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Great Books on Biblical Coins

Aug 18, 2007
If you are interested in History and Religion, then collecting Biblical Coins might be a great and surprisingly inexpensive hobby to consider. If you are unfamiliar with collecting coins, you might be surprised to hear that you can buy a widows mite, as mentioned in the Christian Bible for around the same price as a CD or DVD.

Widows Mites are quite small bronze coins, usually green or brown in appearance with an anchor on one side and a wheel with ray like spokes on the other, together with Hebrew inscription 'Yehonatan the King'. They were made by the ruthless king of Judea, Alexander Jannaeus around 2100 years ago, in such large quantities that many survive to this day.

Our knowledge of these and many other Biblical coins has developed over time, and gradually the study of such coins resulted in the publication of books specifically dealing with Biblical coins. One of the first and still one of the best, although a little outdated and inaccurate in places is:

The History of Jewish Coinage and of Money in the Old and New Testaments, Frederick W Madden (1864)

This Contains lots of line drawings and much historical information on each coin. Original copies are expensive ($200+), but a reprint from Pegasus Publishing, dated 1967, is readily available for about $20 and is highly recommended.

Getting up to date, two names stand out in terms of popular books on Biblical Coins, Ya'akov Meshorer and David Hendin

The Guide to Biblical Coins 4th Edition, David Hendin, 2001 at approx $90 is the default standard, and if you only buy one book on the subject, make it this one. It is a well-presented richly illustrated catalogue of just over 550 coins, all with a unique and widely quoted reference number.

Ya'akov Meshorer wrote many books and papers on the subject of Biblical coins, the last one before he died becoming an award-winning book is:

A Treasury of Jewish Coins, 2001 approx $90

These two excellent books are very different in style and format, but richly illustrate life and the money that was used in Biblical times.

There are many other books on the subject, often selling for around the $20 range, by people like Rev Edgar Rogers, Florence Aiken Banks, Kenneth Jacob and RS Yeoman. While these are worth a look, and all have value, they do not represent that rounded catalogues of the above books.

There are many new books promised too that you should look out for, an updated book from David Hendin, and a new publication from Richard Plant, provisionally titled 'A numismatic journey through the Bible'.
About the Author
If you are interested in any of these books, or would like to learn more about coin books, please visit www.numibooks.com
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