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Home>Catalog>Judean&BiblicalCoins>BiblicalCoins>Widow'sMites

Widow's Mites of Mark 12-41

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow put more into the treasury than all the others. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:43-44)

These coins are bronze lepta and prutot of Alexander Jannaeus, the Hasmonean King of Judaea from 103 to 76 B.C. Although these coins were minted long before Christ's lifetime, they were still in circulation during the first century A.D. Because the lepton and prutah were the lowest denomination coins that circulated in Jerusalem during Christ's lifetime, they are believed to be the coins referred to in the Biblical story of the poor widow. The lepton is the very smallest denomination and is probably the true "widow's mite." In fact, the lepton is probably the lowest denomination coin ever struck by any nation in all of history! Lepton and prutah were carelessly and crudely struck, usually off center and on small flans. Because they circulated for a long period, they are usually very worn. Legends are almost always unreadable. The actual size of a prutah is less than 1/2 inch in diameter. A lepton is usually about the same diameter as a pencil eraser. For more information see Widows Mite on NumisWiki.


Pair of Widow's Mites of Mark 12-41
Click for a larger photo Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow put more into the treasury than all the others. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

JD01348. Bronze lepton, Hendin 1152 or 1153, Jerusalem mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet within dot circle, sometimes surrounded by a barbaric blundered Aramaic inscription, King Alexander Year 25; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY (barbaric and blundered), upside-down anchor within linear circle; most small, worn, crude, and off center on irregular flans (typical for widow's mites), some partially uncleaned; TWO WIDOW'S MITES; $16.00 (12.00)


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SYMBOLS ON HASMONEAN DYNASTY COINS

Anchor: The anchor was adopted from the Seleucids, who used it to symbolize their naval strength. Anchors are often depicted upside down, as they would be seen hung on the side of a boat ready for use. Jannaeus' anchor coins were probably struck after the conquest of the coastal cities (with the exception of Ashkelon) in 95 B.C. The anchor probably publicized the annexation of these areas.

Star: The star symbolized heaven.

Diadem: The diadem symbolized royalty


Catalog current as of Sunday, December 21, 2014.
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Widow's Mites Biblical Coins