"Jesus" misspelled on over 6,000 newly minted papal medals made four owners unexpected collectors as the Vatican misspelled “Jesus” and wrote “Lesus” instead. “Vatican coins and medals bearing the face of Pope Francis are bought by collectors all over the world. A few collectors may make a fortune because of the scarcity value of the flawed medals,“ reported BBC on Oct. 11, 2013.
The commemorative medals went on sale in official Vatican stores on Oct. 8, 2013, but were withdrawn just two days later after the misspelling of “Jesus” was noticed, said the Vatican Publishing House.
The fortunate four who noticed that the Vatican had misspelled “Jesus” snapped up a handful of the coins before the mistake was noticed by the Vatican.
According to Reuters, Italian media reported that before the papal medals were discovered to have “Jesus” misspelled as “Lesus,” and before the medals could be withdrawn, “four people purchased medals displaying the error, which could fetch high prices on rare coin markets.”
The over 6,000 new medals with the misspelled “Jesus” were produced by the Italian State Mint in gold, silver and bronze in honor of the beginning of Pope Francis’s papacy.
The medals were inscribed with a picture of the pope as well as the quote, "Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum, et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi, 'Sequere me’," – except instead of “Jesus” it said “Lesus.”
The inscription is Francis' papal motto and was taken from a meditation by the 8th-century English monk, the Venerable Bede, on a passage of the Gospel in which Jesus calls St. Matthew to be an apostle. The Latin inscription means “Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me'."
As news of the Vatican's “Jesus” spelling mistake spread rapidly internationally, it didn’t take long for social media users to come up with innovative jokes about this new religious figure, "Lesus" Christ.