Walks Of Israeli Life, The Fisherman: 1 Lira (Israel, 1958)-Article

Updated: Mar 12

This Israeli banknote represents the 2nd denomination of the Israeli Lira (2nd Series, Walks of Life). The 1958 "Walks of Life" series featured populist images of various citizens, at their jobs. While their reverse side featured a historical artifact, to promote the concept of cultural continuity.

With the exception of the 50 Lira denomination, all notes entered circulation in 15 October 1959.

The Second Series was replaced by the Third Series (1970). Which moved away from the populous theme, for a more traditional national hero theme. Making the "Walks of Life" series one of the rare occasions, that Israeli currency celebrated the average citizens.


The observe features a Israeli fisherman (אתיט שמיד) holding a net and anchor. While uncovering the models identity has proven difficult. We can reasonably presume by translating the fine text, that his name was "Atit Schmid" or possibly "Etty Schmid". The large ship in the background suggests eastern Mediterranean fishing.

The observe text is fairly basic, although is only in Hebrew script. The header reads "בנק יששל", translated to the "Bank of Israel" the note's issuer. While the lower-right reads "לירה ישראלית אחת", translated as "One Israeli Lira (Pound)". Which is reinforced by the number "1"s at the upper-right, upper-left, and lower-left.

Opposite to the fisherman is the note's watermark area. This watermark area features a mirrored portrait of the fisherman, in profile. Below are a pair of signatures belonging to Bank of Israel officials. The signature to the right belongs to Bank Governor (נגיד הבנק) David Horowitz. While the signature to the left belongs to Advisory Council Chairman (המועצה המייעצת יושב‎ דאש) J.E. Nebenzahl.

To read the note's Hebrew date (5718) it must be converted. The Hebrew calendar expresses years alpha-numerically, where numbers are expressed by letters within the Hebrew alphabet. The system is similar, although more comprehensive than the Ethiopian Ge'ez dating. It's use remains mainly due to historic tradition. As common era (Christian) dating is both understood by Israeli citizens (evidenced by the "1958" date) and is considerably more practical.

The note's underprint features ripples, meant to reassemble the sea. This pattern makes viewing the hidden security tread easier. It runs faintly along the center of the note. Roughly aligning with the mast of the second largest fishing boat


The reverse depicts mosaic work from the ancient synagogue of Isfiya, at Mount Carmel. The mosaic's text (שלום על ישראל) translates to ""Peace upon Israel". To the lower-left of the mosaic is some fine text it reads "פסיפס מבית הכנסת הקדום בחוספיה". Translating this text simply confirms the beforementioned, as "Mosaic from the ancient synagogue at lssafiya".

At the left is the note's watermark, the surrounding underprint resembles the observe. To the far right, is the note's only English text (Bank of Israel). This text is repeated in Hebrew (בנק ישראל) on the header, and in Arabic (بنك إسرائيل) below.

The note's value is listed numerical, at the upper-right, lower-left and right. The lower-right is in Eastern Arabic numerals (١), rather than standard form (1). At the upper-left and lower-right are the note's dual serial numbers (1514863(Shin)/8). The brown ink of the serial number, identifies the note was issued in 1966.

Notably stocks of 1958 marked 1 Lira were issued, in 3 separate batches. The original 1959 issued notes used black ink. While the later 1964 issued notes used red ink. This makes identification fairly easy, in comparison to some later notes. This note is an example of a "Pick#30C", the final and most common variant.

The Fisherman watermark, on the 1958 Israeli 1 Lira.
The 1 Lira Fisherman watermark .

Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 135 x 75 mm or 5.31 x 2.95 in, wider than a US Dollar.

  • The Lira/Pound remained exchangeable for "Old" Shekels, until 31 March 1984.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are large sized protective sleeves.

  • The Israeli Shekel ISO code was ILP, it used both and ל"י‎ as symbols.

  • The Israeli Lira was subdivided into 100 Agora, coins were in Agora and Lira values.

  • Archeologist uncovered a hoard of 4,500 golden Roman coins, at the lssafiya Synagogue.

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