What Can ‘Ancient’ Palestinian Coins Tell Us?

Shortly after the Palestinian Authority was established, I was browsing the PA website when I discovered a section entitled “Ancient Palestinian Coins”. Intrigued, I checked it out. What coins could they possibly claim to be Palestinian?

As it turns out, the coins not only weren’t “Palestinian” as such, they weren’t “Ancient” either. In fact, some of them weren’t ‘Coins’, but rather ‘banknotes’. Because the only money in known history to say “Palestine” was produced by the British Mandate, back when both Jews and Arabs were considered “Palestinians”.

In Hebrew the coins said “Palestine (Land of Israel)”.

Palestinian Media Watch reports that the Palestinians are still looking for those ancient Palestinian coins.

A Judean Shekel coin from the year 66 CE, the first year of the Jewish rebellion against Rome, was sold for $1.1 million this past week at an auction in New York. The words in Hebrew “Shekel of Israel [Year] 1” are printed on the front of the coin, and “Jerusalem the holy” appears on the back. [New York Post, March 10, 2012]

The official Palestinian Authority daily in writing about the auction described the Hebrew coin from the Second Temple period as an “ancient Palestinian coin” and as being part of the “Palestinian cultural tradition.”

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left: “Shekel of Israel”, golden cup from the vessels of the Temple
right: “Jerusalem, the Holy”, branch with three pomegranates

I’m sure that when the PA gets around to minting their own coins, they’ll use these examples of ancient Palestinian tradition as their prototypes. Because nothing says “Palestinian” like Jews fighting for their homeland, rejecting Latin and Greek influence, and making their own Hebrew coins depicting images from the Jewish Temple.

Who knows, maybe the next step will be to adopt Hatikva as the Palestinian national anthem. After all, what other song really embodies the Palestinian age-old quest for freedom in their own homeland?

For more on the collection of “Ancient Palestinian Coins”:

[youtube 2cFTTjSzjfA nolink]

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