Denomination: Æ 1/8 Sheqel.
Diameter: 20 mm
Weight: 6.93 g
Obverse: Chalice with pearled rim; Hebrew around (to the redemption of Zion).
L’Geulat Tziyon לגאלת ציון
Reverse: Lulav flanked by an etrog on either side, surrounded by Hebrew (Year Four).
Shnot ‘Arba’ah שנת ארבע
Reference: Hendin 670. AJC II 262, 30.
EX: ALEX G. MALLOY AUCTION XXIV ( 18 March 1988) Lot 273, catalogue description: "AE eighth shekel of 69 AD. Jerusalem. O: Lulav, etrogs & inscr., Hebrew. Rx: Chalice & inscr. in Hebrew. Lower portion not struck up, Nice grade for these. Mesh.163 Hendin GBC 131....VF $175"
In an email from J.P. Fontanille, he stated that this example is the "first time I see this strike error on a year 4 bronze!" (August 2009).
According to David Hendin coins such as this example and others like it were the first "siege coins" ever minted (Guide to Biblical Coins, p. 249)
He goes on to say that "These coins were struck by the Jews beseiged in Jerusalem while the city was surrounded by the Roman army under Titus, not long before the destruction of Jerusalem itself."
As Meshorer writes "In the fourth year of the Jewish War, Jerusalem was also beset by a crisis,...The city's large population (estimated at 500,000-1,000,000) certainly continued to lead their daily lives, despite the difficulties, and holy worship at the Temple also continued in its regular routine, including the offering of sacrifices and the collection of the half-Shekel tribute....the main use of money was for secular needs, and for this purpose it was permissible to deviate and to mint 'ma'ahs of danger' (Jerusalem Talmud, Ma'aser Sheni, 52, 4) i.e., 'emergency coins', bronze substitutes for the silver shekels. They were used for ordinary trade and the leaders of the revolt were the guarantors of their value...." (A Treasury of Jewish Coins, p. 130).
Modern Israeli Coin 5 Agorot (1985-date) modeled exactly on the lulav and etrogim depiction on the First Revolt 1/8 Sheqel coin as illustrated above.