The Roman Empire
Pontius Pilate





Coin Details

Design Description: Pontius Pilate Prutah
Full Grade: NGC Select
Owner: Kohaku

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Roman Empire
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Explorer

Owner Comments:

Despite its rather unimpressive appearance, heavy wear, and relative abundance, this ancient coin nonetheless bears a fascinating history. It was produced and circulated in Judaea, a Roman province with authority to strike its own coinage. It bears the value of one prutah, the standard denomination struck by the Judaean prefects. Most intriguing, this coin was struck in 30-31 AD Jerusalem by Pontius Pilate.

Like much of Pilate’s coinage, the coin’s obverse depicts a lituus, a wooden staff commonly employed by priests in pagan rituals. Unlike other Roman provincial coinage, prutah never bore the image of any person or animal, respecting the local prohibition against graven images. Even so, the choice of the lituus may have been Pilate’s attempt to promote Roman sensibilities among the locals. These prutahs also bore the epithet TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC, a reminder they were the coins of Emperor Tiberius.

Regardless of one’s specific religious beliefs, there is no denying fascination with the time and locale wherein this coin circulated. In addition to their usual military and fiduciary (i.e., tax collecting) roles, prefects also served judicial responsibilities. As such, Pontius Pilate was responsible for presiding over trials and doling out punishments for state criminals. In the year 30 AD, by concord among modern experts, he conducted perhaps the most infamous trial in history, that of Jesus the Nazarean. According to gospel accounts, Pilate mollified his subjects by condemning Jesus to crucifixion, the requisite capital punishment of the time. These actions fueled a new religion, and over time Christianity’s path would intertwine with the very Roman Empire herself.

Besides the gospels, little else is know about Pilate’s life. The only relevant artifact ever recovered is the Pilate Stone, bearing his inscription to Tiberius, discovered among the ruins of a theatre in the ancient Judaean capital, Caesarea Maritima. Of course, also remaining are Pilate’s coins, relatively abundant (for ancients) and accessible to those interested. To hold and contemplate such a coin – that touched many hands at a monumental time and place in history – illustrates the fascination and intrigue of ancient coin collecting.

Coin Details: ROMAN PROVINCIAL, JUDAEA, Pontius Pilate AD 30-31, Prutah, NGC Grade: N/A (Money of the Bible), Obverse: Lituus, [TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC]?, Reverse: Wreath, [LIZ/H]?, References: Hendin 1342a, SGICV 5623.

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