The Shekel and Hanukkah Gelt

December 7, 1879: Based on information that originally appeared in an article entitled the “History of Money” by famed numismatist Sir John Lubbock, it was reported today that the ancient shekel is one of the most popular coins among collectors possibly because of its Biblical connection.  However, it is the most frequently counterfeited ancient coin and “of so-called shekels found among collectors, over three-fourths of them are forgeries.”

A Hanukkah tradition is to give chocolate gelt to children (I think adults enjoy them too!), which are pieces of chocolate shaped like the ancient shekels, probably somewhat stylized as they are perfectly round and wrapped in gold foil with images mimicking the biblical shekels.

Here is a very famous Israeli stamp (Scott No. 7), issued in 1948, with lower tab selvage describing the shekels pictured.  It is sought after by collectors who specialize in Israel (including yours truly) as its value as a collectible is significantly higher than most common stamps.  Today, this stamp is selling on eBay for $2,500.



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