ON THE COVER: A skirted man wields a papyrus scepter above a winged sun disk in this eighth-century B.C.E. seal, recently sold at a New York auction. Inscribed “[Belonging] to Abdi, servant of Hoshea,” the seal was used to impress the owner’s name, Abdi, onto a lump of wet clay used to seal documents. In “Royal Signature: Name of Israel’s Last King Surfaces in a Private Collection,”
André Lemaire identifies Abdi as a high-ranking official in the court of the northern kingdom of Israel’s last king, Hoshea (732–722 B.C.E.). Shortly after purchasing the seal, its new owner, antiquities collector Shlomo Moussaieff, bought the finely milled golden housing, also pictured on the cover beside the seal. In “Relics from Antiquity: Birds of a Feather?”
Lemaire suggests that this very piece, probably worn around the neck on a chain, may have been the original housing for Abdi’s seal.