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Imitation shekel

Imitation shekel

Imitation shekel

Bronze, cast

Diam: 3.25 cm

The Feuchtwanger Collection, purchased and donated by Baruch and Ruth Rappaport, Geneva

Accession number:

HF 0663


Jewish Art and Life

A flaming altar similar to the one appearing on this "fake shekel," also adorns a Hanukkah lamp from Italy. These shekels, minted from the 15th century onward in different parts of Europe, were sold to pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, as if they were the authentic coins paid as bribery to Judas Iscariot for his betrayal of Jesus. The design was based on Nachmanides’s erroneous interpretation of the urn which appeared on the ancient shekels as the "incense altar."

From the Israel Museum publications:

Shachar, Isaiah, Jewish Tradition in Art: The Feuchtwanger Collection of Judaica, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1981