Reproduction Tyre, Phoenicia Silver Shekel
Obverse: Laureate bust of Melkart (the Phoenician god, originally the chief god of Tyre) right, lion skin tied around neck.
Reverse: Eagle with closed wings standing left on prow of ship. Palm branch under far wind. Date ΘK (year 29) above club left. Phoenician letter beth between legs, monogram CA in right field. Text around TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre, the Holy and Inviolable).
History: Silver shekels minted by the Phoenician city of Tyre circulated widely in the Kingdom and later the Roman province of Judaea. They were the only currency employed by the religious authorities in Jerusalem, even though they bore the image of a pagan god, Melqarth, and a living creature, the eagle. This technically breached the Commandment against "graven images". Half and full shekels were used to pay the Jewish Temple Tax and the Tyre shekel coin appears twice in the Bible. It appears as both the ‘Coin in the Fish’s Mouth’, and the ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ offered to Judas in his betrayal of Jesus. The Tyrian Shekel is one of the key coins of the Bible.
Minted: Phoenicia, 98 - 97 BC