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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Beautiful new gold coin depicts the Kotel

From YNet, in what appears to be a press release::

While coins have been issued by the Bank of Israel since the early days of independence, Jerusalem Day 2011 was special. Israel Coins & Medals Corp. (ICMC), exclusive distributor for coins of the Bank of Israel, launched a new coin, in gold bullion, which trades based on its precious metal content.

This is the second such bullion coin, called "The Western Wall", in the “Jerusalem of Gold” Series, each of which depicts a significant historical site in the eternal city. The initial coin, still available for purchase, was "The Tower of David", in 2010.

Each bullion coin is 32 mm (1¼ inch) and contains exactly 1 troy oz. of .9999 fine gold, with a face value of 20 new shekels. The Israeli bullion is different from more familiar coins, like the Canadian Maple Leaf, South African Krugerrand or the American Eagle, in that its mintage is limited to only 3,600 coins.

The coin is available for purchase 24/7 via the ICMC website (www.israelmint.com) or by phone (972-4-821-2807) from Israel, or can be ordered directly in the USA at toll free 1-888-421-1866, during east coast business hours. All orders are processed and delivered within a maximum 6 weeks from the date received. Each bullion coin comes delivered in a handsome display box and is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

The actual coin is strikingly beautiful. The obverse, which remains constant in the series, portrays the famous Lion of Megiddo, with its stylized curved tail, taken from an ancient seal dating to the 8th cent. BCE and excavated in the ancient Israelite city of Megiddo (Armageddon in the New Testament), in the Jordan Valley.

The seal belonged to Shema, servant of the Israelite King Jereboam II. The lion was also the symbol of the Biblical tribe of Judah and of Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem. The same Lion of Megiddo appeared in the past on Israel's 5 Lira banknote (1958), 5 Lira coin (1978) and half shekel coin (1980). Above the figure of the lion is the State Emblem and below it the word "Israel" in English, Hebrew & Arabic. The obverse side design is by artist Meir Eshel.

The reverse shows the Western Wall ("Kotel" in Hebrew) itself, which is the retaining wall of the Temple Mount and the sole remnant of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. It is reputed to be close to where the Holy of Holies once stood and, at this sacred place—the most significant site in the world for the Jewish People—the Divine Presence is believed never to leave.