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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, 9 B.C. - 40 A.D.

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||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' daughter) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


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

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||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.
GB94969. Bronze AE 14, Al-Qatanani 178; Barkay CN 118b; Meshorer Nabataean 64; Huth 82; BMC Arabia p. 10, 35; SNG ANS 6 -, VF, highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, flat edge area from sprue cut, weight 1.521 g, maximum diameter 13.7 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 crossed and filleted cornucopias, Nabataean PS (peh sade) monogram (Phasael, Aretas' daughter) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


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

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||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' daughter) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00


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 Philopatris was the greatest Nabataean king, ruling S. Palestine, most of Trans-Jordan, N. Arabia, and Damascus. During his reign, large religious centers - also serving as banks and trade clearinghouses - were established on the Hauran, in Petra, and at Avdat. Aretas was married to Huldu when he became king. Her profile was featured on coins until 16 A.D. After a short gap, the face of his second wife, Shuqailat, appeared on the coins. Aretas's daughter married Herod Antipas, tetrarch of the Galilee. When Antipas took another wife, Herodias, Aretas's daughter returned to her father, who went to war against Antipas and defeated him. The episode led to the beheading of John the Baptist. Antipas appealed to Tiberius, who dispatched the governor of Syria to attack Aretas. Paul mentions Aretas in connection with his visit to Damascus when he had to to be lowered from the wall in a basket to escape. Al-Khazneh, the treasury, one of the most elaborate buildings in Petra, is believed to have been Aretas' mausoleum.
GB94730. Bronze AE 14, Al-Qatanani 149; Barkay CN 150i; Meshorer Nabataean 73A; Huth 78; BMC Arabia p. 10, 34; Schmitt-Korte II 44; Lindgren 2522, VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, well centered for type, weight 2.322 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 315o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 8/7 B.C. - 15/16 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right, Nabataean het (Aretas) left; reverse two crossed cornucopias, Nabataean ayin between the horns, het (Aretas) left and right; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |5| |-| |4| |B.C.,| |Legate| |P.| |Quinctilius| |Varus||trichalkon|
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RY99148. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG Munchen 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), gF, black patina, well centered, edge split, light earthen deposits, weight 6.816 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


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

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||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' daughter) in center; scarce; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


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

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||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' daughter) in center; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


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; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


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

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||AE| |19|
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
GB94783. Bronze AE 19, cf. Barkay CN 186; Al-Qatanani 169; Meshorer Nabataean 114; BMC Arabia p. 8, 14; Huth 86; SNG ANS 6 1438, F, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 4.141 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 16 - 40 A.D.; obverse jugate laureate and draped busts of Aretas IV and Shuqailat right, Aretas has a V shaped ornament over his forehead at the center of his laurel wreath, Shuqailat wears an Isis crown, Nabataean het (Aretas) lower left, and shin (Shuqailat) lower right; reverse two cornucopias crossed and filleted, Nabataean inscription in three lines: TTRH / SQY/TL (Aretas Shuqailat, read right to left, two lines above between the horns, the last line below); from the Ray Nouri Collection; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


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

|Nabataean| |Kingdom|, |Nabataean| |Kingdom,| |Aretas| |IV| |and| |Phasael,| |9| |B.C.| |-| |40| |A.D.||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
GB94736. Bronze AE 14, Barkay CN 116c, Meshorer Nabataean 61B, Al-Qatanani 185t13, SNG ANS 6 -, BMC Arabia -, Huth -, F, dark green patina, light deposits, obv. off center, weight 1.831 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Aretas right; reverse two cornucopias paired with tops right, palm frond on left curving left, Nabataean PS (peh sade) monogram (Phasael, Aretas' daughter) lower right; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00




  



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