John Hyrcanus I 135 - 104 BC
Ruler: Antiochus VII/Hyrcanus I
Date: 132/131 BC
Reference: Hendin 451
John Hyrcanus I began his reign with a desire to bring back together the people and land that he considered part of the Jewish heritage. John Hyrcanus I was the first Jewish leader to mint bronze coins. What is interesting with his coins is that they not only mention that he is the High Priest but also note a body of people called the “Council of the Jews.” It is not known exactly known whether this group of leaders was similar to the Sanhedrin of our Lord’s time, or some other form of leadership group.
I also want to mention that this era of coins that are now ascribed to John Hyrancus I has been a widely debated topic. I have given you current numismatic thinking and if you get to read other older articles or book on these coins you will find that some coins had been ascribed to other Jewish leaders who minted coins at a later date. I mention this because it will always be possible that new research will generate new theories, which is true for most ancient coins but especially with these! This coin would be a possible Widow’s Mite as well as a coin to be found on the money changers table.