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ALL CONTENTS UNDER RESERVE

EXPLICITLY WITHOUT PREJUDICE

 

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Coin Name

Relation to other coin

equiv. grams

equiv. in silver( Troy OZ)

Worth then

Worth today

Prutah [ae]

1/8 issur

0.01844

0.00059

$0.20

$0.011

Issur (assarius) [ae]

8 prutahs

0.1475

0.0047

$1.60

$0.085

pundyon (dupondius) [ae]

2 issurs

0.2950

0.0095

$3.20

$0.17

ma'ah (obol) [ar]

2 pundyons

0.59

0.0190

$6.40

$0.34

dinar, zuz (denarius, drachm) [ar]

6 ma'ahs

3.54

0.114

$38.40

$2.05

"shekel" (didrachm, Stater) [ar]

2 drachms,denarii

7.08

0.228

$76.80

$4.10

 

sela, istira (tetradrachm) [ar]

2 didrachms, 4 drachms

14.16

0.455

$153.60

$8.19

(aureus in gold)

dinar zahav, dinar (aureus) [au]

25 denarii

88.50

2.845

$960.00

$51.22

$277.49

Maneh (minah)

100 drachms, denarii

354.00

11.381

$3,840.00

$204.86

Kikar (talent)

60 Maneh

 

682.8819

$230,400.00

$12,291.87

[ae] = Bronze, [ar] = Silver, [au] = Gold

2/25

2/25

1 Troy Ounce = 31.1 grams. 1 regular ounce =28.3 grams.

The "worth then" column is based on the the fact that the dinar was the daily wage, a loaf of bread cost a pundyon

in the cities while costing only an issur italki in the country, and a cheap fruit costed a prutah.

as of May 19,2009

We can therefore guesstimate that silver is worth about $330/oz back then. Today silver is

$18.00

per ounce

wholesale prices

These coins and prices are accurate for the time period right before the Destruction of the Second Temple (66 CE).

The names in parentheses are the secular names for the coins.

gold(oz)

$1,128.00

Notes:

silver(oz)

$18.00

1. The prutah, issur, and pundyon were bronze or copper [ae], and were Roman. The ma'ah was silver [ar] , and was a Greek coin.

2. While the official issur and pundyon were bronze, there were fractions of silver ma'os in circulation earlier that were the equivalents.

Shekel Rate

The Rosh and Rashi argue if the issur and pundyon were bronze or silver. We see they're both right.

4.00

3. The Roman dinar and Greek drachm were originally equivalent. Later the Roman Empire started shrinking its denarii.

They compounded this by mixing in base metals with its silver, ruining its purity and causing runaway inflation.

4. The "shekel" is a coloquial term for the didrachm used to pay the half-shekel Temple tax. Its value is only a half-shekel.

The sela is, in fact, the actual shekel. The Aramaic-speaking Jews of the era called it a sela.

5. The dinar zahav was a gold coin [au] . At this point in time, the silver:gold ratio was 13:1. Gold is much denser than silver,

thus the 25:1 price ratio, even though both the dinar and the dinar zahav were the same physical size.

6. The dinar was called a "zuz" in Aramaic. The dinar zahav was called a "dinar" in Aramaic.

7. The maneh and kikar were the aquivalent of a "grand" in American idiom- they represented a number but were not real currency.

8. One must keep in mind that ancient societies were subsistence living, with meat being a rare luxury. Furthermore, all

clothing items were hand-tailored and very expensive. Therefore, direct comparisons of prices and income are impossible.

9. The Shulchan Aruch rules that one should go by the slightly larger "mithqal" standard (17.2 gm/tetradrachm instead of the Tyrian 14.16)

for all money halachos. To enlarge these weights into halachic size, multiply each equivalent by 1.2006. The Chazon Ish rules that

a shekel tzuri is 19.2 grams. This works out to .617 Troy Oz per Sela.

10. Babylonian amoraim used the Sassanian coinage, a modified Greek system. There were no isser italkis or pundyons.

bronze coins were peshittim ("pashiz"). The zuz was also called the "drahm". The golden dinar did exist, but was not Roman.

This coin is referred to as the dinar (the zuz being the drachm). 4 zuzim = 1 istira ("ster).

11. This chart is for information purposes only and is not to be relied upon for halacha.

 

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