The Rule of King Alexander Janeus and the Bronze Lepton.
Over two millennia ago, Alexander Janeus ruled over ancient Judea as king. It was under his direction that the majority of these coins were struck.
The lepton was the smallest and least valuable coin in use in ancient Judea. Each of these coins weighs about 2 grams, which is approximately the same weight as 2 paperclips. They are made of bronze. In general, the majority of bronze is composed of a copper base, which may exceed 90% of the mixture, and the remainder is tin.
The Widow’s Mite
In many museums throughout the world, it is common to see these coins on display. There is more than one reason for this. The first reason that so many museums proudly display Widow’s Mites is because of their age. Few coins from the B.C. era have survived, and of those that have survived, many are in very poor condition. 2,000 years is plenty of time for environmental factors and the natural processes of metallic materials to take their toll. The other reason that the Widow’s Mite coin is so popular among museums is because they were in circulation during the time of Jesus and his Disciples. That means that unlike other ancient coins, there is the distinct possibility that these Widow’s Mites may have been handled by Jesus or his Disciples. One final reason that there are so many bronze Leptons in museums is because of the biblical story of the Widow’s Mite. This passage is often referred to as the Lesson of the Widow’s Mite. In this passage, a widow donates her last two mites to the temple, which is all of the money she has left.
The Widow’s Mite Design
These bronze Leptons are known specifically for the side showing a star with 8 rays radiating from it. This design was introduced under the rule of King Janeus and to this day the exact meaning behind this star is not known with certainty. Some have theorized that the star was related to the growth Judea experienced under the rule of Janeus. Others have theorized that the design may have been inspired by Eastern influences. The opposite side of this Janeus Lepton displays what is often described as an anchor.
Minting Process and Circulation
These ancient Leptons were all struck by hand. While dies were used for the minting process, they were nothing like the precision mechanical devices that are in use today. It is well-known that the bronze Widow’s Mite was heavily circulated. Since all of these coins may have seen a century or two in circulation, expect the exact condition and appearance of each to vary. It’s hard to say when or if another horde of bronze Leptons will become available to the public. Add one of these museum quality Widow’s Mites to your personal collection today!
|Year of Issue:||135-40 BC|
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.