The Bank of Israel Visitors Center has on display different currencies from the pre-coin periods, the invention of the first coins in the 600’s BCE, and up to the present day.
Many of the 400 items in the exhibition are exclusive to the Bank of Israel collection.
The exhibition mostly focuses on coins in circulation in the Land of Israel down the centuries.
On display are the first coins, minted by the Lydians and coins from ancient Greece – the civilization that pioneered the widespread use of coins.
Alongside these are coins of the Persian Empire, from Judaean cities during the Persian period in the 300’s BCE.
Ancient coins are shown in chronological order. Beginning with the Hellenistic, followed by Roman and Byzantine periods, to the Ottoman era.
The collection puts an emphasis on Jewish coins from the Hasmonaean and Herodian periods, and from the time of the Jewish rebellion against Rome and of the Bar Kokhba war.
Alongside the ancient coins on display are two hoards.
One discovered in the wreck of a sunken ship. The other, unearthed in archaeological excavations at Maresha (near Beth Govrin).
The exhibition also displays all of Israel’s banknotes and coins from the British Mandate period to the present day.
All Israeli coins, from the very first mintage in 1948, are modeled after ancient Jewish coins or other Jewish archaeological artifacts.
Next to each modern coin is a photo of an ancient coin on which its design is based.
A separate display presents emergency money printed in Jerusalem by the British Mandate Government in the early 1940s.
Here visitors can see trial print runs and original artwork for banknotes that were never put into circulation and were destroyed; these are specimens of the only banknotes ever printed in Jerusalem.
The numismatic exhibition covers various other topics, such as money substitutes that were used in ancient and contemporary civilizations.
The visit at the center includes two films.
One, illustrating the history and development of coins. The other, the bank’s central role in maintaining stable prices and the means used for that purpose.
In addition there are computer games which illustrate the bank’s role in maintaining price stability, maintaining the stability of banks, recognition of forged notes, and foreign currency.
There are also new exhibits, including one that outlines the story of the central bank’s establishment, including archival materials that have never before been shown to the public.
There is also an exhibit of modern Israeli art on the topic of money and its significance in day-to-day life.
The Bank of Israel Visitors Center is free of charge and offers a free tour, but you must arrange the visit and tour in advance.
It is located in a historic conservation building that was previously used as a post office and as the first telephone exchange in Tel Aviv.
The Visitors Center is located at 37 Lilienblum street, Tel Aviv.
The Center and all of its facilities are accessible for the disabled.