Judaeus Widows Mite overstruck on Greek design
The Book of Maccabees is a book concerned with the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty and related subjects. It tells of the story of the victory of the Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, against the oppressive rule of Greece during the reign of Antiochus IV. It led to over 150 years of Jewish rule in the Land of Israel under the descendants of Judah, commonly called the Hasmonean Dynasty. Yet, although the military battle was successful, there continued a cultural war between Judaism and Hellenism that is still studied today.
The best physical evidence to this cultural war is a coin minted by Alexander Yannai, the great-nephew of Judah. Although Yannai minted millions of coins, most of them fall within two basic types. The more common type is what we can call the “Jewish” coin. It featured symbols of the Holy Temple on the obverse and a legend in Hebrew on the reverse, (“Yohonatan, the High Priest…”). The second (Greek) type shows the influence of Hellenism. It features an anchor (representing Yannai’s fleet of ships) and a legend in Greek calling himself King rather than High Priest. The reverse of the coin does have Hebrew letters but still refers to Yannai as King.
The fascinating third type is a variation of the “Greek” coin that has been overstruck with the “Jewish” coin design. Scholars are still debating the reason why so many coins were overstruck, probably while still in the mint. Whether the “Greek” design coins were rejected by the people or there were some other political reason to return to the High Priest title can be left to the historians, but it is clear that this coin, with definite markings from both coin types, is one of the best lessons of how archaeology can put history into our hands.
Very Fine Overstruck Widows Mites
This coin is graded as Very Fine by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). This is a nice example of this unusual ancient type coin with all the major detail intact . This makes a wonderful opportunity to own a 2,000 year old coin in such nice shape!
|Year of Issue:||103-76 BC|
|Legal Tender:||Judaea Kingdom|
ModernCoinMart has added ancient coins to their inventory, and they are starting out their collection with a coin that is over 2,000 years old -- the Widow's Mite.