Time frame of Showa 64 coin minting?

Started by Finn235, November 08, 2017, 07:41:22 PM

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Random question to those more knowledgeable than myself about modern Japanese coins.

Since emperor Showa died on 7 January 1989, it's not surprising that Showa 64 coins are among the scarcer of circulation issues. However, the 1, 5, 10, and 500 yen coins from his final week of life seem to be too common for such a short time frame. Were the coins minted a month or two early, for a while posthumously, or both?

Also, out of simple curiosity, are those coins considered collectible by the Japanese, like the relatively low mintage 2009 coins here in the US?


Don't really know, but I have some elements of an answer.

Modern coin presses are blazing fast. If you mint coins for 40 hours (one week) you have a respectable number, especially if you use a number of presses. If the 50 and 100 were not minted in that week, that may be because they are the most used denomination, so there was a large stock of them.

Mints often use LIFO (last in first out) for stocking and distributing coins. This could have meant that the Hirohito coins were sort of forgotten and nobody realised they were in stock. When stocks ran low, they surfaced. Crats may have reasoned that it was all fair and legal and some of them were out anyway, so it was OK to continue issuing them, rather than give the impression that a crat made an error (heaven forbid!)

There is no reason to start minting with a new date early. On the contrary, a frugal mint master may decide to use available dies from last year until they are worn out.

The Japanse coin collecting market is pretty closed to palefaces. Specialised catalogues are Japanese only affairs. It's hard to impossible to find out where and when there are coin events and coin shops are difficult to find. One Kyoto dealer even refused to sell coins to me, presumable as I sinned against some unwritten rule I didn't know about. What I saw gave me the impression (it's not more than that) that collecting is often by date and grade is important, US style.

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