Rare Silver 2000-Year-Old Coin Discovered by Child

Dr. Robert Kool holds the rare silver coin. (Yaniv Berman, City of David and the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday the find of a rare coin.

The shekel made of pure silver that was used for trade in Yerushalayim about 2,000 years ago, was discovered by an 11-year-old girl who came with her family to the “archeological experience” operated by the City of David together with the National Parks Authority in the Emek Tzurim Sifting Project in Yerushalayim.

Scholars believe that the coin unearthed was extracted from the many silver reserves kept in the Second Beis HaMikdash and was probably minted by one of the Kohanim, who joined forces with the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans, shortly before the Churban.

The coin weighs about 14 grams. On one side is an inscription of a cup with the caption: “Israeli shekel” and next to the cup are the letters: ש”ב – shorthand for “second year” – the second year of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans (67-68 CE). On the other side of the coin is an inscription identified by scholars as the headquarters of Kohen Gadol, and next to it appears “Holy Yerushalayim.”

According to Dr. Robert Kool, Head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is a rare find, since out of many thousands of coins discovered to date in archeological excavations, only about 30 coins are coins made of silver, from the period of the Great Revolt.”

According to archaeologist Ari Levy, Director of the Excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This street, which connected the Siloam Pool in the south of the City of David to the Har HaBayis in the north, was Yerushalayim’s main street during the Second Beis HaMikdash period, when thousands of pilgrims marched on their way to the Temple. There is no doubt that there would have been extensive trading here. This is evidenced by the many weights and bronze coins we have found here. But to find a rebel coin made of pure silver is definitely very special and exciting.”

The coin, which was sent to the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority, underwent a chemical process for cleaning, and recently, upon completion of the process, the significance of the find became clear.

The rare coin will be presented to the public during Chanukah at Emek Tzurim National Park in Yerushalayim at the City of David and the National Parks Authority.