The Other Coin: Biblical Related Coins
I recently scored a coin of Gadara minted under the reign of Tiberius for about
$10. For those that slept through Sunday School, Jesus's ministry was under
Tiberius 14-37 AD and he cast out the legion of demons into the Gadarene swine,
who then promptly threw themselves into the sea. (Mark 5:1-13) One of the
ancient specialties is Biblical related coins.
Biblical related coins can be collected by person, place, or event mentioned in the
Bible. Jewish kings minted their own coins starting around 140BC with the Lilly of
Jerusalem on the coin. Jewish related coins begin with the end of the Babylonian
captivity in the 6th century BC with Judah as the name of a province placed on
some Persian coins. Of course, coins can be collected from almost all the cities
mentioned in the Bible, although not from the same time as the city mentioned as
coins began in the 7th C. BC and Biblical events began with Abraham in the 17th or
18th C.BC and Moses in the 13th C. BC.
Popular collecting themes include a coin from each of the cities Paul ministered in
or a coin from each city that minted them in the Holy Land. Coins showing a
history of Jerusalem or the Jewish kings, Roman procurators of Judah, Jewish
coins of revolt in 70AD and 135 AD. Of course the Roman emperors minted coins
commemorating their victories over the Jews known as Jewish Capta coin, often
showing a weeping Jewish under a palm tree.
You can also collect coins mentioned by Jesus like the Widow mite, tribute penny,
or one of the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas. Most of the cities Jesus ministered
in minted coins, often during the time of his ministry. A coin of Pilate is a must, of
course as well as Hero and Caesar Augustus who were rulers at the time of his
birth. Speculation and coin candidates representing the coins of the 3 wise man are
also avidly collected. A recent chat on the web wondered what coins Paul brought
to Jerusalem to relieve the poor suggested the representative silver and gold coins
he probably brought to Jerusalem, or one could collect a bronze representing each
city from which he made the collection.
This popular series has a on-line book "The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics at
amuseum.org/book or James B. Lovette's inexpensive, Biblical Related Coins
(2000). By the way, very nice Widow mites can be had for $10 or less and make
nice Christmas presents as well as any other of the coins of the Bible. Almost
anything of this nature can be found at Vcoins on the web in various price ranges.
Numismatically yours, David Elliott
Coin of Pilate, the procurator
Lilly of Jerusalem/anchor of Seleucids
Vespasian, Judea Capta