Denomination: Bronze Prutah
Date: 103-76 BC
Coin Description: Star and Inverted Anchor
Mount: Sterling Silver
History: These ancient Biblical Bronze coins are part of a treasure recently found at The Sea of Galilee ay after many years of drought. It is believed by scholars they were being used as keel for a fishing boat. These coins are often referred to as "Prutah's" or, "Widow's Mites."
According to the Gospel of Mark 12:41-44, the story follows; "And He sat down over against the Treasury, and beheld how the multitude cast money into the Treasury; and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, this poor widow cast in more than all they are casting into the Treasury: for they did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
Coins mentioned in the Bible are popular collectibles and great for that special gift. The Widow’s Mites are sometimes referred to as Lepton’s or Prutah’s. During the time of Herod, they were the smallest denomination coin in Judea. According to Wikipedia they were valued at ‘6 minutes of a day’s wage’.
The Widow’s Mite was first minted by King Alexander Jannaeus (Judean King, 103 – 76 B.C), nephew of Simon and Judah The Maccabees. Janneus' adoration of Hellenistic culture lends to the iconography of the coin itself. The coin was produced in great quantities during this time and it was struck from Bronze with a Macedonian Eight-pointed Star on Obverse and the Phoenician inverted anchor on the Reverse. Between the rays of the eight-pointed star are tiny ancient Hebrew letters spelling Yehonatan, the Hebrew name of the King. The coin speaks of three core tenets of Western culture; the Greek, Jewish, and Christian cultures combined.