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Shekels of Tyre in Heritage sale

Heritage Auctions announced it will sell a unique collection of 38 ancient silver coins, all struck in consecutive years spanning the lifetime of Jesus Christ.

One of the 38 Shekels of Tyre featured in the sale.

One of the 38 shekels of Tyre featured in the sale.

These coins will go on the block during the firm’s Jan. 4-5, 2015, auction at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

The collection consists of 38 shekels of Tyre, the main silver coin used in ancient Judaea.

Assembled by noted numismatic scholar and author Frank L. Kovacs of Corte Madera, Calif., over a quarter century, the shekels of Tyre will be offered as a single lot of 38 coins. The entire collection is expected to bring more than $150,000.

“We are calling it ‘The Collection of a Lifetime’ for good reason,” said David Michaels, director of Ancient Coins for Heritage.

“To our knowledge, a set like this has never been put together before, and could not be duplicated at present because one of the 2,000-year old coins is the only surviving example of its kind known today.”

Each shekel contains about 14 grams of silver and is about 27mm in diameter. The obverse depicts a laureate head of Phoenician god Melqart, whose name means “king of the city (Tyre),” their version of the Greek Herakles.

The reverse depicts an eagle standing on a ship’s prow. “Since the Kingdom of Judaea did not at the time have a silver coinage of its own, the shekel of Tyre became the main coin of the realm,” Michaels said.

“The authorities at the great Temple in Jerusalem would only accept Tyrian shekels as payment of the tithe or temple tax due to their consistent weight and purity.”

Also in the sale will be several distinct collections of coins spanning more than 2,000 years.

Among them is the Santa Catarina Collection of 30 Brazilian coins including Joao V gold 6400 reis 1732-B, one of only two known for this date and the finest available example of the entire type. The estimate for this gold coin is $150,000+.

For more information, visit www.HA.com/coins.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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