The rare coin
The rare coinEliran Aharon

Winner's auction house is offering a unique item for sale: a rare shekel decorated with a cup containing nine dots.

The early Hebrew inscription "Israel shekel" surrounds the cup, above which is an abbreviation for "Year Four," showing that the coin was minted in the fourth year of the Bar Kochba rebellion.

The reverse side shows a branch with three stylized pomegranates surrounded by the inscription "Holy Jerusalem." The coin weighs 13.55 grams and is 22 millimeters in diameter.

The Bar Kochba rebellion (66-70 CE) holds a significant place in Jewish history for its tragic results, included the country's complete destruction, the murder of numerous Jews and the destruction of the second Temple.

During the rebellion the Jews minted silver and bronze coins in a challenge against the Roman authorities, as the production of money signified sovereignty and independence. Using the coins, the Jews spread war slogans and messages to the public. These slogans expressed the nation's desire for victory and references to the capital, as seen in the inscriptions "Freedom of Zion" and "Holy Jerusalem."

The symbols represent the Land of Israel's abundant produce including pomegranates, grape leaves, date trees, and tools associated with the Temple, such as the Omer cup and vessels for wine.

Credit: Eliran Aharon

The coin is considered extremely rare, even among antique collectors, because the Roman legions were already approaching Jerusalem during the rebellion's fourth year. As is well-known, the Romans placed Jerusalem under siege on the tenth of Tevet that year. As a result, there was a severe shortage of silver, the raw material used for minting coins.

Antiques experts and collectors estimate there are only a few dozen such coins in the world. Though they are exchanged between collectors and offered for sale at times, a fourth-year coin has not been seen in a long time.

The coin is being sold under official license and with its certificate of authenticity. The initial price is set at $22,000, though Winner's expects it to fetch between $28,000 and $32,000.