FOUR RARE TRANSJORDAN LEAD TESSERAE
Catalog:Coins:Holy Land: stock #808151
Transjordan Mint, 95-76 B.C.
Obverse: Aramaic legend "Malka Alexandros" (King Alexander).
Reverse : Anchor in circle surrounded by Greek inscription.
Lead tesserae. Found in Judea. Excellent condition. Extremely rare.
14-16 mm diameter; 4.1-5.1 g
Worldwide shipping and Certificate of Authenticity included in price.
Export Approval from Israel Antiquities Authority.
Yaakov Meshorer, āAncient Jewish Coinage Vol. IIā, (New York: 1982)
Lead tesserae (tokens) were issued by the monarch to the poor to be redeemed for food and other commodities. Meshorer reports the lead tesserae of Alexander Janneaus are found almost exclusively in Transjordan, as was this example.
Tessera, a square, marked with a certain number of points, to serve as a ticket or a voucher. Tesserae were also small pieces of wood, of bone or of ivory, or of bronze, which received various names, according to the different purposes to which they were applied. Accordingly there were theatrical, gladiatorial, liberal (frumentariae), convivial, military, and hospitable tesserae.
Many of these are a species of coin, or counter, and are found in most large numismatic cabinets. From the times of the emperors they were chiefly employed for distribution amongst the people, to enable each individual to go with one or more of them, and receive the gifts which had been assigned to him, in corn, in oil, in money, and in evey other article of greater or less value. For this reason they were call tesserae liberalitatis.
Medals, struck when public distributions were made, present numerous examples of this kind, and the tessera, or tablet, appears in the right hand of the figure, which respectively personify Annona, and Liberalitas.