Back Home: A Rare 2000-Year-Old Silver Coin Worth $1M Has Been Returned to Israel by the US - The Scene

The US has repatriated almost 400 global antiquities this year alone.

Following a transcontinental intelligence operation, a rare coin worth $1 million was returned to Israel by the United States. The 2000-year-old quarter silver shekel coin dates back to 66-73 CE, during the fourth year of the Great Revolt or the first Jewish–Roman war.

Its value was announced by New York’s Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which organized the repatriation ceremony on Monday. According to CNN, investigators day the silver coin entered the black market before first being smuggled to the United Kingdom. 

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Tel Aviv, Israel / Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash.

US Homeland Security then seized the coin in 2017 at Denver, Colorado, where it was meant to go up for auction. 

“We are honored to return the Quarter Shekel, an exceedingly rare coin that has immense cultural value. Despite the complexity of this investigation, our team of prosecutors, analysts, and agents working with Israeli authorities were able to track down this antiquity in just a matter of months,” said District Attorney Bragg in a statement.

Symbol of independence 

Bragg adds that they have repatriated almost 400 global antiquities this year alone,” [we] look forward to many more of these ceremonies in the future.”

The 2000-year-old quarter silver shekel coin dates back to 66-73 CE. / Image by Miri Bar from

The item represents independence for Israel during the time of Rome’s presence in the land, now known as modern Israel, per Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel. 

“This recovery was only possible through the expertise and investigative work of HSI agents across the world, working together with antiquities experts and our partners at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and in Israel to ensure we could reclaim and return this important artifact to the people of Israel,” Patel continued in his statement. 

Banner image by Miri Bar from

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