The gold coin, minted in 107AD under the reign of Trajan, was discovered by Laurie Rimon in some tall grass while hiking with friends north of Galilee. The example of this Augustus commemorative which was housed in the British Museum was thought to be the only surviving example of this type until the discovery of this second piece – quite the find indeed!
The Aureus was worth 25 Denarii at the time that it was issued – a denomination so high that it would only have been of practical use in large transactions or taxation. When there were shortages of silver coin among military paymasters, gold was used in stead – a much loathed replacement by the troops who found it next to impossible to actually spend high-denomination specie.
For her part, Ms. Rimon was quoted as saying that “it was not easy parting with the coin [because] after all, it is not every day one discovers such an amazing object.” She has been awarded a certificate of recognition by the Israeli government for her discovery and honesty.