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Thursday, 17 October 2013

The World's Most Valuable Currency That Explains Its Value

A few weeks ago, it was record that the lasubasta value of a coin struck by a silver dollar ‘flowing-hair’ 1794 by $10 million. A few days ago there was an excellent article published by Donn Pearlman on Numimaster that reveals the history of this coin and all numismatic research and marketing that enabled its reach to that exceptional value. The view is especially interesting that Pearlman having it played a central role as expert advisor to the various owners of the coin. The lessons of the case also apply to the ancient coins and so here are some details of the case and some general reflections.

From Record To Record

This issue of silver dollar is considered for many decades one of the best in existence and have a spectacular notable pedigree owners and auctions. In the first decades of the twentieth century, it was part of the legendary Edward numismatic collection of Colonel Green. In 1947, it was auctioned as part of the collection of Will W. Neil, when it reached $1250. In 1984, it was again auctioned for $264,000. By 1986, its value had dropped to 209,000. In 2002, Steven J. Contursi of Rare Coin Wholesalers purchased $2.5 million in a private transaction. Contursi sold in May 2010 for a record 7,850,000. In January surpassed its brand to reach just over 10 million.

Research & Marketing

Already in the description of the item for auction stated that 1984 was a twin copper dollar (which is now in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum) coined as a test before starting production of the first US dollars. Steven Contursi's role was central, for under his initiative, undertook a series of investigations that reinforced the idea that this coin could be the very first dollar minted in the United States.

In 2003 and 2004 the coin was removed from its plastic capsule to be examined by a dozen experts who confirmed the status as the best-preserved specimen in existence and, most likely, an early test minting. In 2003, the currency was taken to the Smithsonian to be compared with the copper test failed to detect any difference in the state. Not content with this, Contursi recruited some of the most famous American numismatic experts to study the piece and certify that it was the earliest state of the stamp witnessed.

Of course, it is impossible to prove scientifically that this coin was actually the first one out of the press. The certainty only goes up to say that at the time of its production, it did not seem to have suffered any wear-and-tear. The rest is just a clever marketing strategy that presents the results of investigations of how you can attract more attention from the media and the public. Contursi made this an exceptional work by organizing exhibitions of the piece in various numismatic conventions, press conferences with major media and everywhere highlighting the character of historic treasured piece.

The success of this strategy is in sight and clearly proves a point that the enormous added value generated numismatic and historical research in one piece in order to attract the collators to buy coin sets see complete rang by click-able link

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Collectible Coins - Francesco Gnecchi And Roman Medallions

Gnecchi Francesco was born in 1847 in the heart of a wealthy family of textile manufacturers specialized in the production of silk. He studied law at the University of Pavia, but after getting his degree, began to address the family business, an activity that combined with painting, producing mainly works of a landscape. Gnecchi began collecting Roman coins from 1870 and in a few years, his collection grew to become a basis for his studies, a series of pamphlets published in conjunction with his brother Ercole Gnecchi. Along with the latter and other enthusiasts, Francesco 1888 participated in the founding of the Rivista Italiana di Numismatica, initially led by Solon Ambrosoli and, later, by him and his brother. In its pages published important contributions to many fields of Roman numismatics. This magazine keeps appearing on continuously since that year and is now one of the most prestigious in this field. In 1892, Gnecchi was also one of the founders of the Italian Numismatic Society which still has its headquarters in Milan and carries forward the issue of the magazine.

 The rigor and quality of the work of Francesco earned him rapid international recognition and in 1906 was awarded the medal of the Royal Numismatic Society of London. His great contribution is the study of Roman medallions. Early on, Gnecchi became interested in particularly Roman medallions which concentrated its efforts as a collector and numismatist. Result of this interest, appeared in 1912 his most important work,

I Medaglioni Romani, in three volumes (the second and third with two parts each). Despite having already served a century, this work remains a source of reference and essential reference for these pieces.

Unfortunately, although it is in the public domain for decades, it is not available online in full as its only two parts have been digitized at the site including Francesco died in 1919 and he continued to buy collectible coins ( his last days coming to gather some 20,000 pieces in total of all periods of Roman history, but especially rich in medallions. One of his most notable was the magnificent ‘Senigallia Medallion’ which was discovered in 1894 and bought by Gnecchi. Fortunately, the unique value of the collection was recognized and the Italian state purchased it to their heirs in 1923.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

US Coin Proof Set Price - What Are Contorniatos?

Those who follow this blog must be interested in knowing more about the Contorniatos, so in today’s post, we are going to talk about this interesting subject.

It is commonly referred to as ‘contorniatos’ a certain kind of pseudo-monetary medallions produced in Rome during the IV and V centuries AD of the similar size to a sestertius. The name "contorniato" is a modern designation numismatic studies are already in the sixteenth century and comes from the Italian word "contour". With this term refers to the grafila, i.e. the thin sunken line marks the edge of the front and back and which is the main feature of Contorniatos.

The second feature is that almost all blanks contorniatos have slightly raised edges, hammering effect was obtained Flan singing. The grafila is generally recorded on the inner side of that edge. Clearly, this incision is performed once the piece had been coined as in some cases it can be seen that the letters short legends. The bill distinguishes the contorniatos finally also by the limited visibility of their motives and the thinness of the tokens used.

Besides this peculiar formatting, contorniatos share many other unique attributes. They are typically of brass, although some are also conserved brass and other alloys. The vast majority was coined similarly to the coins of the time, but copies are known cast and others who have been directly recorded in the flan. All share represented motifs finally bill similar style somewhat awkward, spelling errors abound in their legends. It is also common, find monograms etched on their faces.

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The reasons are varied represented and there seems to be a clear connection between the front and back, at least not one recognizable today. However, the great common denominator are representations linked to the great Roman games, especially chariot races in the Circus Maximus and theatrical themes.
The scientists have made the most different explanations about what its role has been in the history.

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Monetary Reform Of Diocletian – Part Four

The gold and silver coins were accompanied by a series of new denominations of fleece. The most important of all was a completely original piece, minted in 1/30 of the Roman pound, or about 10.8 grams and a silver plated representing between 5% and 4% of the total weight. This new piece is usually designated as follis (by assimilation of large bronze coin introduced by the monetary reform of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius), but probably it was known simply as nummus, the Latin term for currency. The term referred follis fact at this time to standard coin bags, containing 125 parts of silver and had a seal certifying the content, something very convenient when exchanging large numbers.

The nummus be produced in prodigious quantities to become the backbone of the new system. Also occurred, although to a much lesser quantity and quality, two fractional parts, which would quickly be discontinued; a) A small coin minted to 1/100 of the Roman pound (3.2 grams) with radiated bust made of bronze but with a thin silver coverage from 1 to 1.25% of its weight, and b) a bronze coin (now included in the collection of antique coins minted laureate bust in 1/200 of the Roman pound (1.6 grams). The value of this last piece amounted to a denarius communis (dc), the traditional name of the Roman system, for inflation during the third century, had become a currency of no specific monetary equivalent. The DC was still used to express the value of goods as we see clearly in the famous edict of Diocletian maximum prices of which more later on.

It is clear that all parts of the new monetary system had fixed exchange rates stipulated in DC in the following way;

Golden = 600 dc
Pentads = 300 dc
Argenteus = 25 dc
Nummus = 5 dc
Lacing fleece = 2 dc
Laureate bronze = 1 dc

That the nummus was tariff on 5 dc is demonstrated by Siscia and Alexandria parts that bear the mark of value XX and XXI, indicating that amounted to 20 sesterces, i.e. 5 pence. Some copies of Antioch carry also the letters K and V indicating 20 sesterces and 5 pence.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Monetary Reform Of Diocletian – Part Three

In the earlier parts of this series, we saw the steps taken by Diocletian before full reform of the monetary system i.e. improvement in the standard and quality of the gold coins. In this part, we are going to analyze the new names introduced in the year 293 AD.

The Introduction Of The New System In 293 AD

In the year 293 AD, with the appointment of Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, the political system of the Tetrarchy was finally established and the speed of administrative and fiscal reforms began to accelerate. In this context, we undertook a more ambitious monetary reforms pre-modern history, involving a radical break with the existing system.

Not know the exact time of its implementation, but was held without a doubt, between the years 293 and 294 AD, preferring the more recent authors as Kenneth Harl or Richard Abdy, the earliest date. The overall objective of the reform was to return to a system similar to the one introduced during the High Empire by Nero, that is, a nostalgic return to a golden past.

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In the golden reformed now joined a new minted silver coin weighing 1/96 of the Roman pound (XCVI number on the back of some emissions) i.e. about 3.4 grams, though most were wedged beneath the target weight. It was the first piece of pure silver out of the Roman mints and reproduced in a century, in fact, the standard of the denarius of Nero and his law of 95% purity. It seems that this piece was designated argentous.

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Monetary Reform Of Diocletian – Part One

We present here the first part of a series of articles devoted to analyze in detail about the currency reform introduced by Diocletian in the late third century AD, it would, in many ways, the starting point of the monetary system of the Lower Empire.

Diocletian's rise to the throne of the Roman Empire in the year 284 AD did not differ from that of most of his predecessors during the controversial shooting third century AD, the murder of an emperor confusing circumstances and choice, by the army, a successor from their own ranks, but the new sovereign achieved the current cycle of instability for decades and started a lasting reign marked by the significant reforms in many of the central aspects of the organization of the State. Some, such as the establishment of the Tetrarchy (multiple-emperor government) would only experiments that would lack continuity, but others, such as tax reform and the creation of a bureaucracy, laid foundation for what we know as the Lower Roman Empire.

One of the most complex political changes introduced by Diocletian and his colleagues was his effort to provide the Roman world of a new monetary system. The deterioration in the quality of the coin, the loss of confidence in it and inflation was three inherited problems which might have faced if Diocletian intended that fiscal and administrative plans viable. In the year 274 AD, Emperor Aurelian had already introduced a currency reform to address these challenges, but their impact was limited and new standards were quickly relaxed. The changes brought on by the Tetrarchs have, however, a much more profound impact, especially since it would implement in phases over an extended period of time.

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The Monetary Reform Of Diocletian – Part Two

Gold Coins Diocletin - In the year 285 AD, Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar military experience, that is, as his colleague and heir to the throne. The following year promoted him to Augustus, establishing, in fact, a diarchy. During these early years of his reign, the consolidation of his power and the restoration of the borders remained busy with Diocletian and his colleague, so that monetary policy did not receive much attention continuing with the existing designation coinage.

Diocletian and Maximian gave, however, the first step to improve the standard of the gold coins leading in the year 286 AD, the golden target weight of 1/70 of the Roman pound to 1/60, equivalent to about 5.4 grams. Acuñarían also in the mint of Rome, some ceremonial golden 1/50 of a pound and numerous medallions or multiples of various sizes, such as those found in the famous treasure of Beaurains. The standard of the gold coins had deteriorated considerably during the third century with ever smaller pieces and less purity. To this was added a significant degree of variability in weight between different copies blanks, reflecting the poor manufacturing of the same. The new golden Diocletian, however, were minted with greater control and its weight is much more uniform.

The new gold coins were used mainly to pay soldiers and civil servants. In an inflationary environment and poor quality coin, it is certain that, according to Gresham Leyde, these pieces were especially treasured, so its impact on the monetary system was smaller.

The aforementioned Beaurains treasure is a clear example of this process. I recovered included twenty jewels (gold coin pendant, bracelets, earrings, buckles, rings, pendants, some of which were made with coins see the complete pics., various pieces of silver (a chandelier, two spoons, a slug), and 472 coins, of which twenty large gold medallions were minted by Constantine I. The medallions were minted at the mints of Trier and Rome, and who buried surely had received as gifts from the Emperors between 285 and 310DC, and it is likely that it was a high-ranking officer of the Imperial Army. The fact that coins and medallions were treasured for a long period of time in conjunction with other gold and silver items clearly shows that every object of these metals could serve as an ingot.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The World's Most Valuable Coin: 10 Million For 1794 Silver Dollar

Since the coin is the basic subject of the blog, we try to discuss about the coins from all over the world and today we are talking about the American coins. It is important to tell you that in the last January 24, 2012, Stack Bowers auctioned a silver dollar ‘flowing hair’ 1794 to the fortune of $ 10,016,875. It is the highest price ever achieved at auction for a coin. The previous record was the same house in conjunction with Sotheby's, to be sold in 2002 Double Eagle, 1933 for the impressive sum of $7,590,020.

This remarkable figure was apparently the result of a hard struggle between various stakeholders for the reason that this coin depicts allegedly the best known example of this coinage with excellent gradation which in the opinion of the quite a few experts suggests that this is the first piece produced in 1794, the year when silver dollars were issued for the first time. This money would then be the first dollar of history, a title account that explains of its value.

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The coin was acquired by the house numismatic Legend Numismatics, and the owners said that they were willing to pay much more to be done yet this piece, which they have no intention of selling it for a while. Certainly consider it an excellent investment and its value will raise considerably over the passing time.

I think this record is a clear indication of the general trend of global numismatic market which extends to the specific market of Greek and Roman coins. It seems that, for the moment, the value of the most coveted pieces is no roof and would not surprise me that this year we saw other auctions with spectacular values.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Story of Binio (The Double Aureus) Of Galo Trebonianus – Component # 2

This post is in continuity with the last one.

David Sear considered likely that the Binio had been valued according to their weight (Roman Coins and their values, vol. III, p. 227) but if so, would have had no incentive to introduce this new currency. In my opinion, the purpose of the Roman state was that the coin would be accepted at face value, at least by those who receive the latter, which have been mostly soldiers and officials. It is difficult, however, that then circulated Binio its market value when the constant handling had already alerted golden economic actors about the need to determine the quality of each part used in a the transaction.

The production of nuismática the brief reign of Galo also distinguished by the originality of some of its reverse types which can only be interpreted as allusions to the complex situation of the empire in those years. The Binio is a clear example. Its back to the representation of Apollo "healer" should be interpreted, no doubt, as a request to God to release Rome from the suffering caused by the plague.

The End

Reassured temporarily Danube front, new problems erupted in the East. In 251, Shapur annexed Armenia, and soon after took Nisibis. In a brilliant lightning campaign the following year would capture Antioch. From 252 until well into the 253, the Persians terrorized the surrounding area, but the population of the region organized his own military resistance against the enemy, making Shapur saw eventually forced to retire. Since the summer of 253, the proclamation of Emilio Marco Emiliano-Galo's successor as governor of Moesia, by his troops. His subsequent march on Rome to face the Gothic king Galo Cniva encouraged to take advantage of the situation and renew hostilities. As had been few troops in the province could advance without much trouble to Macedonia. At the same time, Emiliano out winner of the civil war and was killed Galo.

The target may have been backed Emiliano the Danube to ensure that border before proceeding against Persia, however, faced a new rival for dominance of the imperial throne, Valeriano. The armies of the two met in September of 253, near Spoletium, where Emiliano, before the start of the fight, was killed by his own men who recognized as the emperor Valerian.
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Monday, 7 October 2013

The Story of Binio (The Double Aureus) Of Galo Trebonianus – Component # 1

In the first part of this post, I present a brief introduction to the reign of Treboniano Galo and monetary production. Today, this emperor is a little known but had to deal with one of the most critical periods in the history of Rome, marked by military disaster and a terrible epidemic.

A Reign Of Chaos

After the death of Decius, the overall situation seems to become of a chaotic empire accentuating the weakness of borders and the internal struggle for the power. Again, a new emperor had to be elected on the spot. The troops chose C. Vibius Trebonianus Gallus, governor of Moesia Senate. Galo quickly needed to make peace with the Goths both to stabilize a military situation could not be reversed easily, like to travel to Rome to secure his position on the throne. The Goths agreed to leave the imperial territory, but on condition of their captives and booty, and payment by the rule of an annual grant. After agreeing with the Goths, Galo returned to Italy, and his proclamation was formally confirmed by the Senate. A military crisis is compounded by the devastation caused by the plague, which seems to have reached its peak during the brief reign of Gallus.

The payment of subsidies to ensure peace with the Goths aggravated undoubtedly the already delicate financial situation of the empire forcing a further reduction in the silver content antoninianus to cover the rising costs. Galo Treboniano's reign marked and a new floor for the antoninianus that started minting coins with just a little more than 35% silver.

Double Golden, "Binio" By Galo Treboniano

Galo's reign also marked the golden deterioration. For the first time, during the reign of Gallus reduced the purity of gold used to cradle which fell from 99% to 97%. Furthermore, the file was used to introduce a "golden double" (traditionally called "Binio"), a gold coin valued heavier twin was noted in the conventional manner by the portrait of the emperor on the obverse striped crown. Although theoretically equivalent to two golden, the Binio had an average weight of only 5.8 grams, while the golden Galo reached the 3.65 grams. That is, their metal content was well below to the two golden face values.

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Monetary History Of Maximino Rome To Gordian III – The Last Part

This post is being written in the sequence as the third and the last part.

Maximin marched with an army to Italy with determination to crush the insurgents. At first glance, the makeshift army assembled by his opponents seemed to be no match for his experienced troops. However, instead of moving quickly toward the capital, Maximino was delayed at the site of the city of Aquileia. Although delay is, the old soldier still could have come out victorious, but their overemphasis on the effort and discipline generated only disaffection among his exhausted and demoralized troops. After four weeks, beginning June 238 - the army finally mutinied, killed Maximino and recognized Pupienus, Balbinus and Gordian III as the legitimate sovereigns.

The news of the death of Maximin was enthusiastically received in Ravenna and Rome. Balbinus and Pupienus was recognized throughout the empire, but his situation did not stop therefore being precarious. The differences between them are added to the problem of what role awarded to Gordian III. The main problem, however, was economic. To finance his campaign against Maximino and donations that any new Emperor should grant the troops, and Balbinus reintroduced Pupienus Antoninianus, currency invented by Caracalla about 25 years earlier, but now wedging millionaire quantities and with a silver content even lower. Its nominal value was two pence, but its silver content represented only 70% of the silver content of these two currencies. Thus, the Roman monetary system virtually be passed trustee as the metal backing the currency value would, from this point, merely symbolic.

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Balbinus Pupienus never won the confidence of the army and after just two months in office, in early August 238, were killed in Rome by the Praetorian Guard, who proclaimed the young Gordian III as Augustus. Over the coming years, the rule would be controlled by the directors of the young emperor who would encourage showing respect for the Senate and restore their ancient rights and privileges. The new government tried to avoid a reputation for rapacity which had proved so costly to Maximino, and efforts were made to reduce the tax burden. The solution was, again, the deterioration of the coins. The denarius minting stopped and antoninianus astronomical figures came in suffering the gradual deterioration of their quality throughout their reign.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Monetary history Of Maximino Rome To Gordian III – Part 2

This post is related with the last one and I am continuing it from the poit where I left it.

Maximino represented a new kind of emperor who did not seek to relate to the ruling elites of the empire in the traditional ways. His reign marked the beginning of a period of political instability repeatedly tend to aggravate economic and fiscal problems of the Roman state. In late March of 238 AD, a revolt broke out in Thysdrus (now El Djem), in the province of Africa Proconsular, which had its starting point in the resistance of the landlords against imperial collectors. The governor of the province, the old M. Antonio Roman Gordian Semproniano participated in the revolt and was hailed as emperor, taking his son and namesake as his colleague on the throne.

When the governor of Numidia and the army intervened to quell the revolt, the situation became hopeless for Gordian. About three weeks after its proclamation, were decisively defeated before the walls of Carthage. Gordian II died in the battle and his father hanged himself in the city. This seemed to have been the end of the incident; however, Gordian had charge of announcing the theft to the Roman Senate, who rushed to support them. Maximino and his son were sentenced as public enemies and its officials and supporters in the city wee also killed. The Senate support made the new emperors recognized in many other provinces.

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When news of the quick end of the Gordian reached Rome, it was too late to change course. The emperors were deified dead, and two new occupants of the throne chosen from leading senators, M. Maximo Pupienus Clodius and D. Calvin Celio Balbinus. On the day of their appointment (late April or early May 238) Balbinus Pupienus were forced by the populace of Rome to accept as his colleague with the rank of Caesar, the grandson of Gordian I, M. Antonio Gordian (Gordian III) who was only thirteen years old.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Monetary history Of Maximino Rome To Gordian III – Part 1

Continuing the series of posts about the monetary history of Rome goes on here with the first years of the period commonly known as the "crisis of the third century AD".

Alexander Severus and his influential mother, Julia Mamaea were killed in the winter quarters of his troops near Mainz, in the first months of the year 235 DC. Maximino proclaimed troops, a general of relatively humble origin who had risen from the ranks of the army by the new possibilities opened by promoting reforms of Septimius Severus. It was a real emperor-soldier, a symbol of power shifts taking place within the political structure of the empire. His reign of only three years would be fully occupied with military operations on the borders of the Rhine and the Danube and he never visited the city of Rome. Maximino lived frugally and did not advocate paying subsidies seeking peace to the enemies of Rome.

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 Although he was not stingy with the troops, there was no wastage on wages and donations. To finance military operations, the new emperor was strict in tax collection and payments were demanded extraordinarily by the rich and the poor alike. Despite all of these measures, the silver content of the silver coins minted in the name of Maximin had a new drop from the already poor level coined by Alexander Severus. It also reduced the weight and size of the various denominations of bronze.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Spectacular Unique Pieces In The Auction Of Gorny & Mosch

This year I have not devoted much attention to my posts to the auctions because I think there are already many sites that specialize in this area and do a good job about reviewing them. However I can not pass over in silence of the appearance of a couple of pieces of particular interest, both from the point of view and from the historical numismatic between auctions, 215 of the German Gorny & Mosch to be held on 14 October in Munich.

The auction includes, of course, many other important pieces, but I would like to highlight two particularly striking because they are of great quality pieces that are also unique and original.

The first one is a Herculius Maximian argenteus, coined in Serdica and only this single specimen is known, particularly notable for its portrait of Maximian in the front with a nose more prominent. The emperor appears to be dressed as a consul and carrying in his hand the "map" of one branch of the laurel. The estimated value of this coin is more or less five thousand euros.

The second is, without doubt, the star of the entire auction which is a multiple of 6 solid gold coin of Constantine minted in Nicomedia to celebrate 30 years on the throne; it is surely a unique one. The portrait is superb with all the classic features in Constantinian style and has placed the great emphasis on particularly detailed representation of the imperial diadem.

The estimated price is around one hindered and fifty thousand euros and this medallion makes a lot more value in the auction. The coin piece was acquired in the year 1972 and remained in the hands of a single collector for 40 years since then.

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Spectacular Discovery Of A Mysterious Treasure Byzantine Jerusalem

The researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced Monday the discovery in archaeological excavations carried out in this city of a rare treasure of gold and silver artifacts and coins from the Byzantine era, the most impressive of which is a solid gold medallion 10 inches adorned with a menorah and other Jewish iconography.

The treasure was found in a Byzantine house in the area adjacent to the southern wall of the Temple Mount and dates from the early seventh century AD, most probably, during the brief Persian conquest of Jerusalem.

The discoverers speculate that the medallion decorated with the menorah would have been used as decoration for a Torah scroll. He himself had been hidden under the floor of the house along with 36 gold coins minted by several late Roman and Byzantine emperors from Constantine II and Mauritius. The treasure also includes some gold bracelets, earrings, silver bullion and gold hexagonal prism. What is surprising is that the coins found covered, despite their small number, a period of over 250 years. I think the only explanation for this phenomenon is that it was the savings accumulated by the same family through the several generations.

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The finding puts the treasure medallion clearly in a Jewish context, so that the discoverers speculate that the same stuff belongs to the period after the Persian conquest of it in 614 AD, in which the conquistadors gave to community the control over Jews who had collaborated with taking it. Subsequently, with the weakening of the Persian power, the Jews were expelled from the city. It is likely that the wealthy members of the community hid their wealth before leaving and never had a chance to recover.