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“The Western Wall” – Bank of Israel issues a new Gold Bullion Coin

July 28, 2011 – While coins have been issued by the Bank of Israel since the early days of independence, Jerusalem Day 2011 (June 1st) was special. Israel Coins & Medals Corp. (ICMC), exclusive distributor for coins of the Bank of Israel, launched a new coin, in gold bullion, which trades based on its precious metal content. This is the second such bullion coin, called “The Western Wall”, in the “Jerusalem of Gold” Series, each of which depicts a significant historical site in the eternal city. The initial coin was “The Tower of David”, in 2010.

Each bullion coin is 32 mm (1,25 inch) and contains exactly 1 troy oz. of .9999 fine gold, with a face value of 20 New Sheqalim. The Israeli bullion is different from more familiar coins, like the Canadian Maple Leaf, South African Krugerrand or the American Eagle, in that its mintage is limited to only 3,600 coins. Once these have been struck, no further coins will be produced. Another innovation is that for each coin, a special stamp sheet has been produced, available separately, depicting the coin from various angles, produced by the Israeli Philatelic Service together with the ICMC.

In addition, unlike most other coins, the price is not permanent; rather it fluctuates in accordance with the daily international price of gold. Pricing is determined by the ICMC daily, at 9:00 AM Israel time, according to the USD PM London fixing (LME) of 1 oz. of gold on the previous business day. To that price a 20% premium is added and the set price remains in effect for 24 hours, or until 9:00 AM Israel time the following day, for transactions completed that day. Each bullion coin comes delivered in a handsome display box and is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

The actual coin is strikingly beautiful. The obverse, which remains constant in the series, portrays the famous Lion of Megiddo, with its stylized curved tail, taken from an ancient seal dating to the 8th cent. BCE and excavated in the ancient Israelite city of Megiddo (Armageddon in the New Testament), in the Jordan Valley. The seal belonged to Shema, servant of the Israelite King Jereboam II. The lion was also the symbol of the Biblical tribe of Judah and of Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem. The same Lion of Megiddo appeared in the past on Israel’s 5 Lira banknote (1958), 5 Lira coin (1978) and Half Sheqel coin (1980). Above the figure of the lion is the State Emblem and below it the word “Israel” in English, Hebrew and Arabic. The obverse side design is by artist Meir Eshel.

The reverse shows the Western Wall (“Kotel” in Hebrew) itself, which is the retaining wall of the Temple Mount and the sole remnant of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. It is reputed to be close to where the Holy of Holies once stood and, at this sacred place – the most significant site in the world for the Jewish People – the Divine Presence is believed never to leave. People come to visit and pray at the Western Wall 24 hours a day and significant events in Jewish and Israeli life are celebrated and commemorated there. Among the some 8 million visitors a year are presidents and kings and their prayers are written on notes and stuck within the crevices of the ancient stones. In the coin’s upper border, the word “Jerusalem” appears, also in English, Hebrew and Arabic and the design of the reverse side is by Igal Gabay.

For more information visit the ICMC website.

You may want to assist the first silent prayer in the day at least in a video clip.

For a slide show video of impressions of the “Western Wall” click here.

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