Widow's Mite (Bronze Lepton or Prutah), 103-76 BC
Irish inscription on back: Is maith an scealai´ an aimsir.
Translation: Time is a good storyteller.
Denomination: Bronze Lepton or Prutah
Date: 103-76 BC
O: Anchor, with inscription (often obscured): BASILEWS ALEXANDROU (King Alexander)
R: Eight ray star (or wheel) surrounded by diadem, Hebrew inscription “Yehonatan the King” between the rays.
This coin is a genuine bronze coin issued by King Alexander Jannaeus, the Great Grand Nephew of Judah Macabee and the Jewish leader of the Holy Land from 103-76 BC. It is this type of coin that circulated in the Holy Land during Jesus’ life. Because these leptons, or prutah, were the lowest denomination coinage that circulated in Jerusalem during Christ’s lifetime, they are believed to be the coins that are referred to in the Biblical story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4. The term, “widow’s mite”, is the common name for these coins. The price of a loaf of bread was probably equal to about 48n leptons.
The two dominant symbols that are found on the coin are an anchor and a star with 8 rays. Occasionally Greek lettering is seen on these coins around the anchor illustrating the prevalence of Greek cultural influence that was evident during Jannaeus’ reign. They were carelessly and crudely struck, usually off center and in small flans. Legends are generally unreadable. Actual size is less than ½ inch in diameter
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