Crusader coinages. In particular, the coins of Jerusalem illustrate how different people tried to claim the city by giving different names– in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Arabic – or symbols to the Holy City.
“These coins represent a geographic area that is unique in the totality of its cultural and ideological variety and significance,” said Abraham Sofaer.
Last year Sofaer and his wife, Marian, donated a significant part of their collections to the American Numismatic Society and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
“It is rare to find a collection of such intellectual breadth and historical importance,” said Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, ANS executive director.
The exhibit is curated by David Hendin, ANS adjunct curator.
It is open for viewing 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will run until Dec. 31.
For more information, contact the ANS at (212) 571-4470, or visit www.numismatics.org.