Post-Auction Direct Sale $2,200.00
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Russia(?): Rare brass token of the Chovevei Zion Society (Agudat Hovevei Zion / אגודת חובבי ציון), with the word "Zion" in Hebrew within a Star of David on one side, and on the other (blank) side, the Hebrew initials A Ch Tz in capital letters; size: 23mm, weight: 3.4g. The 'Lovers of Zion' (Hovevei Zion) was initially a series of Zionist societies and organizations which arose in Russia, following anti-Semitic progroms of 1881; in 1884, at the Katowitz Conference, these various organizations formally formed the "Hovevei Zion Society". The society endeavored to purchase lands in Palestine and establish settlements, having done so already in 1882 (Rishon LeZion); as such this token may date from 1884 for fundraising purposes or to around 1890: in order to operate legally in Russia, the Russian branch had to be registered as a charity (which became known as "The Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Eretz Israel" or "The Odessa Committee"); in that same year, members of the Society in Vilna signed the "Wilna Statement" in Hebrew, an agreement for the joint purchase of land "near Jerusalem" for the members who agree to pay an additional "members fee" to the Society. Pre-dating the First Zionist Congress (1897) this is a rare early practical emblem of the Zionist movement, and perhaps the earliest known instance of the use of the "Zion"/Star of David emblem; undocumented.