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598637
598637.

PHOENICIA, Tyre. 126/5 BC-AD 65/6. AR Shekel (24mm, 14.06 g, 12h). Dated CY 162 (AD 36/7). Laureate head of Melkart right, [lion skin around neck] / Eagle standing left on prow; palm frond in background; to left, [P]ΞB (date) above club; to right, KP above monogram; Phoenician B between legs. DCA-Tyre 598; HGC 10, 357; DCA 920. Compact flan, slightly weak strike on obverse. Good VF.


One of the great cities of Phoenicia, Tyre was subject first to the Ptolemies and then to the Seleucids, and was an important mint for both dynasties. The city received a grant of autonomy from the Seleucid Crown in 126/5. Tyre immediately inaugurated a new civic coinage dated to the era of its autonomy, with certain affinities to the coinage it had formerly minted for its royal masters. The civic silver featured a new obverse type, a head of the local god Melqart, but the reverse type of an eagle standing on a prow was identical to the reverse of Tyre’s Seleucid coinage, which in turn had been an elaboration on the Ptolemaic eagle. Tyrian shekels and half-shekels continued to be minted until about AD 65. They circulated in Judaea and were used by the Jews to pay their annual Temple dues. The infamous “30 pieces of silver” paid to Judas for betraying Jesus would also have been Tyrian issues. This shekel was minted after the generally accepted date for the crucifixion, AD 33/4; however Pontius Pilate was prefect in Judaea until AD 36, so a case could be made for any year between AD 30 and 36.