The Bank of Israel have issued (29th August) three coins which feature one of the country’s most historic cities, that of Tel Megiddo, located in the northern half of Israel. This is the fourth coin in a series highlighting world heritage sites as designated by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Excavations at Tel Megiddo have revealed the remains of ancient cities, palaces, altars, and most importantly, a sophisticated water system with a vertical shaft and subterranean tunnel, which is depicted on the coin. Tel Megiddo was an important city in the Canaanite and Israelite periods because of its strategic location at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge. The city played a particularly important role during the reign of King Solomon – some Christians believe it to be the site of Armageddon, (the city’s name in Greek) where the battle marking the end of the world is supposed to take place. Archaeological excavations at the site since 1903 have revealed fascinating findings including walls, gates, palaces, stables, warehouses, temples and especially the sophisticated water facility.
The coins, struck by the Israeli State Mint, are designed by artist Osnat Eshel and depict the excavated site of the water system which is a vertical shaft and subterranean tunnel with foot bridge along with a typical water pitcher also discovered at the site. Above the primary design and just to the center-right is the insignia of UNESCO and that of the Tel Megiddo national emblem. The reverse design includes the coin’s numeric denomination featured off-center and to the left of the coin. The insignia of the Israeli Mint is positioned above and towards the right of the numeral and to the right – off-center, the inclusion of an antique coin depicting a lion, excavated at the site.
The gold coin with a face value of 10 Sheqalim, is struck in proof quality and in .917 fineness weighing 16.9 grams with a diameter of 30 mm. A total mintage of only 555 pieces has been authorized. The large silver coin with a face value of 2 sheqalim is struck in sterling fineness to proof quality with a weight of 28.8 grams and a diameter of 38.7 mm. A mintage of 2,800 pieces has been authorized. The smaller silver coin, also struck in sterling fineness has a face value of 1 sheqel and is produced in FDC quality. The weight is 14.4 grams and the diameter is 30 mm. A total mintage for the 1 sheqel coin is authorized at just 1,800 pieces.
The Israeli Mint offers a combination of single purchases for all three coins and as a two coin silver set or a three coin gold & silver set. For more information on these and other coins offered by the Israeli State Mint or as they are known – the Holy Land Mint, please visit their website at: http://israelmint.com/?section=43807 Currently, the information is offered in Hebrew but, the information will be included in English at a later date. International orders are fulfilled.