What's at the Center? Numismatic Exhibition

​The exhibition shows the history of means of payment and the conduct of trade during various periods–from the pre-coin periods, via the invention of the first coins in the seventh century BCE, and up to the present day. The exhibition focuses on coins in circulation in the Land of Israel down the centuries. We see the first coins, minted by the Lydians in western Asia Minor and coins from ancient Greece, the civilization that pioneered the widespread use of coins. Alongside these are coins of the Persian Empire–of kings of Persia and of Judaean cities from the Persian period in the fourth century BCE. Ancient coins are shown in chronological order, from the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods to the Ottoman era, with emphasis on Jewish coins from the Hasmonaean and Herodian periods, and from the time of the Jewish rebellion against Rome and of the Bar Kokhba war.

Alongside the ancient coins we show two hoards, one found in the wreck of a sunken vessel, and the other, the savings of a wealthy inhabitant of Maresha, unearthed in archaeological excavations (near Beth Govrin). The exhibition also displays all of Israel’s banknotes and coins from the British Mandate period to the present day. Next to each coin is a photo of an ancient coin on which the motif of the modern coin is based. All Israeli coins, from the very first mintage in 1948, are modeled after ancient Jewish coins or other Jewish archeological artifacts. A separate display presents emergency money printed in Jerusalem by the British Mandate Government in the early 1940s. Here visitors can see trial print runs and original artwork for banknotes that were never put into circulation and were destroyed; these are specimens of the only banknotes ever printed in Jerusalem. The numismatic exhibition covers various other topics, such as money substitutes that were used in ancient and contemporary civilizations. Many of the 400 items in the exhibition are exclusive to the Bank of Israel collection.​​​