bar kochba 88.
(photo credit: )
More than 630 lots will go under the hammer at the Archaeological Center's 41st semi-annual auction on October 2 at the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel. Divided among coins, seals, jewelry, oil lamps, glass, antiquities, maps and photographs, the sale will draw the usual crowd of dealers, collectors and museum personnel - plus a smattering of tourists and novice archaeologists hoping for a bargain.
Prices in the global antiquities market have been reaching extraordinary levels recently, with above-average sales recorded at all major houses, including Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams. News items regarding important antiquities being returned to their source country - 21 objects from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, including the remarkable Euphronios calyx crater dated 515 BCE, having recently been shipped to the Italian Ministry of Culture, for example - have also had their effect on rising prices, as does a dearth of exceptionally noteworthy new findings.
Robert Deutsch, archaeologist, epigraphist and director of the Archaeological Center has indicated several splendid items in the coming auction. Among the Jewish coins from the first revolt against Rome (66 to 73 AD, Second Temple period), several silver shekels estimated at $2000-2200 are offered. On the obverse side, the coins depict a pearl-adorned chalice with an ancient Hebrew inscription reading "Shekel of Israel." On the reverse side, a staff with three pomegranates is inscribed with "Jerusalem the Holy." These particular shekels were not in use for commercial purposes but were specifically earmarked for donations to the temple. According to numismatic experts, they were minted with the best silver content in antiquity, incorporating 98 to 99 percent pure silver.
In addition to a cache of Greek, Phonecian and late Roman coins, a couple of dozen silver and bronze coins from the period of the Bar-Kochba revolt, 132 to 135 AD, are for sale. The revolt, a result of emperor Hadrian's edict prohibiting circumcision among the Jewish population, led to Jewish coins with images of the temple and lulav and etrog minted - as an act of revenge over Roman silver with Hadrian's portrait (pictured, estimated at $2300-2500).
Rare terracotta handles from storage jars with seal impressions depict the royal emblem of Hezekiah, King of Judah, who ruled from 704-701 BCE. The sun disk with six rays is surrounded by the inscription "Belonging to the King, Hebron."
Sixty lots of glass, mostly Roman with a smattering of Phoenician, Islamic and Christian, include two magnificent core-formed amphora dating from Hellenistic times (pictured, estimated at between $6000-$7000) from the 2nd to 1st centuries BCE - predating blown glass items by more than 100 years. A very special Christian aubergine glass flask, religious in nature, is decorated with a cross relief and walking figure, 5th to 7th centuries AD.
The 250 antiquity lots are highly eclectic - from a terracotta eye idol dated 3300 BCE to Babylonian incantation bowls inscribed in Aramaic and dated to the 6th century AD. In one of the two incantation bowls in the sale, the sixth line refers to "Solomon, Son of David, King of Great Israel." A range of Canaanite bronze spears from the Middle and Late Bronze period, 1730 to 1220 BCE, are exhibited next to an exceptional bronze axehead blade with a spiked flange, probably Iranian, circa 2000 BCE.
Several unique oil lamps are catalogued next to a number of prized classical items, including a Corinthian terracotta skyphos (drinking cup, estimated at $2500-$3000), decorated with a sphinx and bull in red on a buff terracotta field, dating from the 7th to the 6th century BCE; a South Italian zoomoporphic askos in the shape of a boar, dated around 350 BCE; and a pair of Iron Age (circa 1000 BCE) beer jugs with strainers.
Viewing from Tuesday, September 25; sale on October 2 begins at 5 p.m. At the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, 99 Hayarkon St., (03) 524-7960. The entire catalog can also be browsed at www.archaeological-center.com
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