PHOENICIA, TYRE, tetradrachm, “Shekel of Tyre”


PHOENICIA, TYRE, tetradrachm, year 31 (96/5 BC), Obverse: head Melqarth R, Reverse: eagle L, A below, monogram R, silver, 26mm, 14.2g, SG5917, nice VF-XF

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This coin typically marketed as the “Shekel of Tyre” and the “30 pieces of silver” coin and there is no reason to disparage such an attribution.  Tyrian shekels are not uncommon but the extraordinary demand for them creates demand, which creates higher prices.

Aside from giving us the alphabet for our written records, the Phoenicians had some noteworthy cultural aspects: a preference for trade over war, and a long term enthusiasm for human sacrifice, which they did a lot of until the Romans prohibited the activity. One could say that the Romans, with their bloody games, merely secularized the practice of public murder, but part of the Roman genius was the separation of entertainment from religious observance. The Phoenicians really liked child sacrifice, which was kind of different.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.