Japanese Coins (page in construction)
See also : Coins 1000-1775 Coins 1870-99
1588 Oval Coinage in Japan
2021 SOLD for $ 1.92M by Stack's Bowers
To develop trade, Hideyoshi needs a gold coin. The very first, in the 16th year of Tensho corresponding to 1588 CE, is the oban defined by a weight of 10 ryo, of the variety Tensho hishi oban.
This coin is a 146 x 85 mm oval plaque weighing 165 grams. It is molded but not struck, and the weight is adjusted by plugs. It has ink inscriptions on both sides. On the obverse, the hallmarks feature the ornamental paulownia tree which is Hideyoshi's heraldic symbol, some inside a hishi lozenge and others inside a circle. The ink inscriptions include the identification of the date and of the Goto family of goldmiths, and the guaranteed weight of 10 ryo.
In 1595 the first attempt at mass production, around 10,000 pieces per year for five years, is the variety Tensho naga oban, so named because it is longer, 170 mm. The hishi is replaced by a hexagon.
Hideyoshi's successor, Tokugawa Ieyasu, generalizes this monetary system by adding silver and bronze denominations. The gold coin weighing 1 ryo is the koban. The goryoban will be the 5 ryo coin.
Six Tensho hishi oban have survived. One of them graded Extremely Fine was sold for CHF 1.1M before fees by Hess Divo on May 22, 2015, lot 1226.
On April 6 in Hong Kong, Stack's Bowers disperses a highly rare collection of 22 Japanese oval gold coins from the origins until the Komei era, just before the abolition of the Tokugawa system in the Meiji era in 1867, lots 50021 to 50042. Here is the link to the catalog. Lot 50021 is a Tensho hishi oban graded MS 60 by PCGS, estimated US $ 700K.
1588 Tensho Hishi Oban
2015 SOLD for CHF 1.1M before fees par Hess Divo
1595 Naga Oban
2021 SOLD for $ 350K by Stack's Bowers
1870 Demonstration of the Yen for Emperor Meiji
2021 SOLD for $ 1.56M by Stack's Bowers
Know-how cannot be acquired overnight. At the start of Meiji 3, 1870 CE, Japan commissions the British to prepare prototypes. This operation covers eight denominations : 10, 5 and 2 1/2 yen in gold, yen in silver, and four subdivisions in white metal or copper.
The prototypes are sent to Japan and a British engineer arrives in Osaka. The dies are kept in London, which probably explains why the designs will be changed. All subdivisions of the yen are replaced by multiples of the sen, the decimal value 2 yen replaces the fractional 2 1/2 and the 20 yen is added. In June 1871, the government formalizes the creation of the yen. In the meantime, Japan had bought from a trading house the production line abandoned by the British in Hong Kong in 1868.
These British prototypes are extremely rare. On September 12, 2011, Heritage sold a 10 yen for $ 276K including premium and a silver yen for $ 320K including premium.
There are only two complete sets of the eight British specimens. One of them is estimated US $ 750K for sale by Stack's Bowers in Hong Kong on April 6, lot 50043. All units have been certified by PCGS. The three gold coins are graded 67+, 67 and 67 and the others between 65 and 67. The yen is not in silver but in tin, confirming that it was a demonstration set.
The other full set is kept in Great Britain at the Royal Mint Museum.
The crown jewel of the Pinnacle Collection: the Japanese 1870 Pattern Set. This is one of two complete sets and is estimated at $750,000 to $1,500,000. View Lot 50043's Coins in Motion Highlight Video at https://t.co/Rg19OnsdhO. Bid on the lot here: https://t.co/bdifQaK7Ef pic.twitter.com/PHXjxOtQNx— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) April 4, 2021
1870 Ten Yen Pattern
2021 SOLD for $ 660K by Stack's Bowers
With an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000, this Japanese Gold 10 Yen Pattern from Year 3 (1870), Osaka Mint is graded PCGS SPECIMEN-61. This coin will be part of @stacksbowers April 2021 Hong Kong Auction. Bid on Lot 50054 at https://t.co/BziiHDzkV5. pic.twitter.com/doMRYCNKiw— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) March 29, 2021
1870 Pattern Silver Yen
2011 SOLD for $ 320K including premium by Heritage
In the same sale, a gold pattern ten yen of the same year was sold for $ 276K, lot 24377.
1877 The Rarest Meiji Coin
2021 SOLD for $ 840K by Stack's Bowers
The Meiji 10, 1877 CE, has the lowest mintage, 29 pieces. This very limited production enabled an extreme care in the realization. One of them, graded MS 64 by PCGS with a cameo effect, is estimated US $ 300K for sale by Stack's Bowers in Hong Kong on April 6, lot 50045.
Another example was sold on November 22, 2008 by Ginza Coin for JPY 42M including premium, worth at that time US $ 450K. Stack's Bowers does not know of another recent example of an auction of a 20 yen Meiji 10.
The 20 yen Meiji 13 was minted in 103 units. One of them, graded PR 64 Cameo by NGC, was sold for $ 305K including premium by Heritage on January 9, 2017.
@stacksbowers is auctioning a Japanese 20 Yen from 1877 Graded as MS-64 Prooflike. Estimates are $300,000 to $600,000. View the Coins in Motion for Lot 50045 at https://t.co/NuQwKS8teb. Bid on this lot here: https://t.co/hWGCkz4W2i. pic.twitter.com/OMJeHbdWwu— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) March 31, 2021
1877 Twenty Yen
November 22, 2008 SOLD for JPY 42M, worth US$ 450K at that time, including premium by Ginza Coin, lot 974
1909 The Gold Wons of Dr Jacobs
2011 SOLD 630 K$ including premium
Dr. Norman Jacobs had specialized in the study of Japanese coins, of which the engraving was particularly striking. This study includes the Korean issues, which were produced in Osaka between 1906 and 1909 in our calendar. The short reign of Yung Hi, the last emperor of the Joseon Dynasty, indeed ended with the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910.
The sale of his collection was announced at the end of last year. The event is included in the auction made by Heritage at Long Beach from 7 to 12 September. It is also noted that the most important lots were not available in the market for over half a century.
A set of three Korean pieces of the third year of Yung Hi (1909) will be separated. These proof coins (minted before commercial production) in gold have the respective values of 5, 10 and 20 won. They are in mint condition (MS64 NGC). For each of them, only one other example, kept at the Bank of Tokyo, is known. Heritage Magazine published the estimate of the 20 won coin : $ 500K.
The auction house is sharing the link to the pages of his catalog. Here are the coins of 20 won, 10 won and 5 won.
POST SALE COMMENT
The biggest of the three coins, 20 won, got the highest price, $ 630K. The other two were sold for $460K for the 5 won and 300K for the 10 won, below their estimates.
Keep in mind the total of the three lots: $ 1.39 M. A memorable result for an outstanding set.
The above prices include premium.