Palestine Mandate Coins – Post WWII: The Meltdown
When World War II ended in 1945, Europe was in shambles. Two thirds of the European Jewish population had been exterminated by the Nazis. Several hundred thousand Jewish survivors languished in displaced persons camps. They wanted no part of the continent that had literally reduced their families to ashes. With the War over, the Herculean task of implementing the Balfour Declaration began. In November, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two different countries, a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted the partition plan, the Arabs did not. On May 15, 1948, for the first time in nearly two millennia, the Menorah was rekindled in the land of the biblical patriarchs as the State of Israel was reborn. Following the War of Independence in 1948, Israel took control of new territories, but the Gaza Strip would remain under Egypt’s control while Jordan retained the West Bank. With the British Mandate completely dissolved and new nations created throughout its former area, the Palestine coins, the currency of the realm, would soon be relegated to the dustbin of history.
Israel demonetized the coins on September 15, 1948. On June 9, 1951, Egypt declared the Palestine money no longer legal tender in Gaza. A few weeks later, on June 30, 1951, Jordan followed suit. In the years and decades that followed, the vast majority of the Palestine coins were melted down. Only a mere fraction survived the crucible.
The Palestine Mandate coins and currency became footnotes in history books while the few remaining coins were eagerly sought out by collectors. With the British gone, a new monetary system was developed by the Israeli government. The name given to this new legal tender was adapted from the currency mentioned in Torah: the Shekel.