Bar Kochba Revolt

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries late October, early November Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo will offer a robust collection of ancient coins — a variety of ancient coins from a multitude of regions, each with an interesting story. This week’s ancient coin highlight has its origins in fierce Jewish resistance to Roman Imperialism in an all-out revolt. The Jewish-Roman wars occurred over a period of nearly seven decades in the first and second centuries A.D. and resulted in disaster to the Jewish population. The Romans routed the Jewish resistance, razed Jerusalem and the Temple, murdered a large portion of the Jewish population and scattered the survivors. The final period of this bloody struggle was known as the Bar Kochba Revolt. Simon Bar Kosiba, proclaimed by some in the Jewish community as a Messiah, donned the name Bar Kochba, which means “Son of a Star,” and became the commander for the Jewish forces.

As the revolt progressed it became apparent that coinage would need to be struck for use by the Jews. Luckily, there was a readily available source of silver and bronze Roman coins which were over-struck with Jewish images and legends. In some cases, including this piece, portions of the under-coin’s legends are readily attributable. This particular coin was struck during the third (and final) year of the Bar Kochba Revolt, ca. A.D. 134/5. The design for these silver Tetradrachms included depictions of extremely important Jewish religious symbols, with the obverse showing a façade of the Temple of Jerusalem. Inside the temple the famed Ark of the Covenant is shown. “Shimon” or Simon is depicted around the temple. The reverse depicts agricultural symbols significant to the Jewish harvest festival, specifically the lulav (frond of the date palm tree) and the etrog (yellow citron). The legend around this design states “For the freedom of Jerusalem.” This coin represents a significant epoch of Jewish history, and also has an impressive design with tremendous detail. Make sure you keep an eye out for this beauty when the auction goes live.

Look for this and other ancient and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming October/November Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this October at the Stack’s Bowers office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our October/November Baltimore auction is no longer open for consignments, we are currently taking consignments of ancient and world coins for our January 2015 New York International Auction and our inaugural December Macau Showcase Auction of Asian Coins and Currency. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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