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

Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 103 - 76 B.C.

Aristobulus' was succeeded by his eldest brother, Alexander Jannus, who was freed from prison, together with his two brothers, by Aristobulus' widow, Queen Salome Alexandra - "And now the king's wife loosed the king's brethren, and made Alexander king, who appeared both elder in age, and more moderate in his temper than the rest." (Josephus, Wars, I, IV:1). To expend his territory, Jannaeus, immediately attacked Ake-Ptolemais, which called Ptolemy of Cyprus to its aid. When it looked as though Jannaeus would be crushed, Cleopatra III of Egypt intervened, driving out her son-and-rival Ptolemy and reluctantly leaving Jannaeus with both Judaea and Ptolemais. Other conquests brought Jannaeus into conflict with Obadas I of Nabataea who soundly defeated him in 90 B.C. Jannaeus became the first High Priest to also hold the title of king, which met with disapproval of many religious Jews. Severely unpopular, he was pelted with citrons (etrog) on the Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and according to Josephus, "being enraged at this, he killed some 6,000." A full scale revolt erupted and rebels called for the aid of the Seleucid King Demetrius II of Damascus in 88 B.C. Demetrius met Jannaeus with an army of 3,000 horse and 14,000 - 40,000 foot soldiers, forcing him into the mountains. At Demetrus' withdrawal, however, Jannaeus gathered reinforcements and re-established his authority, crucifying 800 rebels who were forced to watch the slaughter of their wives and children from their crosses (Josepus, Ant. XIII:380). After the Nabataean king Aretas gained control of Damascus, he used his new power base to inflict a final attack on Jannaeus, forcing the concession of a number of Hellenized towns before Jannaeus' death in 76 B.C.

Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 103 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |103| |-| |76| |B.C.||lepton|
Unpopular, Jannaeus was pelted with citrons on Sukkot. Enraged, he killed some 6,000 citizens. A revolt erupted and rebels called on the Seleucid King Demetrius III for aid. Demetrius forced him into the mountains but then withdrew. Back in power, Jannaeus crucified 800 rebels forcing them to watch the slaughter of their wives and children from their crosses.
JD98781. Bronze lepton, Hendin 6183 (RR); BMC Palestine p. 199, 9; Meshorer TJC O; Sofaer 220; Meshorer AJC B; HGC 10 643; SNG ANS -, F, earthen deposits, remnant of a pre-strike casting sprue, weight 1.293 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew legend counterclockwise from upper left: (Yehonatan the King), palm branch upright; reverse lily; from an Israeli collection, first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; very rare; $1250.00 SALE PRICE $1125.00


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

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.,| |Plate| |Coin||tessera|
Lead tesserae (tokens) were likely issued by the monarch to the poor to be redeemed for food or other commodities. Meshorer reports the lead tesserae of Alexander Jannaeus are found almost exclusively in Transjordan. This is the plate coin in Meshorer's Jewish Coins of the Second Temple Period (Tel-Aviv, 1967), at which time the coin was in the Grosswirth Collection.
JD111754. Lead tessera, Meshorer 2nd Temple pl. II, 7 (this coin), Hendin 6192 (S), Meshorer TJC M, Meshorer AJC D, HGC 10 645, gF, green-gray surfaces, earthen deposits, cleaning scratches, weight 4.019 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, Transjordan mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY (of King Alexander), anchor (upside-down as if hanging on the side of a boat), inside circle; reverse traces of Aramaic inscription, King Alexander, in three lines, within a border of dots; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 283; ex Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection; Herb Kreindler (May 1985); ex E. Grosswirth Collection ; very scarce; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00


|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
This type has been reattributed from Hyrcanus II to Alexander Jannaeus by Hendin and Shachar in "The Identity of YNTN on Hasmonean Overstruck Coins and the Chronology of the Alexander Jannaeus Types," Israel Numismatic Research 3, 2008: 87-94. It appears this type was overstruck on earlier coins of Alexander Jannaeus that had never been released from the mint. Most examples have strong undertype effects obscuring the inscription but this coin does not and the inscription is clear. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription, in classic style, on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YNTN (Yonatan) / H (the) KHNH (Priest) / GDL (high) W (and) (HH)B/ R (council) [H] (the, omitted) YHD (Jews). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD110335. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6185, Meshorer TJC T, Meshorer AJC I, HGC 10 642, gF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, sprue cuts, reverse edge beveled, clear inscription, unusual because there is no indication of being overstruck, weight 2.329 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription in classic style: Yonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse two cornucopias splayed outward, adorned with ribbons, pomegranate or poppy between the horns; from an Israeli collection; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00


|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
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. -- Ancient Jewish Coinage by Yaakov Meshorer
JD111361. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6189, Meshorer TJC K, Hendin 6189, Sofaer 221, Hendin 6189, Meshorer TJC K, Meshorer AJC C, HGC 10 637, VF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, off center, obverse edge beveled, weight 3.365 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, Jerusalem mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet surrounded by diadem, Paleo-Hebrew inscription 'Yehonatan the king' between rays; reverse Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00


|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
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. -- Ancient Jewish Coinage by Yaakov Meshorer
JD111362. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6189, Meshorer TJC K, Hendin 6189, Sofaer 221, Hendin 6189, Meshorer TJC K, Meshorer AJC C, HGC 10 637, aVF, attractive dark patina with highlighting red earthen deposits, obv. off center, obv, edge beveled, weight 2.372 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, Jerusalem mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet surrounded by diadem, Paleo-Hebrew inscription 'Yehonatan the king' between rays; reverse Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C., Widow's Mite

|Widow's| |Mites|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.,| |Widow's| |Mite||lepton|
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." (Mark 12:43-44)
JD111755. Bronze lepton, Hendin 6191a, Meshorer TJC L3, Meshorer AJC I Cd1, HGC 10 644, Cohen DCA 803, VF, dark green-brown patina, earthen deposits, obv. off center, scratches, reverse edge beveled, sprue remnant, weight 1.448 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, Jerusalem mint, 80 - 79 B.C.; obverse Aramaic inscription: King Alexander year 25, star of eight rays and central pellet within circle of dots; reverse Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor within linear circle, no date; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 281; ex Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection, ex ILM (Apr 1987); $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00


|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
Unpopular, Jannaeus was pelted with citrons on Sukkot. Enraged, he killed some 6,000 citizens. A revolt erupted and rebels called on the Seleucid King Demetrius III for aid. Demetrius forced him into the mountains but then withdrew. Back in power, Jannaeus crucified 800 rebels forcing them to watch the slaughter of their wives and children from their crosses.
JD111359. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6180, Meshorer TJC Q, Meshorer AJC F, HGC 10 639, F, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, rev. edge beveled, remnants of flan casting sprues, weight 1.974 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse two cornucopias splayed outward, adorned with ribbons, pomegranate or poppy between the horns; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


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

|Widow's| |Mites|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.,| |Irregular| |Variety||lepton|
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." (Mark 12:43-44)
JD111752. Bronze lepton, Meshorer Group K19; Hendin 6189c; HGC 10 637 var. (inscription on obv.), VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, obv. double struck, rev. off center, weight 1.334 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, Jerusalem mint, c. 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet, no visible diadem, no visible Paleo-Hebrew inscription; reverse blundered Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor with ring at end; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 280; ex Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection, ex Herb Kreindler (Aug 1986); $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


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

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
Hendin 6182 is easily identified by its unique cursive style inscription. Meshorer wrote of this cursive style, "The letters appear is if they were written with pen and ink. They are schematic, elongated, oblique, and very small. Some are so minute as to be little more than points. Although small, the shapes of the letters are simple and quite legible. The inscription is mostly complete and contains no errors."
JD99437. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6182, Meshorer TJC R, Meshorer AJC G, SNG ANS 116, HGC 10 640, F, highlighting desert patina, porous, remains of casting sprues, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.989 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, cursive style script, within wreath; reverse two cornucopias splayed outward, adorned with ribbons, pomegranate or poppy between the horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


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

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
Meshorer wrote of the inscriptions on this type, "The style of the script is distinctive. The letters are large and slight oblique, with sharp lines and edges; they tend toward systematization. The shapes are strong and clear...and contain few variants. The legend is mostly incomplete and contains many errors. Certain characters such as (B), (R), and (D) are almost indistinguishable." On this coin the inscription is nearly complete. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YHWN/TN (Yehonatan) [K]HN (Priest) / G/DWL (high) W (and) (HH) (council) Y/HWD/M (Jews). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD99439. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6180, Meshorer TJC Q, Meshorer AJC F, HGC 10 639, VF, near complete inscription, a little off center, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.984 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse two cornucopias splayed outward, adorned with ribbons, pomegranate or poppy between the horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00




  



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REFERENCES

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Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 6th Edition. (Amphora, 2021).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Palestine. (London, 1914).
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).
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SYMBOLS ON THE COINS OF ALEXANDER JANNAEUS (YEHONATAN)

Anchor: The anchor was adopted from the Seleucids, who used it to symbolize their naval strength. Anchors are 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 on these coins probably publicized the annexation of these areas.

Cornucopia: The cornucopia was a hollow animal horn used as a container. One of the most popular religious symbols of the ancient world, the cornucopia is also know as the "horn of plenty." The cornucopia symbolizes abundance and the prosperity of the nation.

Diadem: The diadem symbolizes royalty.

Lily: 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.

Lulav: Lulav is a ripe, green, closed frond of the date palm tree. It is one of the Four Species used in the daily prayer services during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The other species are the hadass (myrtle), aravah (willow), and etrog (citron). Each type of plant represents different parts of your body because it shows that you worship God with all of your body. To qualify for use as one of the Four Species, the lulav must be ramrod straight, with whole leaves that lay closely together, and not be bent or broken at the top. The term Lulav also refers to the lulav in combination with two of the other species that are bound together to perform the mitzvah of waving the lulav.

Pomegranate: The pomegranate was one of the seven celebrated products of Palestine and among the fruits brought to the temple as offerings of the first-fruits. Two hundred pomegranates decorated each of the two columns in the temple and were an integral part of the sacred vestment of the High Priest, as bells and pomegranates were suspended from his mantle.

Star: The star symbolizes heaven.


Catalog current as of Tuesday, May 30, 2023.
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