In an archaeological excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority
, which was conducted on Koifman Street in north Yafo, prior to infrastructure work by NTA - Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd, an impressive gold coin from the reign of Napoleon III was uncovered.
The ten franc coin was minted in Paris in 1856, at the time of the Second French Empire, and is made of almost completely pure gold (93%).
The image appearing on the obverse is that of Louis Napoleon III. In 1848 Napoleon III was elected president of the Second Republic and following a coup détat in 1852 he appointed himself Empereur des Francais like his famous uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte.
According to Robert Kool, a numismatist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the discovery of gold coins during archaeological excavations is a rare occurrence. This is the first time that such a coin was found in an excavation in Yafo. However, we know that European gold coins were common in the Ottoman Empire which suffered a severe financial crisis in the late nineteenth century. Documents and coins that were found in the past in Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva attest to the popularity of European gold, especially in remote provinces like Palestine, until the end of the First World War.
The excavation on Koifman Street, which ended last week, was directed by archaeologist Eriola Jakoel of the Israel Antiquities Authority. In addition to the coin, the foundations of buildings from the Late Ottoman period, as well as coins from different periods and fragments of pottery vessels dating from the time of the Bible until the Late Ottoman period were discovered during the course of the excavation.