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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Hasmonean Dynasty||View Options:  |  |  |   

The Hasmonean Dynasty - Maccabees

The Maccabees were Jewish rebel warriors that took control of Judea, which at the time had been a part of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled Judea from 167 BCE to 37 BCE, as a fully independent kingdom from about 140 to 63 BCE. They reasserted the Jewish religion, partly by forced conversion, expanded the boundaries of Judea by conquest and reduced the influence of Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism. Independent Hasmonean rule lasted until 63 BCE, when the Roman general Pompeus intervened in Hasmonean civil war, making it a client kingdom of Rome. The Hasmonean dynasty ended in 37 BCE when the Idumean Herod the Great became king of Israel, designated "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate, effectively transforming the Hasmonean Kingdom into the Herodian Kingdom - a client kingdom of Rome.

Judean Kingdom, Anonymous Hasmonean, c. 140 - 37 B.C.

|Judean| |Kingdom|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Anonymous| |Hasmonean,| |c.| |140| |-| |37| |B.C.||tessera|
A Judaean coin expert informs us that there are nine known specimens of this type, one specimen of this type was discovered during excavations at Mt. Gerizim, and the second best known specimen of this type sold for $12,000 a few years ago.
JD97077. Lead tessera, Hendin 1157 (RRR), Meshore TJC -, Sofaer Collection -, HGC 10 -, SNG Cop -, F, scratches, bumps, earthen encrustation, tight flan, weight 2.024 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 225o, Samarian(?) mint, c. 140 - 37 B.C.; obverse double cornucopia, upright rod between, border of dots; reverse stylized palm tree between two blooming lily flowers, border of dots; zero sales of this type listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $1500.00 (1230.00)


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.

Although the details are obscure, this coin appears to be Hendin 1165. Hendin 1165 has a correct Mattatayah inscription, not a retrograde inscription, which Hendin lists as RRR and without the usual price guide. Hendin 1164, which is the same types but with a retrograde Mattatayah inscription, is not rare. Look for yourself and see if you agree with our attribution. Meshorer TJC lists three different retrograde variations, only one with a normal inscription. The Sofaer collection includes eight retrograde specimens but none with a normal inscription. SNG ANS lists three retrograde, zero normal. BMC two retrograde, zero normal. There are no sales of this normal inscription variant on Coin Archives (one coin is misdescribed as this type). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97661. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1165 (RRR), Meshorer TJC 39, BMC Palestine -, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, aF, a little rough, remnants of pre-strike casting seam and sprues, weight 1.647 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 300o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: Mattatayah, surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; extremely rare; $300.00 (246.00)


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||eight| |prutot|NEW
This coin was "professionally cleaned and conserved" in Israel. Although it is beautiful, to the educated eye, the patina does not look natural. It is "enhanced" or "applied." Enhanced or applied patinas are not tragic. Coins with enhanced or applied patinas often sell for very high prices. We prefer a beautiful natural patina, but mother nature does not always comply. At Forum Ancient Coins, if we believe a patina has been enhanced or applied, we will include that in the coin's description.
JD97652. Bronze eight prutot, Meshorer TJC 36; Hendin 1162; Sofaer 418 ff; SNG ANS 183 ff.; BMC Palestine p. 212, 2 ff.; SNG Cop 64; HGC 10 646 (S), VF, enhanced/applied desert patina, reverse a little off center and weakly struck, weight 13.727 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Mattatayah the High Priest and Council of the Jews, around and between the horns of a double cornucopia; reverse BACIΛEΩC ANTIΓONOY (of King Antigonus), ivy wreath tied at the top with ribbons hanging down; scarce; $270.00 (221.40)


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.

On this type the inscription is almost always retrograde. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription reads, in two retrograde lines, from left to right: MTT/(YH) (Mattatayah). On this coin the last two letter, the second line, is ligate (combined like a monogram). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97659. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40a, Sofaer Collection 444, HGC 10 649, Hendin 1164 var. (no ligature), SNG ANS 192 var. (same), BMC Palestine p. 219, 57 var. (same), F, highlighting earthen deposits, a little rough, reverse off center, weight 1.655 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/(YH) = Mattatayah (last two letters ligate), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; rare variant; $160.00 (131.20)


Judean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C.

|John| |Hyrcanus| |I|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |John| |Hyrcanus| |I| |(Yehohanan),| |134| |-| |104| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
This type has a Greek letter A above the Paleo-Hebrew inscription. The inscription reads, from right to left, as follows: YHW(HH)NN (Yehohanan) / H (the) KHN (Priest) H (the) G/DL (high) W (and) (HH)BR (council) H (the) / YHWDYM (Jews). See Reading |Judean |Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97664. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1132; Meshorer TJC A; Meshorer AJC M; SNG ANS 1139, Sofaer p. 242, 6; HGC 10 625, Choice VF, well centered, full inscription, green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.586 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 134 - 104 B.C.; obverse Greek letter A above Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehohanan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, all surrounded by wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; $160.00 (131.20)


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||four| |prutot|NEW
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. After Antigonus bit off his ears to render him ineligible for High Priest, Hyrcanus II was sent to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.
JD97653. Bronze four prutot, Meshorer TJC 37a (but same obv. die as TJC 37), Sofaer Collection 426 (same rev. die), Hendin 1163, SNG ANS 189, SNG Cop 65, HGC 10 647 (S), gF, much of inscriptions legible, highlighting earthen deposits, a little rough/porous, rev. off center, pre-strike casting seam/sprues as normal for the type, weight 7.039 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 270o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew legend: Mattatayah the High Priest, single cornucopia tied with ribbons, grapes and grape vine hang; reverse BACIΛ/EΩC ANT/IΓONOY (of King Antigonus) in three lines, within wreath tied on the left side; scarce; $130.00 (106.60)


Judean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C.

|John| |Hyrcanus| |I|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |John| |Hyrcanus| |I| |(Yehohanan),| |134| |-| |104| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
The Paleo-Hebrew inscription reads, from right to left, as follows: YHWHN/N (Yehohanan) H (the) KHN (Priest) [H] (the) / GDL (high) H (the) (HH)B/R (council) H (the) YHD/YM (Jews). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97667. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1133c, Meshorer TJC B, Meshorer AJC N, HGC 10 625, gVF, well centered full script on a tight flan, obverse edge beveled, flat area on edge where casting sprue was removed, weight 2.022 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 134 - 104 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehohanan the High Priest and Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns, A left; rare full script arrangement; $120.00 (98.40)


Judean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C.

|John| |Hyrcanus| |I|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |John| |Hyrcanus| |I| |(Yehohanan),| |134| |-| |104| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
The Paleo-Hebrew inscription on Hendin 1137 is normally in a neat "wedge" style. This inscription is not wedge style, but is rather careless with some blundered letters. Meshorer TJC I59 - I66 are similar with careless blundered inscriptions. Meshorer TJC I162 is most similar with the inscription starting fairly normal but degenerating further along until the last lines are mostly gibberish.
JD97670. Bronze prutah, cf. Meshorer TJC I62 (similar style), HGC 10 629, Hendin 1137 var. (wedge script), VF, most legend on flan, dark patina with highlighting red earthen fill, some light corrosion, obverse edge beveled, weight 1.966 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 45o, Jerusalem mint, 134 - 104 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription with careless blundered script: Yehonanan the High Priest and Head of the Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns, A lower right (not visible); from an Israeli collection; $120.00 (98.40)


Judean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C.

|John| |Hyrcanus| |I|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |John| |Hyrcanus| |I| |(Yehohanan),| |134| |-| |104| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
This type is easily recognized because the wreath differs from all others and even appears to be a different plant. The script is "wedge style" with nun a simple vertical line.
JD97671. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1135, Meshorer TJC D, Meshorer AJC P, Sofaer 68 ff., HGC 10 628, VF, green patina with highlighting earthen fill, slightly off canter, obverse edge beveled, irregular shape, weight 1.728 g, maximum diameter 141 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 134 - 104 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription with wedge style script: Yehonanan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from an Israeli collection; $120.00 (98.40)


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
The lily was regarded as the choicest among the flowers. It graced the capitals of the two main pillars which stood at the entrance to the sanctuary. See Symbols| on Judean| Coins| in NumisWiki.
JD97678. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1148; Meshorer TJC N; Meshorer AJC A; Sofaer Collection 214; BMC Palestine p. 198, 1; HGC 10 636, aVF, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, off center strike, weight 1.891 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, c. 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the King, half opened lily flower; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY (King Alexander in Greek), anchor with two cross bars within diadem; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $120.00 (98.40)




  






DECENDANTS OF MATTATHIAS - THE MACCABEES



REFERENCES|

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Houghton, A., C. Lorber & O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of the Southern Levant: Phoenicia, Southern Koile Syria (Including Judaea), and Arabia, Fifth to First Centuries BC. HGC 10. (Lancaster, PA, 2010).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC. HGC 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2009).
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Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Meshorer, Y., et al. Coins of the Holy Land: The Abraham and Marian Sofaer Collection at the American Numismatic Society and The Israel Museum. ACNAC 8. (New York, 2013).
Reinach, S. Jewish Coins. (London, 1903).
Rogers, E. Handy Guide To Jewish Coins. (London, 1914).
Samuels, C., P. Rynearson & Y. Meshorer. The Numismatic Legacy of the Jews as depicted by a distinguished American Collection. (New York, 2000).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2: Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, USA, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 6: Palestine - South Arabia. (New York, 1981).
Spaer, A. & A. Houghton. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Israel I, The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins. (London, 1998).

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