Japan: Contradiction

Started by Figleaf, April 09, 2006, 10:51:20 AM

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This 10 mon piece of Japan is really interesting (thanks for the pic, KM). It reminds me of the first British coins struck with the steam press in Birmingham, the cartwheel penny (KM 618) and toppence (KM 619). They were hailed as a technological breakthrough. Here's a cast Japanese coin (KM 57) made almost 100 years earlier obtaining the same effect of a wide border with incuse characters.

But what's really funny about our Japanese beauty is that I've been told that the four characters on the edge read Ei Kiu Ze Yo, meaning for eternal use. However, the coin was issued in 1708 and withdrawn the same year (thanks, William). Those inscrutable orientals...

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


I believe the reason for its withdrawal was extensive forgery.  While tariffed at 10 mon, it contained only the same amount of metal as about four ordinary mon coins, so people weren't slow in working out how to make a swift profit with a bit of melting here and there.  I have one of these, bought in Japan when I lived there almost 20 years ago, and found the contradiction rather amusing too.

The "modern" transliteration of those characters is Eikyuu Seyou, for good measure.