Shekel of Tyre,
KP Jerusalem Shekel,
The Temple Tax & the
“30 Pieces of Silver”

Biblical Coins from the time of Jesus Christ ~ Mark 12:41-44
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The Same Or Next Business Day
The shekel of Tyre, along with the “Widow’s Mite” lepton coin and the silver Tiberius denarius “Tribute Penny” are among the most popular Biblical era coins sought after with collectors of Biblical interest. The shekel is referred to a number of times in the New Testament since it was a coin of significant importance in Israel during the time of Christ.

Originally, the silver shekels, both the full and half shekels, were produced in the city of Tyre. By the half century before the birth of Christ, they had become the predominant coin in the Judaeo-Phoenician area of the world. After Rome occupied Israel, Israel was no longer authorized to mint their own currency. Since the Jewish Talmud required the Temple tax to be paid with a coin of high purity of silver, the Tyre shekels and half shekels were the only acceptable coins available that met Jewish law requirement.

While the shekels of Tyre were part of the centuries old progression of the Greek tetradrachm coins. Shekels of Tyre were considered financially stable and of good silver quality, they did present one major problem however, the use of these coins violated the First Commandment: “I am the Lord, your God. You shall have no other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on earth below, or under the sea.” In fact, the silver shekels minted in Tyre were doubly blasphemous - they depicted the head of Baal, the chief deity of the Phoenicians on the obverse and on the reverse, they depicted an eagle engraved in the Egyptian style, with on claw resting on a ship's rudder. To make matter worse, the inscription read "Tyre, the Holy and Inviolable". Hardly an appropriate coin for the Temple.

So the Jews had a dilemma, either to not accept the coin and have a poor treasury, or the accept the coin with the graven images and have a Temple filled with currency. They chose to accept the money. However, since few devout Jews would carry a coin with a graven image, money changers set up business in the Temple courtyards to exchange whatever coins they carried for the shekels in which they could pay their Temple tax. The money changers knew that they could take advantage of the tax paying Jews and therefore they charged premium prices for their services. It was these moneychangers that Jesus overturned their tables and cried out "My house will be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!" Matthew 21:12-14

Click here to view and purchase available authentic Biblical shekels from the time of Jesus Christ.
“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matt 17:27
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.
Matt 26:14-15
Shekel Dating

To calculate the date a shekel was minted, you take the Greek number minted to the left of the eagle on the reverse side, and add that number to the start year of 127/6 BC.