Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The movie, The Bishop's Wife, mentions an ancient coin. According to the actors, the coin is either Jewish (a widow's mite) or Roman Imperatorial (issued by Julius Caesar). Watch the clip, read below, and see how you'd attribute the coin.

PROFESSOR: Raising money for the new cathedral, huh?
JULIA: It's slow work, Professor. And you? How's your book coming?
PROFESSOR: Oh, splendidly. Greatest history of Rome since Gibbon's.
JULIA: I wish it weren't so late. The cathedral committee's meeting with Henry. I really should be there.
PROFESSOR: Well, one of these days, we'll have time for a nice talk again. Oh, here. Here, for Henry's cathedral fund.
JULIA: This coin?
PROFESSOR: It has very little value, I'm afraid. Just an old Roman coin. I picked it up years ago in Italy.
JULIA: Oh, it's a wonderful contribution.
PROFESSOR: Nonsense. Might be called the widow's mite, only I'm not a widow. (CONCERNED) Julia? What's the matter?


DUDLEY: Even when you had this coin to inspire you?
JULIA: Why, that's the coin you gave to Henry, Professor.
DUDLEY: Yes, I borrowed it from Henry's desk.
PROFESSOR: You wasted your time. It's worthless.
DUDLEY: Oh, on the contrary. This coin is one of the rarest of all antiquities. Only one hundred of these coins were minted by Julius Caesar, two thousand years ago. That was when Cleopatra visited Rome. Presumably, these coins were used to pay her hotel bill.
PROFESSOR: Why, that's amazing.
DUDLEY: Nobody knew about it, except Caesar's wife and she had the coins destroyed. But this one she overlooked. It's an unwritten chapter in history. And you, Professor, will write it.

I think Dudley is off by a couple of centuries. It looks like Trajan to me. I need an Imperial coin expert to do the attribution.
Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for the new year.

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