Guide to Biblical CoinsDavid Hendin (Six Hills, NY: Amphora, 1987) 224 pp., 16 plates, numerous line illustrations, $35.00
“Buy the book before the coin” was the slogan of a well-known dealer in numismatic books. It still applies. Beginners and advanced collectors alike should obtain numismatic expert David Hendin’s Guide to Biblical Coins.
More than a revision of Hendin’s earlier Guide to Ancient Jewish Coins (1977), this is a new book containing encyclopedic detail. Although designed for any collector of Jewish coinage, it serves especially well as a quick reference for those who lack years of experience and training. It opens the door to useful information and provides key bibliographic sources.
This well-arranged volume gives word descriptions of the coins, accompanied by photographs and line sketches; beside the sketches, it prints the coins’ Hebrew legends both in ancient Hebrew script and in the modern, square Hebrew script more familiar to most readers. One wishes for better photographs, but ancient bronze, usually poorly struck, is difficult to photograph well. In addition, line sketches reused from Hendin’s earlier book would have benefited from redrawing, but the cost may have been prohibitive.
Useful charts include dynastic genealogy, time lines, an alphabet chart and a parallel index to the various numbering systems. (The two numbering systems of Dr. Yakov Meshorer, however, need clarification.)