Monday, September 19, 2016

The "Widow's Mite"

COIN WEEK: NGC Ancient Coins: Redefining the Biblical Widow’s Mite (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation). Excerpt:
The point of this discussion is to demonstrate how broad the definition of the Biblical Widow’s Mite should be if one is willing to break from a tradition that in truth has no solid footing whatsoever.

We believe the strength of tradition assures that the issues of Alexander Jannaeus will remain the generally accepted candidate for the Widow’s Mite. However, NGC Ancients now willingly extends that designation to any small Hasmonean (Maccabean) bronze coin issued from 135 to 37 BCE, as we consider any of them to be legitimate candidates.

The same could be said for all Herodian and Roman procuratorial bronzes of small size that predate about 27 BCE. However, these coins are scarce (or rare) in comparison to the massive issues of the Hasmoneans, and they typically are collected with other goals in mind.
The phrase "widow's mite" comes from the KJV translation of the story in the Synoptic Gospels of the widow who put two small coins (lepta) into the offering box at the Temple treasury. A past post noted another Coin Week article that dealt with this coin in less detail.