With the exception of Judas of Iscariot, no figure in the Christian Gospels is as antithetical to the teachings of Jesus as King Herod. “Herod” is not just one person; the Bible uses the name interchangeably to indicate any of the kings who ruled the Holy Land from 40 BC to 92 AD. The Herods were all Roman client kings—Herod I was installed in Judaea by his friend Mark Antony—and their supporters, known in the Bible as the Herodians, were loyal to Rome above all. The first mention of them in the Gospels is Mark 3:6: “Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”
If December 7, 1941, is a day that lives in infamy, then June 6, 1944 is the glorious opposite: D-Day, the date of the invasion of Normandy, the turning point in the Second World War. It is impossible to overstate the scope of the decisive battle that marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe. The landing involved some 5,000 ships, 11,000 planes, and 150,000 men, and comprised the largest and most complex air-, sea-, and land operation ever attempted, before or since.
When naysayers warn of the perils of inflation, what they’re really talking about is hyperinflation, a condition defined by economist Steve H. Hanke as “a rate of inflation per month that exceeds 50 percent.” This is a chaotic period of economic upheaval, when fixed incomes become worthless, when wheelbarrows are required to transport paper money to the market for simple transactions, when restaurants write menu prices in pencil because they change every hour. Think Germany in 1923, Greece in 1944, Hungary after World War II, or Yugoslavia in 1994.
The most recent example of hyperinflation occurred in Zimbabwe in 2008. At its worst measurable moment, the rate of inflation doubled every 24 hours—meaning Monday’s wages were worth half as much on Tuesday, a quarter as much Wednesday, and were effectively worthless in a week. Needless to say, this wreaked havoc on the economy, devastating the people of that country for years. Banknotes of unusually high denominations were issued.
Selected for their beauty and their religious significance, these three coins were struck by the Rome mint for the Vatican City State during the tenure of Saint John Paul II. These coins were issued for one year only, in small mintages, and were meant to circulate, making this remarkable collection a rarity.
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Of the myriad holy relics in Christendom, none is as sacrosanct as the so-called True Cross—the piece of wood on which Jesus Christ was crucified. While some historians doubt its authenticity, the True Cross did exist. It was discovered in Jerusalem by St. Helena 300 years after the Crucifixion, changed hands several times through the centuries, and vanished from recorded history after the Second Crusade, when it was seized by the great Muslim warrior Saladin. This remarkable collection features coins of the five historical figures who held the True Cross.