06. Coin hoards

Index:

Allen, Martin R. 1956-

Title:

Coin hoards 2011. Medieval and modern hoards / [Martin Allen, Marcus Phillips, Michael Märcher]

Published:

London : Royal Numismatic Society, 2011

Note:

Offprint from: Numismatic Chronicle 171 (2011) p. 425-434, pl. 64

 

Index:

Taha, Hamdan

Title:

A hoard of silver coins at Qabatiya, Palestine / by Hamdan Taha, Arent Pol

Series:

Khirbet bal'ama archaeological project ; vol. 4

Published:

Ramallah : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, 2006

Abstract:

A hoard of 420 silver coins from the early Ottoman Period, was found in Qabatiya, near Jenin. This large cache of coins was found in a cave northwest of Qabatiya in 1999, alongside the road, during the removal of a limestone slope to build a house. The work stopped when the first coins appeared and an excavation was done by the Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage. The coins, weighing altogether nearly 8 kg, were hidden in two jars in the cave that was also used for animals. The process of publishing the hoard was done under the auspices of the Department of Antiquities, within the joint Palestinian-Dutch archaeological project at Khirbet Bal’ama, financed by the Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Palestinian Authority. Surprisingly the hoard shows an early connection between Palestine and the Netherlands, because 316 of the coins are Dutch lion-dollars; the others are from Spain and some are from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France. For that reason the Dutch numismatist Arent Pol studied the hoard and the directors of the Khirbet Bal’ama project studied its archaeological and historical context. The coins date from between ca. 1535-1612 and were hidden in 1612/1613. But how did they reach Qabatiya and what was the value of the hoard at that time? In the early Ottoman Empire only small coins of silver and gold were used. But in Europe large silver coins were common, especially since much silver came from Spanish America. Merchants from Europe traded with the east Mediterranean region and through this also with the Far East, and used these coins. The coins had a high percentage of silver (with some copper) and were called reals (in Spain), or taler (in Germany), from which “dollar” and also the Dutch daalder were derived. The northern provinces of the Netherlands, revolting against the Spanish king, needed funding and had the same kind of coins minted since 1575, but with a lower silver content (75% instead of 85-90%). This was called leeuwendaalder (lion-dollar) because of the standing lion on one side. These were spread all over the world by European and especially Dutch tradesmen and also reached the Near East. There, their value was accepted like that of other European silver coins, having about the same weight (27gr) and size (40mm in diameter), which made them very popular also in Europe, prompting imitations and even fakes. Merchant were also active in the Levant, but there are clear indications that the owner probably was a local person, hiding the hoard at a place where he could easily reach it again • although at the end he did not pick it up! The value of the hoard for the owner may be imagined from what we know about taxes and other income information documented in the Ottoman tax-census records of that time. The hoard would have a value equal to two times the yearly tax levied from the population of Qabatiya (ca 500 inhabitants), which was one third of their produce per year. Or the amount of money that could be earned by a local peasant during 30 years, or even 50 years, in an agriculturally less rich area.