Dr. Arie Kindler 1920 - 2014

Arie Kindler, in memoriam

written by Cecilia Meir

Dr. Arie Kindler,passed away last Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, at the age of 94. 

Dr. Kindler was born on February 17, 1920 in Berlin. From his early childhood he turn to archaeology. One of his early memories was the opening of the Pergamon museumin his born town Berlin. He arrived in Israel with his family in 1933 after his father realize what dangerous they were there. He joined the Hagana in Tel-Avivin 1938 in which served for 10 years. In 1948 he served in the Israel Defense Forces and was in the reserve service until 1975. During the early 1940s, he used to browse around through the Arabs peddlers selling antiquities and coins in the market in Jerusalem, since then became an ardent collector and deeply interested in ancient history in general and Jewish history in particular, but his real devotion turned to the study of coins. A few years later he concentrated on ancient numismatics, becoming a leading authority in Hasmonean coinage.

Dr. Kindler stood at the cradle of the circle for ancient coins, founded on May 10, 1945, which became the Israel Numismatic society in 1949. In 1962 he founded the Kadman Numismatic Pavilion of the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel-Aviv ( former Haaretz Museum), serving as its director and curator for 35 years.  The museum started with a collection of 2000 coins donated by Leo Kadman (who also financed the building), 1000 from Kindler’s own collection and another 500 coins from Dr. Walter Moses collection. These coins became the nucleus of one of the largest and most important collections in Israel. During his 35 years at the Kadman Numismatic Museum, Dr.Kindler added some 80,000 items to its collections through donations, legacies and acquisitions. Dr. Kindler realized that a museum needs also a good and updated library, numerous store places and all the facilities that a modern museum has, which in those days were only dreams, but then he made them areality. At the museum he curated numerous temporary numismatics exhibition slike “From Paganism to Christianity”, “Jewish Mintmasters in Medieval Europe” and others that attract the interest of the public. 

But the most important one was the opening of the permanent exhibition in 1988. Till then most of the numismatics exhibition were tables and tables of coins. But he had the vision that his new didactic exhibition should also tell the story of the development of means of payment, from its beginnings in the 7th century BCE in ancient Greece to the modern era, emphasizing the history of Eretz Israel as reflected by its coins. The new exhibition became well known not only in Israel but in the numismatic community in Europe and the United Stated. He also supported the idea that a curator must be a researcher, to this end he started publishing papers in numismatics, and by the time that his formal academic education became a reality, much later, he was already a well-known scholar.   

His extensive bibliography demonstrates his broad fields of interest and his important contributions to the study of Holy Land numismatics and Jewish numismatics in particular. For almost 60 years he dedicated himself to the study of numismatics and it is unthinkable to imagine the Israel numismatic profession without Kindler’s pioneer’s activities. To which were added the editorship of ‘Alon (the Hebrew Journal of the Israel Numismatic society published between1966-1978), and member of the editorial board of the Israel Numismatic Journal. Dr. Kindler published more than two hundred scholarly papers in different fields of numismatics, especially in the history of the Land of Israel from the Persian period, the Yeud coins, through Hasmonaean, the Jewish and Bar-Kokhba war sagainst Rome, City coins, Byzantine, Arab periods to modern Israel coinage. His publications also included seven books on various numismatic subjects like: “The treasures of Judaean Coins”, The coins of Tiberias”, “The coins of the Land of Israel, Collection of the Bank of Israel”,  “Coins in Palestine throughout the Ages” in collaboration with Leo Kadman, “A bibliography of the City Coinage of Palestine from the 2nd century BC. to the 3rd century AD” in collaboration with Prof. Alla Stein. He wrote his Ph.D.dissertation on the “The Coinage of Bostra” under the supervision of Maria Radnoti-Alföldi at the J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, which was subsequently published as a book in 1983 by Aris & Phillips, Warminster. 

Dr. Kindler lectured at the Israel Numismatic Society, not only in every field of numismatics but he also conducted regular seminars about Greek and Roman coins. As well as teaching at the Department of Classical Studies of the Tel Aviv University (1974-1988) and at Bar Ilan University (1981-1992). He trained not only numerous studentsin numismatics, some of whom became experts in the field, but also collectors, amateurs and the general public. 

Arie Kindler was the numismatic expert to whom many archaeologists turned to consult about the identification of the coins retrieved from their excavations, which he eventually published over the years, from excavation like Aphek, Apollonia, Arad, Beer-Sheva, Tel-Qasile, a survey of the Galilee and more. Awaiting publication is his contribution to the forth coming volume of the report on Yavneh- Yam edited by Prof. Moshe Fischer.

Arie Kindler is survived by his daughter, Yael, his two grandchildren, David and Chen, and three great grandchildren

With his death the numismatic circles of Israel have lost one of their most active members, a great scholar and teacher. He will be missed and remembered with gratitude by his friends and colleagues.


Cecilia Meir


Kadman Numismatic Pavilion, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv

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