NUMISMATICS


Interest in Jewish coins arose already in the late Middle Ages, e.g., with *Maimonides and Estori *ha-Parhi. Special studies, however, were carried out only considerably later. For geographical reasons and due to the fact that Jewish coins bear partly Greek legends, these have been generally classified as Greek coins. Among the earliest studies is one by F. Perez Bayer (De numis hebraeo-samaritanis, 1781). Bible research gave Jewish numismatics a special interest. One of the first in the field was the English scholar J.Y. Akerman ("Numismatic Illustration of the Narrative of Portions of the New Testament," in: Numismatic Chronicle, 1846/47). Another important work was written by the Italian C. Cavedoni (Numismatic Biblica, 1850), followed by F. de Saulcy's Recherches sur la Numismatique Judaïque (1854). The first work that may claim scientific value was published by F.W. Madden (History of Jewish Coinage…, 1864; repr. with introd. by M. Avi-Yonah, 1967). Coins of the Jews (1881) was the second edition of the former. Though the research on Jewish numismatics has since greatly advanced, Madden's study remains of basic value even today. T. Reinach's noteworthy book, Jewish Coins, appeared in 1903. In 1914 G.F. Hill published his Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Palestine in the British Museum. It is an excellent summary of the material then known, based on the almost complete collection of the British Museum. Hill's own critical observations add to the value of this catalog, which is indispensable for the student of Jewish numismatics. In Ereẓ Israel numismatic interest has developed in the 20th century. The first book on Jewish coins was S. Raffaeli's Matbe'ot ha-Yehudim (1913). This was followed by M. Narkiss' Matbe'ot Ereẓ Yisrael (3 vols., 1936–39). In 1940 A. Reifenberg published his Ancient Jewish Coins (Heb. ed., Matbe'ot ha-Yehudim, 1947, 19632). In 1945 the Israel Numismatic Society was founded, and since then its members have contributed to the progress of numismatic research. Foremost among them was its second president, L. Kadman, who founded the Israel Numismatic Research Fund and published himself four volumes of the Corpus Nummorum Palestinensium (1956–61; Aelia Capitolina, Caesarea Maritima, Jewish-Roman War, and Akko-Ptolemais). Kadman was also the sponsor of the Kadman Numismatic Museum in Tel Aviv, which was inaugurated in 1962 and houses the largest numismatic library in Israel. The Publications of the Israel Numismatic Society have appeared since 1954. L. Kadman published in co-authorship with A. Kindler a numismatic handbook (Heb., 1963). The latter published, besides many articles on special subjects, the Oẓar Matbe'ot Ereẓ Yisrael (with an English summary, 1958); The Coins of Tiberias (Heb. and Eng., 1962); and a catalog of the collection of Jewish coins of the Bank of Israel (1969). Y. Meshorer published his corpus of Jewish Coins of the Second Temple Period in 1967 (Heb., 1966) with an almost up-to-date listing of all types of Jewish coins known to date.

In 1963 an International Numismatic Convention was held in Jerusalem, and its proceedings were published by the Israel Numismatic Society. The latter holds monthly meetings and seminaries, and annual conventions for its membership of 250. It also publishes a quarterly, Israel Numismatic Journal. The American Israel Numismatic Society, based in North Miami, Florida, publishes The Shekel six times a year. Numismatic research is not confined to books. Hundreds of articles and minor monographs have been written by various scholars. L.A. Mayer published a Bibliography of Jewish Numismatics which counts 882 items until 1963. In the framework of archaeological research in the Hebrew University and in the Museum of Jewish Antiquities, E.L. *Sukenik built up an extremely important collection of Palestinian coins. He was the first to identify the earliest Jewish coins by correctly reading the legend Yehud on them. Other important numismatic collections in Israel are in the Department of Antiquities of the Hebrew University, in the Jewish Museum, in the Bank of Israel, in the Franciscan Biblical School, and in the Pontifical Biblical Institute, all in Jerusalem. Private collections of importance are those of the late A. Reifenberg, Jerusalem, on loan to the Israel Museum; of A. Spaer, Jerusalem; of R. Hecht, Haifa; of J. Meyshan and of J. Willinger, Tel Aviv. Outside Israel the collections of the American Numismatic Society, as well as the private ones of A. Klaksbald, Paris, D. Littman, Geneva, and W. Wirgin, New York, are of importance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

L.A. Mayer, Bibliography of Jewish Numismatics (1966).

[Arie Kindler]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.