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Bar Kochba Revolt

By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & Cataloger

Author: Chris Chatigny / Wednesday, October 03, 2018 / Categories: World Coin of the Week

The Stack's Bowers Galleries October Collectors Choice Online Auction featuring Ancient and World coins is now online and can be viewed here. We are excited to offer a variety of ancient coins from many regions, each with an interesting story. This week's highlight ancient coin details fierce Jewish resistance to Roman Imperialism in an all-out revolt. The Jewish-Roman wars occurred over a period of nearly seven decades in the first and second centuries A.D. and resulted in disaster for the Jewish population. The Romans routed the Jewish resistance, razed Jerusalem and the Temple, murdered a large portion of the Jewish population and scattered the survivors. The final period of this bloody struggle was known as the Bar Kochba Revolt. Simon Bar Kosiba, proclaimed by some in the Jewish community as a Messiah, donned the name Bar Kochba (which means "Son of a Star") and became the commander for the Jewish forces.

                As the revolt progressed it became apparent that coinage would need to be struck for use by the Jews. Luckily, there happened to be a readily available source of silver and bronze Roman coins which were over-struck with Jewish images and legends. In some cases, including this piece, portions of the under-coin's legends are readily visible. This particular coin was struck during the third (and final) year of the Bar Kochba Revolt, ca. A.D. 134/5. The design for these silver "Zuz" included extremely important Jewish religious symbols, with the obverse showing a wreath surrounding the Hebrew: "Shimon." The reverse depicts a fluted one-handled jug at left, palm branch at right. The legend around this design states "For the freedom of Jerusalem." This coin represents a significant epoch of Jewish history, and depicts an impressive design with tremendous detail.

 We are currently accepting consignments of World and Ancient coins and World Paper Money for our January 2019 New York International Auction as well as the May 2019 Collectors Choice Online Auction. We are also presently seeking consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our March 2019 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our Consignment Directors.