GENEVA (Jun. 19)
A wealthy Palestinian Arab paid $160,000 for a rare silver shekel dating from 66-70 CE, auctioned at Sotheby’s gallery in Zurich last week. The coin, minted at the time of the first Jewish revolt against Rome, came from the collection of Virgil Brand. Its book value was only $35,000 and the unexpectedly high bid drew a standing ovation from the audience.
The purchaser, identified only as a Mr. Barakat who has homes in Jerusalem and Beverly Hills, California, said the shekel is for his private collection and will not be for sale. It weighs 14.07 grams.
According to Sotheby, there are only 13 such coins in existence and only four are in private hands; two in Israel, one in the Hunt collection in the U.S. and the fourth now owned by Barakat, (By Tamar Levy)