Israel Issues Its First Gold Bullion Coin: The Tower of David

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Although coins have been issued by the State of Israel as far back as the first days of independence, May 12, 2010, Jerusalem Day, was the dawn of a new era. The Israel Coin and Medals Corp. (ICMC), exclusive distributor for the coins of the Bank of Israel, launched a new coin, which for the first time in Israel’s history, will trade based on its precious metal content. It is called Jerusalem of Gold and is the first in an annual series depicting historical sites in the city of Jerusalem. The 32 mm coin contains exactly 1 troy ounce of .9999 fine gold and is legal tender at a face value of 20 New Sheqalim. One factor that differentiates this coin from more familiar issues such as the Canadian Maple Leaf, South African Krugerrand, and American Eagle is that its mintage is limited to only 3,600 coins.

In contrast to that of most other coins, the price is not permanent, but fluctuates in accordance with the daily international price of gold. Pricing will be determined by ICMC each day at 9:00 Israel time, according to the US Dollar PM London fixing (LME) of 1 oz. of gold on the previous business day. To the US$ price of the gold will be added a 20% premium. The price set will remain in effect for 24 hours, i.e. until 9:00 Israel time the following day, for transactions completed that day. There is a strict limit of five gold coins per customer.

Ruins at Tel Megiddo. Photo: Joe Freeman / Wikipedia.

The obverse, which will be constant from year to year shows the Lion of Megiddo, with its stylized curved tail. It is taken from an ancient seal dating from the 8th century BCE excavated in Megiddo (Armageddon) in the Jordan Valley. The seal belonged to Shema, servant of Israelite King Jeroboam II. The lion is also the symbol of the 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 on the Half Shekel coin (1980). Above the figure of the lion is the State Emblem and below it the word “Israel” in English, Hebrew and Arabic. The reverse has the Tower of David rising above the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, near the  Jaffa Gate. The word “Jerusalem” appears above the tower, again in all three languages, the face value of 20 New Sheqalim, mintmark and year. On the right side are the words “1 oz. fine gold .9999” in Hebrew and English. The 2010 issue depicts the Tower of David. The design is the work of Meir Eshel.

The 2011 coin in the series will feature the timeless treasure, “The Western Wall,” the last remnant of the Second Holy Temple.

For learning more about coins from Israel, visit