Yaakov Meshorer

The earliest known representation of a seven-branched menorah appears on this bronze coin struck by the last Hasmonean king Mattathias (in Greek, Antigonus) (40–37 B.C.). No other ancient coin is known to bear a menorah decoration. It is thought to have been issued as a kind of propaganda to rouse the inhabitants of Jerusalem to defend their capital and Temple against the advancing power of Herod and the Roman armies. The indistinct Greek letters on either side of the menorah are the abbreviations of Basileus (king) Antigonus.