An American collector paid $1.1 million for an ancient Judean coin at an auction in New York earlier this month. The silver shekel, dated to the first year of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66 C.E.), is one of only two coins known to have been struck as prototypes for all later Judean coins; the other is on display in the Israel Museum. This is the highest price ever paid for a Judean coin.
The shekel was minted as a declaration of sovereignty just after the start of the revolt in the summer of 66 C.E. In addition to showing the letter aleph, which dates the coin to the first year of the revolt, it is decorated with inscriptions relating to Jewish independence, including the phrases “Jerusalem is holy” and “shekel of Israel.” Other decorations include a Temple vessel as well as three pomegranates surrounded by a border of dots.