The following is a press release from Heritage
The 2015 New York International Platinum Night will include a unique collection of 38 ancient silver coins, all struck in consecutive years spanning the lifetime of Jesus of Nazareth. "We are calling it 'The Collection of a Lifetime'
for good reason," said David Michaels, Director of Ancient Coins for Heritage
. "To our knowledge, a set like this has never been put together before, and could not be duplicated at present. Furthermore, the coins span the birth, ministry and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and circulated in the Holy Land, where he and his Apostles lived."
The collection of 38 shekels of Tyre, the main silver coin used in ancient Judaea, was assembled by noted numismatist Frank L. Kovacs of Corte Madera, California, over about a 25-year period. Heritage
will offer The Collection of a Lifetime as a single lot of 38 coins, said Michaels. "It's great historical value lies in the completeness of the group â€" a series of coins minted in consecutive years between 5-4 BCE, the most likely year for the birth of Jesus, and 33-34 CE, believed to be the year of the Crucifixion."
Tyre, an important trade city on the Phoenician coast (now in Lebanon), began striking silver shekels after it won its independence from Greek rule in 126 BC, Michaels said. The shekels in the 'Lifetime' collection start with Year 122 (5/4 BCE) and conclude with Year 159 (33/4 CE). Since the Kingdom of Judaea did not at the time have a silver coinage of its own, the shekel of Tyre became the main coin of the realm, Michaels said. "The authorities at the great Temple in Jerusalem would only accept Tyrian shekels as payment of the tithe or temple tax due to their consistent weight and purity."
"These shekels feature prominently in many Gospel accounts," Michaels said, "most notably the scene in which Judas betrays Jesus and receives 30 pieces of silver in payment. These were certainly shekels of Tyre." In another scene (Matthew 17:24-27), Jesus plucks a shekel from the mouth of a fish to pay his Temple tax. "The famous incident where Jesus attacks the money changers in the Temple courtyard likely resulted in many silver shekels flying about," he added.
Assembling a consecutive date range spanning the life of Jesus took more than 25 years, Kovacs said. "I was fortunate to be able to see many large groups of shekels and was able to locate many dates that were previously unrecorded, or thought to be unique, with the single known specimen in a museum or private collection somewhere. In fact, as far as I can determine with all my research, one coin in the collection, dated Year 154 (28/29 CE), is the only one known to exist." Kovacs had the help of several colleagues in locating rare or scarce dates, notably Edward E. Cohen, author of "Dated Coins of Antiquity," an important reference on the series.
"These were coins that circulated widely in the Holy Land during momentous events in history, from the standpoint of Western Civilization and several world religions," Michaels said. "We are very gratified Frank chose Heritage
to bring this collection to market, as the opportunity of a lifetime for another collector."
The Collection of a Lifetime
will be offered as part of Heritage
's Platinum Night Auction
the evening of Monday, January 5, 2015, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention.