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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Biblical Coins| ▸ |Christmas||View Options:  |  |  | 

Christmas and the Three Kings

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" Matthew 2:1-8.

Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 4 and 6 B.C.

On this page we list coin that were struck at the time of Jesus' birth or which relate to his birth. Most biblical scholars now believe the "Magi" probably were wise-men, not actually kings. If they were kings, the kings on the coins below are among the most likely visitors.


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Antioch, Syria

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Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Most biblical scholars believe Jesus was born between 6 and 4 B.C.
SL91533. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 182; Prieur 52; RPC I 4153; BMC Galatia p. 167, 137; Cohen DCA 400, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 2/5 (2490384-005), weight 13.664 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 4 - 3 B.C.; obverse KAIΣAPOΣ ΣE−BAΣTOY, laureate head right; reverse ETOYΣ HK NIKHΣ (year 28 Actian Era), Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, holding palm branch, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, YΠA monogram and IB (12th consulship) over ANT (Antioch) monogram in the right field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $350.00 (308.00)


Late Roman - Byzantine, Holyland (Syro-Palestinian), Bi-Lanceolate Pottery Oil Lamp, c. 300 - 500 A.D.

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Adler notes these lamps are found throughout the northern part of Israel, especially in Beit Shean and Hamat Gader, and date to the fourth and fifth centuries. At this time, Beit Shean, was primarily Christian, as attested to by the large number of churches including a rotunda church on top of the Tell. Evidence of Jewish habitation and a Samaritan synagogue indicate established minority communities. Click the photo of the Roman Theater at Beit Shean, on the right, to learn more about the city. Scythopolis
AL93884. Bi-lanceolate pottery oil lamp; Adler Collection (website) type N2; 7.7 cm (3") long, Choice, complete and intact, c. 300 - 500 A.D.; pink clay, cream-buff slip, mold made with incised decoration, the body includes the entire lamp from tip of nozzle to tip of "tongue" handle, wide rim surrounds a large fill hole, incised herring-bone geometric wreath pattern on narrow convex shoulders, three incised lengthwise lines on the handle; $55.00 (48.40)


Judean Kingdom, Herod the Great, 37 - 4 B.C.

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Herod's most famous and ambitious project was his magnificent expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 20 - 19 B.C. Although work on out-buildings continued another eighty years, the new Temple was finished in a year and a half. To comply with religious law, Herod employed 1,000 priests as masons and carpenters. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Today, only the four retaining walls of the Temple Mount remain standing, including the Western Wall.
JD91413. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 59, Hendin 1188, HGC 10 662, aF, rough, off center, slightly ragged edge, weight 1.490 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 21 - 4 B.C.; obverse HPW∆OY BACIΛE (or similar), anchor; reverse double cornucopia, caduceus between horns, pellets above; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $45.00 (39.60)


Judean Kingdom, Herod the Great, 37 - 4 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Herod's most famous and ambitious project was his magnificent expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 20 - 19 B.C. Although work on out-buildings continued another eighty years, the new Temple was finished in a year and a half. To comply with religious law, Herod employed 1,000 priests as masons and carpenters. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Today, only the four retaining walls of the Temple Mount remain standing, including the Western Wall.
JD91957. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 59c, Hendin 1188, HGC 10 662, F, ragged flan edge, off center, weight 1.619 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 21 - 12 B.C.; obverse HPW BACI, anchor; reverse double cornucopia, caduceus between horns, five pellets above; ex Better Auction Co. Ltd. Haifa, Israel, (12 Mar 1974), lot 47; $40.00 (35.20)


Judaea, Marcus Ambibulus, Roman Prefect under Augustus, 9 - 12 A.D.

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Marcus Ambivulus was Roman Prefect of the province of Judea and Samaria. Originally a cavalry officer, he succeeded Coponius in 9 A.D. and ruled the area until 12 or 13 A.D. when he was succeeded by Annius Rufus. Josephus noted his tenure in Jewish Antiquities 18.31.
JD91962. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1331, Meshorer TJC 315, RPC I 4957, aF, highlighting earthen deposits, irregular flan shape, reverse off center, weight 1.503 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 315o, Jerusalem mint, 11 - 12 A.D.; obverse KAICAPOC (of Caesar), barley head curved to right; reverse eight-branched date palm tree, bearing two bunches of dates, L - MA (year 41 of Augustus) divided across lower field; $40.00 (35.20)







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Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
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Three Kings Biblical Coins