Monday, June 17, 2013

6/17/13 Mystery Coin Identified! What a story it tells!

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

Here are the two views of the coin I showed yesterday asking for help with identification.  Guess what?
I was way off.  But somebody found out what it is.   And it tells a much more fascinating story than I ever imagined and leads to an even more fascinating treasure story.

Coin Found by Michael E.

Janine M. did better than me.  She was getting close.  She said,  I wonder if that is a game token or a temple token of some kind, rather than coinage.

Chuck G. found out what it is.   It is a Bar-Kokhbah coin, which shows the Jerusalem temple facade (Four pillars).  And perhaps the table of shew bread in between the middle two pillars.

I don't know what the symbol on the other side represents yet.

Here is the link to the web site that shows both the coin and illustrations of the temple front to match with the image on the coin.

Chuck wins the blog reader of the year award.   Thanks for the research and link Chuck.

Original Bar-Kokhbah coins were made around A. D. 132 when the Jewish people rebelled against the Roman legions.

Here is what the following linked web site says about the coins.

The rebels issued no gold coins, but produced an abundance of silver and base metal coins by withdrawing Roman coins from circulation and overstriking them with dies of their own creation. The surfaces of the Roman coins were hammered or filed to remove as much of the original design as possible, yet elements of the host coin’s designs usually survived these processes.

Researchers have determined that the host coins were not heated when they were overstruck, and that hinged dies were used, as the die axes are always vertical, usually aligned at 12 o’clock, but sometimes at 6 o’clock. Also, it is clear that some kind of collar was used in the minting of the silver coins, a technique previously not observed for the striking of ancient coins.

This really illustrates how interesting and informative the metal detecting hobby can be.  Doing the research on an unidentified find can be very gratifying.

I'm hoping this is a genuine Bar Kokhba coin.   Wonder how it got to where Michael E. dug it up.  Show and tell, maybe.  I think he said it wasn't far from a school.

On second thought, maybe I wasn't as far off as I thought because in the early A. D. there was a large Greek population and influence in Jerusalem, so I guess there are really some Greek characters on there too.

Relating to another treasure story, there are Bar Kokhba coins that were found decades ago in Kentucky that some people think may be associated with the Bat Creek Stone that bears a Hebrew inscription.

Here is an article about that.

So now it seems we know what the coin is.  Now we need to find out if it is genuine and how it might have ended up where it was.

Maybe we'll have more on that in this blog in the future.

Michael, you have some more research to do.  I would suggest finding out what the material is.  Maybe take it to a coin dealer to get an opinion on if it is authentic.  And we'd like to hear more about the context of the find if that might be significant.

I went hunting a little while this morning.  It was hot and a few noseeum bugs were biting.

The surf on the TreasureCoast today is only 1 - 2 feet.  It will be the same for a couple of days.

I did a little shallow water hunting and found a few coins, ear ring, and bracelet.  Maybe I'll have some photos of  finds soon.

One nice spot I checked out this morning.

The water was pretty calm where I was.  Good visibility.  And it was more comfortable than the beach.  Like I said the other day, people have been swimming and boating a lot lately.

I was reminded how much time a good long handled scoop can save in the water.  I started with hand fanning, but that was too slow for the deep targets I was hitting, so went back to the car for the scoop.

The wind is from the east/southeast.

Happy hunting,