Israel: Scenes of Old Ashkelon Features on Latest Ancient Cities in the Holy Land Numismatic Bullion Series

The Israel Coins and Medals Corporation have launched their fourth design in the on-going gold and silver bullion series entitled Ancient Cities in the Holy Land.

by Michael Alexander | Published on March 29, 2024

Derived from the Hebrew word Shekel, Ashkelon was named then for the ancient currency of Israel and which is today still the country’s mode of trade and legal tender. Featured for 2024 on this numismatic bullion series are scenes from the old city of Ashkelon.

Ashkelon is of the oldest cities in Israel and lies in the southern coastal plain. Spanning more than 5,000 years, the city's history passes through periods of many different rulers, each of which has left its indelible impression on the city. Egyptian historical evidence depicts Ashkelon in connection with the conquests of the Pharoah Ramses II in 1280 BC and in the Bible, Ashkelon is first mentioned in the Book of Joshua. Throughout its history, Ashkelon has been an important port city and in the Canaanite period, it became one of the biggest cities in the Land of Israel. 

The current borders of Ashkelon stretch over an area of about 45 square kilometres or 17.3 square miles with its ancient mound, covering more than 2 square kilometres or just under one square mile and is located within the Ashkelon National Park. In this area, close to the Mediterranean coast are remains of the ancient port of Ashkelon. Today, Ashkelon is enjoyed as a modern city with green parks, rich blue sea coasts and marina, while at the same time, an ancient city with historical sites and ancient splendour is well preserved for generations to come. The modern city of Ashkelon is regarded by its inhabitants is a perfect combination of new and old.

The bullion pieces are designed by Meir Eshel and produced by the Holyland Mint at their facilities in Nesher, Haifa and on behalf of the Israel Coins and Medals Corporation. The design on the obverse side which is shared on both gold and silver pieces depicts a fragment of archaeological remains found in the Ashkelon National Park established on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. In the background, a trading boat sails on the sea as birds fly above. The inscriptions above the primary design in Hebrew and English read OLD ASHKELON. Below and along the lower rim are the specifications of the coins - 1 oz. FINE GOLD .9999 and, 1 oz. FINE SILVER .999 along the mint year 2024. The reverse side includes a common design shared on the entire series and features a seven-branched Menorah candelabrum centred and nspired from an ancient Hasmonean coin of Mattathias Antigonus (40 – 37 BC). Border inscriptions in English and Hebrew read ANCIENT CITIES IN THE HOLY LAND - ערים עתיקות בארץ הקודש and are placed along the upper and lower rim.

Item Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit 
Medal .999 Silver 31.1 g. 38.7 mm. Specimen 999 
Medal .9999 Gold 31.1 g. 32 mm. Specimen 199

Both the gold and silver one-ounce medal is available as a separate item to order. Each medal is encapsulated and presented in a custom-branded Holy land Mint case accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on these and other coins and medals issued by the Bank of Israel and the Israel Coins and Medals Corporation, please visit the website of the Holyland Mint.

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Author: Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander image Michael’s background in both numismatics and banknotes spans more than three decades and whose activities have varied from being a dedicated world coin collector to coin & medal design, marketing, theme concept and production. His additional interests include banknote research and in 1997, he founded the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre to further these interests and activities. The company continues to offer monthly currency bulletins to both online and printed publications which includes information about the latest banknote news and releases from Central Banks and Monetary Authorities around the world. Michael has been a contributor to COIN NEWS magazine based in the UK since 1998 where many of his in-depth interviews, articles and bulletins have been published.

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