The first-ever public viewing in the Los Angeles area of the multimillion-dollar Shoshana Collection of Ancient Coins of Judea began Friday and continues through Saturday at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills. The collection spans 11 centuries, and includes one of the only two known coins surviving Year 1 (66 A.D.) prototype silver shekels (valued at $950,000) and the only known surviving 66 A.D. silver quarter shekel (valued at $875,000).
The collection was assembled over four decades by a California resident, but is being auctioned soon in New York City.
Facts about the silver shekel prototype valued at $950,000:
• The state struck silver coins proclaiming independence from Rome.
• A small handful were made to test the engraving and minting facilities at the Jerusalem temple.
• Only two survived; the other is in the Israel Museum.
• In archaic Hebrew script, the obverse reads, "A shekel of Israel made in Year 1."
• The reverse reads "Jerusalem, the holy."
Facts about the silver quarter shekel prototype valued at $875,000:
• Nearly all the obverses bear a ritual challis.
• The reverses bear a stem with three pomegranates and were probably intended to represent the top of a staff carried by the temple high priest.
The viewing is free to the public.