Alexander Jannaeus 103 - 76 BC
Ruler: Alexander Jannaeus
Date: 103-76 BC
Reference: Hendin 469
Alexander Yannai was a powerful ruler, greatly expanding the territory of Judea. Seemingly, because of this expansion, he will make some changes to the traditional way the Hasmoneans minted their coins. They will be bilingual in many cases, using both Palaeo-Hebrew and Greek inscriptions. He will also make use of symbols on his coins that the newly conquered lands would be familiar with such as the anchor, which is a symbol that was used by the previous Seleucid dynasty on their coins.
99% of the time, if you ask an ancient coin dealer for a widow’s mite, you will be given a coin from this ruler. The reason this coin is chosen, even though it was issued about 75 to a 100 years before Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth, is that it was minted in such great numbers. So common is this coin that even today you can purchase it for a very reasonable price. Therefore, this is a coin that is clearly present on the money changers table during the time of Jesus and is a very strong candidate for being the actual coin used by the widow.