The Treasure and Gift of the Widow’s Mite
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.