Judea; Second Revolt CE 132-135

AR Zuz, 19 mm, 3.46 g. undated but acknowledged as "Year 3" CE 134-135
Hendin 734, Meshorer 274b, SNG VI: 561-565v, Mildenberg 183 this coin.
overstruck on an uncertain drachm or denarius.

O: bunch of grapes, Hebrew inscription "Shim'on"
R: 3 string Kinor with Hebrew inscription "L'Herut Yerushalem"

Ex: Beit Mirsim Hoard (Israel) 1973-1974

ex: Leu AG stock 1973, 3.46 [the gram wt.] (Switzerland)

Mildenberg 183 plate coin (1984)

Ex: Bromberg II, 524 (this coin) Superior Galleries (10 December 1992) according to the prices realized this coin brought $357.50+10% in this auction. It's interesting to note that similar coins without the detailed provenance are now fetching nearly 300%+ or more these days. I suspect that this would likely be priced similarly considering where the market is presently.

Acquisition: 2007

Tantalus ID#35523

On August 4, 2007, David Hendin wrote that this is "...quite a nice coin, " but when asked about rarity, he suggested that I take a look at Leo Mildenberg's The Coinage of the Bar Kokhba War (Typos VI; 1984). I then requested a copy from the Library.

While reviewing the copy, I came across the plate that pertained to this particular type of coin namely Mildenberg 172-186. When I looked at the photo for Mildenberg 183 (actually 183.7), I was utterly astonished. It was indeed the same coin. I compared photographs, then the coin to the plate, then enlarged the plate photo, comparing various points of reference. To me, all points of reference matched. I then contacted David Hendin again, and provided him with the photo that appears above and then an enlargement of Mildenberg 183 for comparison. He wrote back to say "i'd say that's a match". (cf. enlargement of Mildenberg 183 below) Mildenberg noted only 15 coins from these same dies:

The next question that arose was, now that it is identified as a Mildenberg plate coin, how did Mildenberg come by it. According to the notes adjacent to 183.7 (this coin) is that it was in the stock of Leu AG, Zurich 1973, 3.46 [the gram wt. , which was confirmed when I weighed the coin upon receipt]. More importantly, it was noted as Ex: Beit Mirsim.

In early 2009, I was able to purchase a set of the catalogues from the Abraham Bromberg Collection, on a hunch that based upon the fact that this coin had been a Mildenberg plate coin, and that it was in superb condition, I had a suspicion that this coin was perhaps a part of the Bromberg Collection on that basis alone. The hunch proved correct as the coin was in fact Bromberg II, 524 though apparently wrongly identified in the catalogue as El Fawar Hoard.

Mildenberg listed Beit Mirsim as Hoard #19 from among the 29 hoards noted from 1889-1982 (pp. 54-57). Regarding Beit Mirsim, which I suspect has a deposition of circa CE 135 at the latest, Mildenberg writes (p. 56):

"Beit Mirsim 1973/1974, In the Hebron hills, about 17 km SSW of Idna. During December 1973 through January 1974. At least 100 Bar Kokhba silver coins (tetradrachms and denarii) and some bronzes together with Roman issues: 1 aureus of Vespasian, about 100 denarii from Vespasian to Trajan including 1 Julia Titi, 30 Hadrianic denarii, 150 Syrian tetradrachms and a few tridrachms from Caesarea Cappadociae. (Nearly all the Trajanic drachms were of the Arabia type with the camel.)"

According to Carta's Official Guide To Israel (1983) Beit Mirsim is an "Arab village on border of Hebron Hills and Judean Foothills. Pop.: 200. Nearby is Tell Beit Mirsim."

Under the reference for Tel Bet Mirsham (Tell Beit Mirsim) Carta's Guide notes "Ancient settlement ruin 20 km. SW of Hebron, alongside village of Beit Mirsim. Excavations uncovered remains of Iron Age walled city built over remains of even older towns from Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, and Late Bronze Ages."

A Google Earth Map showing location of Beit Mirsim/Bet Mirsham :

Town underlined in yellow is site of Beit Mirsim where this coin was found in a hoard in 1973-74.

Coins of Modern Israel influenced by the illustrated coin of Bar Kokhba. On the left is a 25 prutah utilizing the bunch of grapes motif. This coin was currency from 1950-1980. On the right is a 25 agorot utilizing the 3-string Kinor motif from the same coin. This coin was currency from 1960-1980.

Meshorer writes about the musical instruments depicted on the Bar Kokhba coins thusly, that the musical instruments "...express his yearning for the rebuilding of the Temple and the renewal of ritual. The musical instruments symbolize prayers in the Temple, which were carried out on musical instruments played by the Levites, the Temple's bards. The singing of Psalms in the Temple was accompanied by musical instruments, and the anticipated dedication of the new Temple would have been celebrated with the Levite's instruments."

Meshorer A Treasury of Jewish Coins, page 148.

photo adapted from one appearing at www.moneymuseum.com, a recommended site.

Boscoreale Fresco showing woman playing a kithara (Collection of MMA)