Rare 2,200-Year-Old Coin Found in Israel

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Archaeologists in Israel said they've unearthed the most valuable coin ever found in the region.

The coin, which dates back nearly 2,200 years, was found at Tel Kedesh near the Lebanese border on June 22.

The artifact only weighs one ounce (28 grams) but is estimated to be worth somewhere around $80,000.

"This coin was equivalent to a hundred silver coins in antiquity," said Donald T. Ariel, head of the Coin Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority. "It must have been equivalent to half a year or a year's salary in one coin."

The coin is believed to have been minted in Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy V in 191 BC. Archaeologists speculated that it may show the portrait of the ruler's wife, Cleopatra I.

"Most people didn't walk around with such coins - this coin has ceremonial or symbolic significance and was probably meant to be used in a temple dedicated to Queen Arsinoe," Ariel said.
    
The ancient find is only the second gold coin from that time period that's ever been discovered.

**Originally published August 12, 2010. 

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