A Unique Artifact
USC’s Archaeological Research Collections possesses an excellent example of a Year Three Silver Shekel. Only about two centimeters in diameter, four millimeters thick, and weighing 13.5 grams, the coin’s silvery surface still glistens in the light, with only small amounts of cream-colored powdery material, likely dirt or dust that could not be completely cleaned out, stuck in several crevices. Its edges have been hammered lightly, and several cracks appear along the edge, probably from the stress of the striking process itself.
Somehow fitting the singularity of the coin, George Blumenthal donated the shekel to the lab in a similarly unique manner, described below by the lab's curator, Dr. Lynn Swartz-Dodd:
"The donor gave it to us with no warning at the end of a visit to the ARC. I was initially not confident that it was a real coin. Therefore I checked with Prof.William Fulco, SJ, Ph.D. at Loyola Marymount, who made a cursory examination of the coin and gave me the opinion that it was real. He is a numismatist and coin collector and curator of a collection of antiquities at LMU."
Ancient Minting • Weights and Purity • Historical Background: The First Jewish Revolt • The Role of Coins in the Revolt • Differentiating the Shekels • Symbolism • Inscriptions • Paleography •A Unique Artifact • Photographic Analysis • Obverse Comparison Analysis • Reverse Comparison Analysis • Conclusion