Also known as Yechochanan, Hyrcanus was the High Priest (and thereby a Kohain) of the Temple. His father, Simon, and mother were murdered by Ptolemy, their son-in-law.
He ruled at the peak of the Hasmonean Dynasty and was the first Hasmonean ruler to issue coins. After the death of Atiochus VII, he expanded the Jewish kingdom to include parts of what is now known as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the Galilee, and areas south and west of Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his son, Aristobulus I
He is renowned by coin collectors for the monies he issued. Like many other coins issued by the Hasmonean Dynasty, his coin was made of bronze and had the value of a double prutah, also known as a mite or a lepton, biblically, the "widow's mite". One side had the picture of a double cornucopia and the other a crested helmet and an inscription that read "Yechochanan the High Priest and Leader of the Community of Jews." Other coins he issued have pictures of lilies, pomegranites, and upright palm branches on them.