The Treasure and Gift of the Widow’s Mite

treasure in coins

Widow’s Mite from My Collection

Whether you are a coin collector or not, holding a Widow’s Mite is a fascinating and affordable piece of history that you can admire. It is a treasure to have.

Coins present a person with the opportunity to hold pieces of history in the palm of their hands. Discovery of a coin’s background can be a gratifying experience. The Widow’s Mite is one of these instances.

It is a tiny bronze coin which dates back two thousand years ago and provides a story for which a collector or any person will certainly enjoy.

The Biblical Story of the Widow’s Offering

The name The Widow’s Mite comes from a story found in the Bible. Written in Mark 12:41-44 is the following account:

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”

The money in which the poor widow gave to the treasury was most likely the small copper roman coins minted under the rule of Alexander Jannaeus. These coins were called Lepton and were issued approximately 100 BC to 30 AD. Because the coins were the smallest denomination and had the least value during the time of Christ, they are commonly believed and referred to as the Widow’s Mite.

The Widow’s Mite

The coins were produced and struck hurriedly. This resulted in the images displayed on the coins to be off center and the coins themselves to be various sizes and shapes. Most are about the size of a pinky fingernail and are not perfectly round.

On the one side is an image of an anchor and the Greek letters for King Alexander. The other side displayed an eight rayed star surrounded by a diadem or a wheel. In the spokes of the wheel or the rays of the star were the Hebrew letters for Yehonatan the King.

The coins were in circulation for a long period of time and are well worn. They have been found in vast quantities and can be purchased for less than a few dollars each. Exceptional coins may cost a bit more but their inexpensive price does not convey the uniqueness of being able to hold a piece of history.

The Gift of a Widow’s Mite

Since the coins are genuine 2000 year old artifacts and were in circulation during the time of Jesus Christ, these coins make special gifts to give to anyone interested in history. Many have been made into pendants or other pieces of jewelry. Others come in display cases and certificates of authenticity. No matter how they are given or collected, the Widow’s Mite is a wonderful coin to appreciate and value.


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18 Responses

  1. Twingem says:

    Simply love this particular blog entry, Jenny. Thank you for sharing as always.

  2. Bailey says:

    I had never heard of these. Thanks Jenny. I know what I’m getting half my family for Christmas now. Very cool.

  3. pdenver says:

    Thank you for sharing this bit of history with us, Jenny. To think it was during the time of Jesus makes it even more special to me. I’ll need to do some research.

    • pdenver says:

      Hello Jenny. Do you know of any knowledge in regards to the “large penny”? I believe that’s what my uncle called it. I’ll try to do some research on it, too. I believe he told the family he had 400 of them and when he sold them, it was able to pay for his daughter’s college in full.

      • Buckeye Bob says:

        Hi pdenver.
        Here ya go.
        Maybe Jenny has more info on these. There was also a “half-cent”.

        I love the idea of collected things with stories behind them.

        • pdenver says:

          Thank you so much, Buckeye Bob. I greatly appreciate your help and this link you’ve provided. Those coins are beautiful. I would have hated to have sold them if they belonged to me. I have a small box of steel pennies. I haven’t looked at them for many years.

          • JL says:

            You might want to take a look at them or put them in a safe place. They most likely carry a considerable value,unless you were just pullin my leg when you said you didn’t have two nickels to rub together so to speak.

            • pdenver says:

              Hello JL. I’m not sure if they’re worth much right now. They’re in hiding in a really small box and I really don’t think about them. Jenny’s article reminded me of them. I took a brief look online and it looks like if I do take a peek at them, I should wear some type of gloves…that I didn’t know. Most of the things I collect will be handed down to my children/grandchildren so that it/they may try to collect some kind of value along the way. The two nickels…for me, my pockets carry lint.

              • pdenver says:

                JL, I’m rich in spirit and full of fight. I have a roof over my head and food on my plate. This is so much more than some have. I count my blessings every day.

              • Tony says:

                Actually a steel 1944 penny can be very valuable in the right condition.

                You may want to recheck your collection pdenver.

                • Tony says:

                  1943 steel penines don’t hold value because those are the pennies that were made instead of copper pennies because of the shortage of copper supply in World War II. A 1943 copper penny is also very valuable because that’s the year they shifted making copper pennies to steel and vice versa for the 1944 steel penny when they shifted back to copper.

                • pdenver says:

                  Hello Tony. Thank you for the link. I greatly appreciate it. I was given these coins about 35+ years ago. It would be interesting to know just what exactly I do have, for I certainly don’t know right now. I just know I have them. As far as other currency, I need to collect some of the $10(?) bills before they’re changed. I really feel those will be valuable generations from now. It’s possible the other/older bills, before the design was switched to prevent counterfeit, may eventually become valuable, too. These are just thoughts I have.

                • Tony says:

                  If you are interested in collecting currency this might be helpful.

                  I’m having trouble locating the article I had read about serial number currency. But remembering some of the information I think (probably should be careful doing that) serial numbers like 88888888 (Chinese number of luck???) or like 12344321 (mirrored) or 12345678 (chronological?) Or low numbers like 00000001 and I think bills in sequence like 00000002, 00000003 (if you have multiple I believe they hold more value) are also sought by collectors.

                • pdenver says:

                  Hello Tony. Thank you so much for your help. I greatly appreciate it. I just pulled out the 125+ steel pennies and they’re all dated 1943. Most have the Denver and San Francisco mint stamp, but some don’t have any, which I’m going to assume they’re from Philadelphia. I really don’t know for sure.

  4. JL says:

    Nice story, I am surprised they don’t hold more value then they do, send me 50 please.

  5. Ramona says:

    Interesting, thanks Jenny.

  6. astree says:

    Thanks for this article, Jenny. I was completely unaware of the coin’s background and did not know they were still available. Here’s a sample link (eBay) for those interested

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