Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bar Kokhba coin is overstruck "Judea" denarius

NUMISMATICS: NGC Ancients: Rare Overstruck “Judaea Capta” Bar Kokhba Coin Discovered (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, Coin Week).
From an historical standpoint, this coin tells a tremendous tale. The host denarius of Vespasian was originally issued in 69 or 70 CE as part of the ‘Judaea Capta’ series that celebrated Rome’s victory in the Jewish War of 66 to 70, which culminated in the sack of Jerusalem and the razing of the Holy Temple. That victory had been led by none other than Vespasian and his eldest son Titus, both of whom were destined to be emperors.

Somehow the host denarius made its way to Judaea, perhaps with a soldier or a merchant. But it most likely would not have circulated there as its design would have been offensive to the local population. Eventually, in 133 CE, the coin found its way to the minting facility then being used by the rebel forces of Bar Kokhba. While there it was restruck and transformed into a new currency, the patriotic designs of which trumpeted the cause of the Jewish rebels.

It has long been suggested that the overstriking process was symbolic as a way for the rebels to ‘erase’ a potent symbol of Roman authority by virtue of creating their own emblems. However, in this case, it would have had even greater meaning since it was also a chance to erase a coin type that celebrated an earlier Roman victory in Judaea.
The coin is to be auctioned in January of 2017.