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Bronze Prutah of Alexander Jannaeus, king of Judaea, 103-76 B.C.

Started by Overlord, June 22, 2008, 12:38:39 PM

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Overlord

Obverse  BASILEWS ALEXANDROU (of King Alexander), around upside-down anchor (adopted from the Seleucids, who used it to symbolize their naval strength)


Reverse Star (or wheel) (symbolizing heaven) with eight rays, surrounded by diadem. "Yehonatan the King" between rays (in Hebrew)


Background information on these coins can be found here
'Mite' is the 1611 King James' Version translation for this coin.

Though the scripture probably refers to the Lepton (a smaller coin of denomination lower than the Prutah), both Lepton and Prutah are usually referred to as "widow's mites".

Differentiationg a Prutah from a Lepton: The anchor depicted on a Lepton (shown below for comparison) usually has a full circle around it, while the Prutah has writing around the anchor.  Also, the Lepton usually has writing around the star, while the Prutah usually has a full circle.


Figleaf

But the English didn't have one. The denomination is well known in the Southern Netherlands, though. Both the duke of Brabant and the count of Flanders issued them and they were sometimes imitated in the North. Originally, the Brabant mijt (maille in French) was 1/76 stuiver, the Flemish mijt 1/48 stuiver. When the two areas were united under the dukes of Burgundy and later under the Habsburgs, the rate of the mijt was set at 1/32 stuiver. More important, they were the very smallest copper coins. By 1611 they were no longer made, but they still circulated.

It was almost a social obligation to give a silver coin at church collections. Only the very poor could get away with giving a copper coin and only the desperately poor would give a copper coin as small as a mijt, as their social status could hardly sink any lower. A widow would in principle have to live without any income. In practice, they'd be beggars or prostitutes. The translator probably had a beggar and a contemporary widow in mind. In 1611, all this would have been self-evident to the readers.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Overlord


Figleaf

First, there are Scottish coins that were called mite. I am referring to the Scottish pennies of James III struck 1460-1488 (Spink 5307-5311). These coins did not only have a very low silver content, they were also low weight. In the end, they were banned from circulation, but not redeemed. From that time on, they were accepted as tiny change by the fishermen around the North Sea as the equivalent of a mite and that's what they were called. I am including a copy found in the Netherlands by a metal detectorist.

Second, pictures of mites can be found. Here is a Flemish mijt struck for count Louis I de Nevers (1322-1346). Vanhoudt G 2572

obv: long cross with broad ends. Legend: LVD   COM   FLA   DRI - Lvdovicvs comes Flandriae (Louis count of Flanders)
rev: Gothic L (Louis) with four groups of three besants on each side in pearl circle. +MONETA.ALOSTENSis - coin of Aalst.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Prosit

I got these today. They were sold simply as "Widow's Mites" which should be a lepton minted by Alexander Jannaeus, King (and Priest I think) of Judaea, 103 - 76 B.C.  Right?

I am not sure this is a Lepton or a Prutahs either. Any thoughts?

Dale

Figleaf

Congratulations, Dale. They are not easy to come by in recognisable condition. I tried hard to fit whatever I could read into the legend. My best guess (not very good) for the letters on the larger piece is alexANDer (keep in mind that the letters are Greek.)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Prosit

The one on the left weighs 0.38g and the one on the right weighs 1.57g. maybe both are leptons.

Dale

Arminius

The most reputable experts call them Lepton - but you cal also find them called Prutah in lists.
They usually show very incomplete lettering on a much too small flan.



Judaea, Hasmonian Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), Jerusalem mint, 103-76 BC.,
Æ Lepton (14-15 mm / 2,26 g), bronze,
Obv.: BA[ΣIΛE]ΩΣ AΛEΞANΔΡOΥ , ("of King Alexander"), anchor inside dotted circle .
Rev.: eight ray star surrounded by diadem (or wheel), [Hebrew inscription "HaMelech Yehonatan", "Yehonatan the king" between rays].
Hendin GBC4 469 ; Hendin GBC5 1150 ; TJC group K ; Meshorer: AJC 1, group Ca.

:)

Prosit

Here is one I got the other day. It is a Alexander Jannaeus coin but that is all I know. It is 1.92g.
Please excuse the orientation, I don't know which way is up  :)
Dale

Arminius

Rotate them both a little bit left.

The left one about 20° so the cornucopia points up, the right pic about 40-50° so the ribbons of the wreath hang down at the bottom.

:)