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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Biblical Coins| ▸ |Christmas||View Options:  |  |  | 

Christmas and the Three Kings

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" Matthew 2:1-8.

Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 4 and 6 B.C.

On this page we list coin that were struck at the time of Jesus' birth or which relate to his birth. Most biblical scholars now believe the "Magi" probably were wise-men, not actually kings. If they were kings, the kings on the coins below are among the most likely visitors.

Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV and Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |5| |-| |4| |B.C.||AE| |14|
Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 6 and 4 B.C. This type was issued in the names of Aretas IV and his daughter Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.
GB94965. Bronze AE 14, cf. Al-Qatanani 178t1; Barkay CN 118a; Huth 82; Meshorer Nabataean 64; BMC Arabia p. 10, 35; SNG ANS 6 -, aVF, black patina, highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan, scratches, remnant of a pre-strike casting sprue, weight 1.710 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right, Nabataean H (het) left, O (ayin) right; reverse two cornucopias crossed and filleted, two pomegranates dangling from tops above center, Nabataean PS (peh sade) monogram (Phasael, Aretas' son) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $140.00 (141.40)


Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV and Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |5| |-| |4| |B.C.||AE| |13|
Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 6 and 4 B.C. This type was issued in the names of Aretas IV and his daughter Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.
GB94765. Bronze AE 13, Al-Qatanani 178; Barkay CN 118b; Al-Qatanani 178; Meshorer Nabataean 64; Huth 82; BMC Arabia p. 10, 35; SNG ANS 6 -, F, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.812 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right, Nabataean H (het) left, o (ayin) right; reverse two cornucopias crossed and filleted, Nabataean PS (peh sade) monogram (Phasael, Aretas' son) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $100.00 (101.00)


Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria, 128 - 129 A.D.

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Seleukis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |128| |-| |129| |A.D.||trichalkon|
Michael Molnar, an astronomer, believes this coin depicts Jupiter's occultation of Aries in 6 B.C., the most probable "Star of Bethlehem." We think it is unlikely; nevertheless, the type is very popular and somewhat expensive.
GB90244. Bronze trichalkon, RPC Online III 3729, Butcher CRS 266, McAlee 125(d), SNG Hunterian II 2950, F, dark near black patina, highlighting red earthen deposits, weight 5.145 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, reign of Hadrian, 128 - 129 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEΩN THC MHTPOΠOΛEWC, veiled and turreted head of Tyche right, weak countermark at chin; reverse ram leaping right, looking back, star within crescent above, ET ZOP (year 177 of the Caesarean Era) below; $100.00 (101.00)


Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV and Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |5| |-| |4| |B.C.||AE| |14|
Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 6 and 4 B.C. This type was issued in the names of Aretas IV and his daughter Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.
GB94963. Bronze AE 14, Al-Qatanani 178t1; Barkay CN 118a; Huth 82; Meshorer Nabataean 64; BMC Arabia p. 10, 35; SNG ANS 6 -, F, black patina, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 2.189 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 270o, Petra (Jordan) mint, spring 5 - spring 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right, Nabataean H (het) left, O (ayin) right; reverse two cornucopias crossed and filleted, two pomegranates dangling from tops above center, Nabataean PS (peh sade) monogram (Phasael, Aretas' son) in center; scarce; $80.00 (80.80)


Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV and Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |5| |-| |4| |B.C.||AE| |13|
Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 6 and 4 B.C. This type was issued in the names of Aretas IV and his daughter Phasael, 5 - 4 B.C.
GB94971. Bronze AE 13, Al-Qatanani 178t1; Barkay CN 118a; Huth 82; Meshorer Nabataean 64; BMC Arabia p. 10, 35; SNG ANS 6 -, F, heavy earthen deposits, tight flan, reverse off center, weight 2.604 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right, 2 pomegranates hanging down, Nabataean H (het) left, o (ayin) right; reverse two cornucopias crossed and filleted, two pomegranates dangling from tops above center, Nabataean PS (peh sade) monogram (Phasael, Aretas' son) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $80.00 (80.80)


Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV, 9 B.C. - 40 A.D.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||AE| |14|
Some writers maintain that the horn of plenty should be written, in the singular, cornucopi, and in the plural, cornuacopi. U.S. English dictionaries, however, typically spell the singular, cornucopia and the plural cornucopias.
GB94739. Bronze AE 14, cf. Barkay CN 151b, Al-Qatanani 153t2, Meshorer Nabataean 76, Huth -, SNG ANS 6 -, BMC Arabia -, F, black patina, highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan squared by sprue cuts, weight 1.391 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 4 - 3 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas with long hair right, Nabataean het (Aretas) right; reverse two crossed and filleted cornucopias, caduceus or scepter in center H (het) on shaft above cross, O (ayin) on shaft below; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $50.00 (50.50)


Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV, 9 B.C. - 40 A.D.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||AE| |14|
Petra, the capital of the ancient Nabatean Kingdom, is a famous archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the "Rose City." Perhaps its most famous structure is 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade, and known as The Treasury. The structure is believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean King Aretas IV in the 1st century A.D. The sculptures are thought to be those of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife. On top are figures of four eagles that would carry away the souls. The figures on the upper level are dancing Amazons with double-axes. The entrance is flanked by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux who lived partly on Olympus and partly in the underworld. Tomb_of_Aretas
GB94967. Bronze AE 14, cf. Meshorer Nabataean 68, Al-Qatanani 141, Barkay CN 150b, Huth 77, SNG ANS 6 1432, aF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, struck with a damaged obverse die, tight flan, weight 2.872 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, c. 4 - 3 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right; reverse two crossed cornucopias, Nabataean heth (Aretas) between the horns; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $32.00 (32.32)


Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV, 9 B.C. - 40 A.D.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||AE| |14|
Aretas IV was the greatest Nabataean king, ruling S. Palestine, most of Trans-Jordan, N. Arabia, and Damascus. Al-Khazneh,one of the most elaborate temples in Petra, is believed to have been the mausoleum of Aretas IV. Paul mentions Aretas in connection with his visit to Damascus (2 Corinthians 11:32). Al-Khazneh, one of the most elaborate temples in Petra, is believed to have been the mausoleum of Aretas IV.
GB94970. Bronze AE 14, Barkay CN 150g, Al-Qatanani 146, Schmitt-Korte II 40, Meshorer Nabataean 69, Huth -, SNG ANS 6 - , aF, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.912 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, c. 2 - 24; obverse laureate head of Aretas right, Nabataean heth (Aretas) left and lower right; reverse two crossed and filleted cornucopias, Nabataean heth (Aretas) between the horns, lower left and lower right; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $29.00 (29.29)







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