Author Topic: One hoard with 260,000 cash coins, still looped on their strings  (Read 246 times)

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Offline Pellinore

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A treasure of 260,000 cash coins was found in Japan, buried in the 15th century at a samurai's castle. The discovery was in the beginning of 2018 or maybe a bit earlier; the first newspaper mention that I found, in the Asahi Shimbun, dates from March 27, 2018.

The coins were contained in a large jar. Pictures show it open: dusty coins with new looking pieces of string. Apparently, a wooden tablet was applied to the lid, on which the words “nihyaku rokuju” ('260') were written. This is thought to be 260,000. A few weeks ago, this staggering number was corroborated by an X-ray look into the 74 cm tall ceramic jar. Only a small number of the coins was studied. Among these, the earliest was Kaigen Tsuho (621), and there were Genpo Tsuho (1078) and Eiraku Tsuho (1408). Because of the enormous costs of researching and describing all the coins, the plan is to leave most of these inside.
Source: The Archaeology News Network blog.

-- Paul


Offline Figleaf

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Re: One hoard with 260,000 cash coins, still looped on their strings
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2018, 08:55:39 PM »
A very interesting find. It is certain to be a treasure, of course, but I am wondering what the family had in mind. The same amount in silver bars would have taken much less place. And why were the cash coins strung? Would the strings have had a function? A quick payment to a large number of people? A reward for a whole army?

Another aspect is the wide difference of dates of the coins, from the 7th to at last the 15th century. Of course, the coins remained basically the same, but they must have worn in circulation. IIRC, the strings were suspended at one end from the belt, where they must have banged into each other, maybe at every step.

Lastly, I disagree that this mass of coin should not be researched. In fact, that should not be too costly if it is done in a smart way. Just make large, clear drawings of the main types you expect to occur and leave it to history students to do the first sorting with the drawings hanging on a wall. Study the non-main types and get at least macro data of the main types: number of coins and total weight. If you can get 13 students and they can sort 500 coins an hour you can do the first sort in forty hours, five days work. There would be mistakes, but in the large mass, they would not matter. Let them study the characters on the main types and give them an educational credit and it will cost nothing, but, being students, they would probably appreciate a beer party afterwards. ;).

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Pellinore

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Re: One hoard with 260,000 cash coins, still looped on their strings
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 08:40:37 AM »
This is a found full of riddles. I agree with you that all of the coins should be researched, and also the way how they were put in the jar. Was it an accumulation of centuries of rent from tenants? Was it a coin collector's hoard? If less than a hundred identified coins yielded so much age difference.
I would want the strings themselves researched, and maybe there are other things in the urn, say, notes, or bars of silver.

-- Paul