Israel finds massive ancient gold coin

Sunday, August 15, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

American and Israeli archeologists digging in northern Israel last week unearthed the largest gold coin ever found in the Holy Land.

The one-ounce coin was found at Tel Kedesh in the upper Galilee region by teams from the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan.

The inscription on the coin identifies it as being minted in 191 BC in Alexandria by Ptolemy V, ruler of Egypt. The image on the coin is of Queen Arsinoe Philadephus, wife of Ptolemy II.

Dr. Donald T. Ariel, head of the Coin Department at Israel's Antiquities Authority, told The Jerusalem Post that the size of the coin almost certainly means it was for ceremonial use. A gold coin that large, which was the equivalent of a half-year's income for the average person in 191 BC, would not have been passed around at the market.

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