12 Days of Christmas: Giving gold, frankincense and myrrh, the original Christmas gifts

Coin World explores numismatic items along 12 themes related to Christmas
By , Coin World
Published : 12/17/14
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Coin World continues reviewing the “12 Days of Christmas” in numismatics. 

The original Christmas gift

Collectors looking for a Christmas gift with a touch of authenticity need look no further than the original Christmas gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were the three gifts the Wise Men (also called The Three Kings or Magi) brought from the east to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, as reported in Matthew 2:11. 

Though many people have heard of frankincense and myrrh and have even sung about them in Christmas carols, few have actually seen, let alone owned, these precious substances. 

Read all of Coin World's "12 Days of Christmas" posts

Gold has long been coveted for its beauty and value. Frankincense and myrrh are aromatic resins extracted from rare trees.  

Frankincense, an almost white resin, was one of the most prized and costly substances in the ancient world, worth more than its weight in gold. It was used in medicines and incense, according to Exodus 30:34.

Myrrh, a dark resin, was widely used in perfumes, incense and embalming. 

Coin dealer Joel Anderson created sets of all three substances, housed in a carved wooden box, handmade and imported from India, measuring 4 inches deep, 6 inches wide and about 2.5 inches tall. 

Included are California-mined gold flakes and nuggets as well as frankincense and myrrh resin imported from the Middle East. 

The set retails for $49.95.

While only partially numismatic (thanks to the gold), this set is too neat not to include in Coin World’s “12 Days of Christmas” list. 

More from CoinWorld.com:

X-ray performed on Boston time capsule that may contain 17th century Pine Tree shilling

The man who spent $4.76 million on gold Nobel Prize medal has returned it to its owner

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