“And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:” Mark 12:43
Neither rich nor influential, we don’t even know the name of the Widow who appears in Jesus’ powerful teaching on giving and the state of the heart. Although we will never know her name, her story echoes through time. For she gave everything she had - two of the humble bronze coins we now call "Mites" - a term coined centuries later to designate a coin of little value.
A note about these Widow's Mites: These mites were part of a hoard of over 2,000 coins found in the Israel years ago. Robert used a light touch in conserving these, so they still carry the soil from the Holy Land that protected them for 1600 years. The latest date coins in the hoard were late Roman - dating to circa 400 AC, so the Mites in the hoard had been used in Judea for over 400 years! They are well-loved and well-used, but we can tell from the distinct shape and size exactly what they are - amazing witnesses of 400 years of Biblical history.
The tiny bronze Widow’s Mite coins were not Roman, but true Judean coins that were minted during the short period of Jewish history between the Old and New Testaments, when Israel was a self-governing nation. Called a Prutah, they were minted under the King and High Priest Alexander Jannaeus, the first of these coins were minted about 78 BC, and perhaps a few decades after, however they were in circulation at the time of Christ, and are remembered for the key part they played in Jesus’ teaching related to tithing and giving. It was this tiny coin that was actively traded in the markets that Jesus and the disciples passed, and would have been used by the common folk who flocked to listen to the parables of Jesus.
These coins were of so little value, that striking them was done hastily, and, most of the time, much of the design didn't make it on the small coins. This example, framed by Robert in 18K Gold and Sterling Silver is one of the best we've ever seen! It is truly a unique piece of history that comes out of a carefully currated collection amassed in the 1970s from coins excavated near Jerusalem.
On one side is the eight-rayed star, signifying heaven, and on the other, an anchor - a power symbol of the day.