Holy Land - 126-70 BC
“…then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver.”
- Matthew 26: 14-15
Of all the Biblical references to coins, the “thirty pieces of silver” paid to Judas Iscariot for his betrayal of Christ is perhaps the best known. Throughout numismatics, one of the coins most in demand by collectors who cherish their new testament is an example of the famous “Thirty Pieces of Silver” also known as a “Shekel of Tyre”.
Tyre was one of the primary ports in Phoenicia during the Greek and Roman period. It was of great commercial importance and exported coinage to Judaea where the coins circulated in great numbers. In the great temple of Jerusalem built by Solomon, these coins were used to pay taxes. The tax levied on the Jews was ½ Shekel per male member of the family. Because families were large, the Shekels saw more use and were more common.