Part of the fun of collecting coins is determining the facts of the coin's creation. Where was it made? When was it made, and by whom? What is it made of? After these basic facts are determined "Why?" becomes the most interesting historical question. Below are some interesting coins that I have collected and about which I know very little. If you know more about a coin than I write below, then please contact me at email@example.com in either Japanese or English.
Two unknown 100 mon value Tenpou Tsuuhou. The Tenpou Tsuuhou was a 100 mon value coin minted between 1835 and 1871. Two of the ones below are strange. One is made of white metal, perhaps mostly tin? It is not a "mother coin" and there is a casting error at the feet of the "hou" character. One collector has informed me that this is a type which came out of the Osaka mint. The other has a strangely made character on the back. The "tou" has five marks above the roof instead of the normal three. It is likely just the result of a casting error. The one on the right is a common one for comparison. They are all approximately 33mm wide x 49mm tall x 2mm thick, and they all have the customary stars stamped into the sides, one on the left and one on the right.
|detail of top left coin's reverse|
Unknown Iron Kan'ei Tsuuhou, with private mintmark?
The style of this coin's front inscription is like a Sendai Ishinomaki iron coin. However the coin is smaller than official coins and is of very rough manufacture. It is probably a privately made counterfeit such as were common in the Nanbu region (Morioka Prefecture) of northern Japan. Ironworkers were commonin that region and after the government began officially minting iron coins in the 1740's the iron workers often made their own spending money (!) in minature foundries in the hills. The most interesting thing about this coin is the faint mintmark on the back. The mark is behind the "tsuu" character which is generally unknown in Japanese coins. Furthermore the mark is unreadable. It is either a private mark or a poor transcription of an official mintmark such as the "sen" of Sendai coins. Sometimes it even looks like a Ch'ing Manchu mintmark to me. The mark is real but faint. I needed to take a picture in angled sunlight for the mark to appear clearly. 21mm wide x 1.5mm thick.