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Unlisted Korea 1898 1/4 yang variety?

Started by gxseries, January 14, 2012, 05:17:39 PM

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Applying that to the coins shown in this thread, I get:

Initial message (gxseries upper picture): 84 pearls - contemporary counterfeit of KM 1117
Initial message (gxseries upper picture): 70 pearls - KM 1117
Reply 9 (gxseries): 80 pearls - tolerated contemporary counterfeit, KM 1118
Reply 13 (capnbirdseye): 70 pearls - KM 1117

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


here is an example of a presumed forgery for sale on Ebay, looks freshly made to me but I could be wrong



similar, but slightly different even so!
Note the alignment of the "G" to the dragons nose again.

These are a wonderful series, even if they were not authorised by the Korean government, they still circulated :)
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....


I'm selling my extremely rare date 1897 1/4 yang if anyone's interested then PM me,


So, did we move somewhere in these several years on this topic? Has there been any variety listings, do we have more information gxseries, andy, others?

I've found a clear misindetification on KM numbers 1117/1118 on numista, but showing a variety:

They have different reverses and obverses but the circles are the same size, with 70 beads. At the first glance besides larger wreath I have noticed the shape of G in denomination, the left one is pointy elongated one the other one is round G. My example of this coin is similar to the right one but with lightly pointy G in rounder style, similar to gx's second piece so I guess that's the common, regular one - making it three varieties. Image is attached.

Also, I am not sure about two varieties shown on this fine website. Let's call original issue C1 and the better one, supposedly Japanese C2:


At the first glance the difference is not obvious, as their owner says, but the circle is a bit larger on C2. Precisely, if the original issue had 11.25 mm circle, the other measures 11.74 mm, by outer dimensions of the circle. Not that much and certainly not 12.5 mm which should supposedly be on Japanese one. To note, my coin is on the broader circle size when compared to these two and with what I can measure it's definitely notably less than 12mm. which seems correct for C1/C2. However, if C1 is struck on half milimeter broader planchet as stated (I always take diameters with reserve), the first one is not 11.25 then. I believe these coins are all around 20.5 mm but I don't own a caliper nor many do.

Weight, the only parameter that can be trusted online is stated low for the both 4.46 g and 4.52 g (vs 5.16 g for my example), which is similar to the first coin by gx (4.66 g). I'll also contact the owner of them.

Other details like bolder letters and feature might be more obvious on that one, although the details are pretty much on the same page. I took the obverses, rotated them so the dots around denomination are aligned in both examples and needed to resize the images very slightly to compare them. Out of the four combinations of comparison, this one shown here is the most interesting (second image attached).

At first I thought some of them are not central, but C2 has simply larger stamp. Both examples have inscriptions pretty equally aligned to the dragon, so they match well. Circle is larger on the right which accounts for narrower rim. C1 wasn't struck ideally central either, with that right rim being wider, but they did match on the left. Number of pearls in the ring - 64 for both.
Is it possible that C2 was struck with worn out a bit deformed dies to make the features bigger or it's too big difference to be possible? I don't know much about these things in minting technology.

My example has 70 beads, just like lower one of yours gx (which was struck before mine if it's the same die and I have found ones that have even bigger defects, so newer) and like both on numista have. Some similar web catalogs seem to have either misidentified large circle varieties or like coinsfactwiki do not have them (shame on PCGC for grading that coin that high for renowned client... I thought people will get tired of graded pieces eventually but does not seem to be happening). At first, all varieties there seem to be (nice) pieces that we already have covered here.

So, what is 12.5 mm Japanese type actually? What is that SCWC info that seems to be elusive and so hard to identify? I do not have Korean literature but as read, they do not cover it in detail.


OK, so I did a whole day digging around, measuring diameters, counting pearls and finally found the answer, which was also given timely by Dany Kim in reply #14 but I was lead with the initial thought it's some other fake of the time and it was not looked in detail as much as it should (sorry Dany).

I am absolutely amused how even the biggest auction houses together with grading houses have absolutely no clue about this piece. ALL graded KM#1118  pieces I've been able to see are not correctly attributed. Every single one. Should've checked ebay first.

The only auctioned piece where comparison of the two is made and it was done so correctly was: - and we're having the same variety from the initial post :)

Older 1/4 Yang (Joseon) had 80 dots and wide circle with lot of space to the dragon. Line of G in denomination points a bit left of the lower dragon's nose tip and the dragon itelf looked straight right, with its tail pointing the same direction on the top. Imperial 1/4 Yang has 70 dots on year 1 and years 3, 4... The lower dragon is rotated, looking slightly up (more aesthetic IMHO). Line of G points to around his eye. My suspicion is that legal fakes (points a bit right of the nosetip) were based partially on the older ones, dragon is too much coincidental although, of course, less artistic on the fakes. But the exactly 80 dots are there!

And no wonder it was noted as a fake by sharp eyes in time and then decided to be legalized - no coinage expenses and when it's controlled it's okay :) Quite possibly the official weight was reduced afterwards but that might be too speculating. I'm glad all of us here noticed something is indeed wrong with the piece, experience surely makes our minds work brilliantly. In this case, we rediscovered information Krause (and experts of the field like Dany) had.

So, how can we conclude information for this coin? It was by far the most minted modern Korean coin until then. Opening of the Empire to provide enough change for all occasions. Varieties on the official issues are small and hardly noticeable, except on really detailed analysis (remember, it's easy with today's technology but not back then). So all of them have to be official issues. They're too good. Some extremely well made pieces I've found with even more varieties including character differences (10 o'clock one e.g.) show that the topic is today quite well documented.
Since it was not a silver piece, weight was less important and varies incredibly (4.5 - 5.2 g). The Japanese infiltrating piece had weighted in these boundaries but it was relatively clumsily made so it was discovered. Other contemporary fakes must have been much worse, shallow, lacking details and all clumsy.

I have attached the image for the identification tool. (lot from London Coins Ltd, Auc. 146/#1289)

On the note, there is A LOT of confusion with 1 yang silver piece from the same year as well. Both varieties do exist as stated in SCWC but are not listed properly in sales, grading holders of course nor on numista (even the wrong photo of an earlier type is used for one of them, if a moderator sees this, as Korean page is really nice there...) Off to dive in 5 Fun varieties now, it will be fun. No pun intended. Just fun.