1-Shekel = 1 Tetradrachm = 1/30 of a Messiah or did I get snookered?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Collect89, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    We were shopping around the coin bourse Sunday & this shekel of Tyre spoke to me. It is now making friends with the other ancient coins in my collection. :)

    Shekel of Tyre Reverse 1.jpg
    Shekel of Tyre Obverse 1.jpg
    Tyre, Phoenicia
    AR Tetradrachm (Shekel)
    ca. 103-102 B.C.

    Obv: Melqarth Head right with lion skin knotted around neck.
    Rev: Eagle perched left. ΔK (=103-102 BC) over club to left and HΠΔ monogram to right. TYΡOY IEΡAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY.
    Grade: a EF with nice fabric & struck only slightly off-center causing (TYΡOY) IEΡAΣ to run off the flan.
    Other: S-5918-20

    Please post ‘em if you got ‘em.
    Let’s see a pile-on of betrayal shekels.

    BTW, here is a cool thread discussing the authentication of the betrayal shekel:

    IMHO, the betrayal shekel has become one of the World’s most over-priced ancient coins & it is also one of the most counterfeited. Since it is so profitable to counterfeit, there are apparently lots of really well-made counterfeits.

    Do you folks think I stumbled across a good example or did I get snookered? I did buy it from a substancially well-known dealer so my coin comes with a warm-fuzzy guaranty of being genuine. There is so much profit to be made counterfeiting the “betrayal shekel” that the best counterfeiter could certainly fool me. I’d just like to get all your eyes on this coin & hear your opinions (while I continue to look for a match on the counterfeit lists.......).
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  3. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    A terrible fake....so send it over to me and let me quickly take it off your hands....free of charge. :p

    That's how selfless I am. You can trust me, honestly. :troll:
    philologus_1 likes this.
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Roma Invicta

    Nice pick-up. Looks OK to me. Maybe it was one of the 30 pieces of silver. Now that's a provenance!
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..looks legit to me...love the flow lines in it...:)
  6. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Nice pick up!

    I have a "Jerusalem" mint shekel and a Tyrian half shekel below:


    Laureate bust of Melkart right

    ΤΥΡΟΥ ΙΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΣΥΛΟΥ (of Tyre the holy and inviolable)
    Eagle standing left on prow; palm over shoulder, club to the left, flanked by date LM (40) and monogram ΔP to the right.

    Tyre; Year 40= 87/86 BC

    Sear 5921; BMC 225

    Ex-HJB Buy or Bid Sale 206, lot 103 (Nov 15, 2018); Ex-Calgary Coin

    Removed from NGC holder prior to HJB.
    NGC graded Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5; NGC 4278263-010

    I also wrote a numiswiki article here:

    http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Temple Tax
  7. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Jay GT4 likes this.
  8. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Great coin! Well done.

    A question, what are the views on the criteria for such a coin? I have read the article, but it's just a viewpoint. There is no way to definitively know exactly what coins were paid to Judas.

    Does it have to be Tyre? What about Antioch?

    Could it be Ptolemaic? Or what about an Attica tetradrachm from 250 BC or beyond?

    Speaking of which, what is the date range? We know tetradrachms circulated for hundred(s) of years after minting. So is 250 BC the cut off? Or 200, 150, or 100?

    At the end of the day, the Temple cared most about the purity and weight, as opposed to a design or date.

    Or is it in the eye of the purchaser?

    I suspect mainly the latter, but I am curious to hear views on this.

    * Edited as I expand my thoughts and questions on this
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Collect89, Nice score on your Shekel ;)! Despite the huge number of fake "Betrayal Shekels" your coin looks good from the photos. What is the weight of your coin ? The 1st "Betrayal Shekel" in my collection was bought from Harlan Berk over 10 years ago at a very reasonable price, see photos below. What sold me on the coin was the attractive high relief portrait of Melkart. The short comings of the coin are obvious: it's a small, irregular planchet, it has bumps on the thin side of the planchet, & it's been over-cleaned :(. A number of collectors who saw the coin thought it was fake :confused:. I felt confident the coin was good, especially coming from Harlan Berk. Never the less, I did upgrade, sent this coin to NGC for slabbing & put the coin in a Heritage auction 7 years ago. The coin sold for $805.00 :D.

    NGC 2407594-007 obv..jpg NGC 2407594-007 rev..jpg
  10. Ancientnoob

    Ancientnoob Money Changer

    Truly a wonderful example. I am absolutely jelly. I would like to call it fake and offer to dispose of it. Having seen it in person it is certainly not a fake but I will gladly dispose of it for you anyways. Free of charge.
    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  11. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    My new coin in the opening post weighs 14.29 grams.
    Please post ‘em if you got ‘em.
    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  12. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I, too have wondered about that, along with Tribute Penny of the New Testament being pretty much accepted as that of Tiberius. I don't think a Ptolemaic tetradrachma of that period would have passed muster because, though the weight of such a coin was similar to that of Tyre, the Ptolemies were quick to change the fineness of the silver to suit the changing fortunes of the dynasty. I have thought, though, that the earlier tetradrachmas of Syria would have been accepted as both similar in weight and fineness as those of Tyre. Yes, Judaism frowned on using coins with the image of a person on coinage but if they could swallow their scruples by accepting coins with a pagan god, I think they could have put up with a few dead rulers. Also the Seleucids, at times, did control the mint at Tyre and the reverse of these tetradrachmas is very similar to the shekels presumed to be those paid out to Judas Iscariot and a king like this one, Demetrios II looks a good deal like Melkart.

    Take a look at this overly cleaned, well worn, and partially corroded tetradrachma of Demetrious II from circa 130BC. Its weight is just over 13 grams, minted on the Phoenician standard. On the reverse is that ubiquitous fierce eagle, the letters Alpha Sigma, and Beta Pi (?) to the right, some kind of combination of letters between the eagle's legs, the club of Heracles to the left of the eagle's leg and above it a piece of corrosion when the mint mark would have been. Try looking at Sear's 7105 for an image of how it would have looked. Could such a coin been one of those thirty pieces? I think very possibly so and thinking of what the high priests were paying for and what they may have thought of Judas, perhaps just the right coin for the occasion. IMG_0975[3637]shekel obv.jpg IMG_0976[3635]shekel rev.jpg
  13. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Good questions you pose.
  14. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that link you posted.
  15. lehmansterms

    lehmansterms Many view intelligence as a hideous deformity

    If you're calling for examples:
    Compare to Demetrius II:
    The combination of Melqart, eagle and club was such a well-known and preferred "brand" that almost a century later than the latest Tyrian shekels, we have Trajan (98-117 AD. ) minting this somewhat debased tetradrachm/shekel/cistophorus (take your choice of denomination terminology) trading on the lingering popularity of the original shekels:
    This was not Trajan's only design for Levantine tetradrachms, although the eagle continued to be a go-to reverse device - one which survived pretty well to the end of the series of Antioch tetradrachms:
    Trajan Decius, 249-251 AD. Still using eagles on Antioch tetradrachms a century and a half after Trajan:
    Given the stereotypy that can be traced across centuries, it may well be valid to ask if the perception of the (common) shekel of Tyre corresponding to the biblical story of Judas' betrayal is factual or the result of a clever marketing ploy (cf. "tribute penny" - without a shred of evidence that there is any connection - some say the Gaius & Lucius denarius of Augustus was more likely because it was quite likely more common in circulation in Judea at the time than Tiberius' Livia PONTIF MAXIM denarius.)
  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Roma Invicta

    Very interesting points you make.
    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  17. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    Attributing the biblical reference to an actual coin or coins is wishful thinking at best. I know some thought went into the theory but there just is no way to come even close. It is more likely that he could have been paid in several different types.
  18. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    That was great comparison to post. I think if I were owed thirty pieces of silver I would not mind some of them being the Demetrius tetradrachma. Close enough for government work. Also, first time seeing that Trajan piece with a clone of Melkart. I have to get one of those in my collection. Also since you mentioned it, circa 30 AD there were a lot more Augustus denarii out there in circulation than those of Tiberius, and Caesar was a name equally applied to both of them.
  19. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Yes, remember that the thirty pieces was money outgoing, not incoming.
  20. lehmansterms

    lehmansterms Many view intelligence as a hideous deformity

    Of course if the source of the 30 coins was the Sanhedrin, chances are excellent that the silver to which they had access was the same sort in which many faithful Jews were paying their temple tax on a daily basis.
    AussieCollector likes this.
  21. lehmansterms

    lehmansterms Many view intelligence as a hideous deformity

    Luckily for you, the Trajan/Melqart tetradrachms are very common too (there are two or three different main types with variations in the placement and size of the eagle and club). A quite decent specimen can probably easily be found in the vicinity of $100 or just a bit more.
    There were a couple in the Agora auction before last if I'm recalling correctly.
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