The Israel Coins and Medals Corporation has issued, as authorized by the Bank of Israel, a new set of three collector coins as part of their ongoing series featuring geographical and historical sites in Israel and also on the occasion of the 64th year of Independence.
The new coins are dedicated to the Sea of Galilee, also known as Kinneret, situated in northeast Israel in the Jordan Rift Valley, caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. At 211 metres (693 ft) below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake after the Dead Sea, which is a saltwater lake. The Sea of Galilee is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south.
The set consists of three coins, two silver coins of 2 and 1 sheqel and a gold coin of 10 sheqels and the design on all three is uniformed. Struck at the Mint of Finland, the obverse design is the work of artist Michal Hamawi and depicts a view from the west Coast of the lake with a sailboat and palm trees with wild flowers. In the background is the coastal shore of the Golan Heights. The text above the primary design reads “SEA OF GALILEE” in Arabic, English and Hebrew.
The reverse of the coin is the work of designer Meir Eshel and includes the coin’s denomination represented by a numeral positioned to the upper left half and the text “NEW SHEQALIM” in both English and Hebrew. To the right of the denomination, is a stylized representation of the Sea of Galilee consisting of the outline and a series of wavy lines symbolizing water. The text “INDEPENDENCE DAY – 2012” and “ISRAEL” are also positioned around the primary design also in English, Arabic and Hebrew. The national crest of a menorah surrounded by olive branches on either side is placed towards the top and in between two text legends.
The gold 10 Sheqalim coin is struck to proof quality (mintmark “מ”) in .917 fineness with a weight of 16.9 grams and a diameter of 30 mm. A total mintage of just 555 pieces has been authorized. The silver 2 Sheqel coin is struck to proof quality (mintmark “מ”) in sterling fineness with a weight of 28.8 grams and a diameter of 38.7 mm. The mintage is authorized at 2,800 pieces. The one sheqel coin is struck to proof-like quality (mintmark, star of David) and is sterling silver with a weight of 14.4 grams and a diameter of 30 mm. A mintage of 1,800 pieces has been authorized.
The series can be purchased in combinations of three coins, two coins or individually. Special pre-order prices for the coins are in effect until 31st May 2012. For more information on these and other coins offered by the office of the Israel Coins and medals corporation, please visit their website at: http://israelmint.com/?section=571&product=4179&lineItem=2731