½ Lira Feast of Purim


Issuer Israel
Period State of Israel (1948-date)
Type Non-circulating coin
Years 5721-5722 (1961-1962)
Calendar Hebrew
Value ½ Israeli Pound (½ ILP)
Currency Pound (1960-1980)
Composition Copper-nickel
Weight 12 g
Diameter 30 mm
Shape Round
Technique Milled
Orientation Medal alignment ↑↑
Demonetized 1980
Number N# 18760
References KM# 31
Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins / 2001-Date (14th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States.
And 5 more volumes.

Commemorative issue

Feast of Purim - "Half Shekel of The Temple"


Above, the word "Israel" in Hebrew and Arabic, and the mint year "5721" in Hebrew characters (corresponding to 1961). In the center the face value "Half Israeli Lira" in Hebrew.

Scripts: Arabic, Hebrew

اسرائيل • ישראל • תשכ'א

Israel 5721 (1961)
Half Israeli Lira

Engravers: Rothschild, Lippman


A raised reproduction of an ancient silver half-shekel with beaded rim from the third year of the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans 66-73 C.E. In the center of the ancient coin is a chalice. Above it are the two Paleo-Hebrew letters for "Year 3" of the revolt 68 C.E., and around it, in Paleo-Hebrew letters, the Hebrew for a Half Shekel.

Script: Hebrew

Lettering: חצי השקל שג

(Half shekel y(ear) 3)

Engravers: Rothschild, Lippman




Royal Dutch Mint (Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt), Utrecht, Netherlands (1010-date)


The origin of the use of the "Half-Shekel" coin is to be found in the Bible, Exodus 30:11 -1 5.
"The Lord spoke unto Moses: When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel This they shall give... one half shekel The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel when they give an offering." The tax was equal for all, rich and poor, because every person is equal before G-d. Half a Shekel and not a whole Shekel signified that a person cannot obtain completeness alone.

Today, on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Adar, known as "Shabbat Shekalim", the special "Shekalim" portion of the Torah is read. On the eve of Purim, the equivalent of a Half Shekel is donated in commemoration of the original Half Shekel Tax.

In the year 5721-1961, the Bank of Israel issued a special Half-Shekel coin (Half of an Israeli Lira) which was legal tender in the State of Israel. Bearing a face value of Half an Israeli Lira, it became an appropriate coin with which to perform the commandment of commemoration of the "Half-Shekel".

See also

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Date Mintage VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
5721 (1961)  19 939 $ 9.00 $ 9.40 $ 9.70 50% תשכ״א (BU)
5721 (1961) מ 4 901 $ 9.90 7% תשכ״א (Proof)
5722 (1962)  19 890 $ 3.60 $ 5.30 $ 8.30 50% תשכ״ב (BU)
5722 (1962) מ 9 894 $ 10 11% תשכ״ב (Proof)

Values in the table above are expressed in USD. They are based on evaluations by Numista users and sales realized on Internet platforms. They serve as an indication only; they are not intended to be relied upon for buying, selling or exchanging. Numista does not buy or sell coins or banknotes.

Frequencies show the percentage of Numista users who own each year or variety among all the users who own this coin. Since some users own several versions, the sum may be greater than 100%.

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