An E-Sylum reader forwarded this local newspaper article about a Bible-coin-collecting pastor. Thanks!
Jesus overturned the money changers' tables. For the past 15 years, the Rev. John Kingsbury has been cleaning up the mess.
Kingsbury, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Annapolis, collects Biblical coins - a hobby that began when he wondered what kinds of currency were on the tables at the Jerusalem temple.
The question led him not to religious texts, because they lacked this sort of information, but to archaeological tomes. He started reading up on ancient coinage and decided he wanted 2,000 year-old examples to inspect. While many are quite valuable, the more common ones can be had for only a few dollars apiece, so the task wasn't out of the question.
"I've never met anybody like that before, especially in his profession," said Hank Schab of Annapolis, secretary of the Colonial Coin Club. "It's very interesting."
Kingsbury, who now blogs on the subject, gets the coins from dealers and at coin shows. He accumulates the most complete collection he can on a very limited budget.
His inventory mainly encompasses coins from 100 B.C. to 100 A.D., although he also has one of the oldest coins, a tiny 1/24 stater from Ionia in the 6th century B.C..
"He's got a nice collection and he knows a lot about them," said Brian Kritt, a Burtonsville coin dealer who has become friends with the pastor. "He's someone I respect and admire."
Kingsbury has more than 100 Roman, Greek and Judean pieces, neatly arranged in blue velvet cases and a book. Kingsbury isn't as much concerned with the condition of the coins as with the information they impart. He does appreciate the artistry of their designs, however.
The pastor often shows the coins to parishioners and uses them as teaching tools for students at St. Mary's. "He has a real flair," said Christine Kalkavage, who has Kingsbury visit her Latin classes. "And he has wonderful stories to tell about the coins. Students get to hold history in their hands."
Kingsbury admits it's an unusual hobby for a priest, but he said the coins have opened up a new side of scripture for him. "Different parables make sense when they didn't before," he said.
He's still keeping his eye out for more coins, but his current project is learning calligraphy so he can mimic the writing on them. One day, he wants to write a book about Biblical coins, and hopes to donate his collection to a Redemptorist museum.
Kingsbury said the coins have influenced how he approaches his calling.
"It's changed the way I preached. That's what I appreciate more than anything."
Kingsbury's blog can be found at
To read the complete article, see:
Collecting a religious experience
Wayne Homren, Editor
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