Money Does Not Grow on Trees

These things pop up from time to time purporting to be the actual, mint-made items. Can you imagine casting over a billion coins five at a time? These things are purely fantasies made for collectors and the curious. They make for a good paper weight but so does a stone.


Not Cash Coins...Better

Yup, ain't no coins for sure. This is just a thin pamphlet printed in 1929 titled, "The Japan News Letter, Special Ferris Seminary Number" (of the Japan Mission of the Reformed Church in America). This is a "leaflet put out by members of the Mission in Japan and made it a special Ferris Seminary number." The Great Earthquake in 1923 destroyed the original building. This issue is a sort of commemoration of the new structure. It begins with, "So many friends in America and in othe places have had a part in rebuilding Ferris Seminary, and all have shown such an interest in the work that it seems best to share as much as possible of the joy of the accomplishment of the building."

This "leaflet" has 23 numbered pages, wraps, and a two-page glossy plates (photos) of "Dedication Services," "Alumnae Luncheon" with Dr. Booth as a speaker, and a "Musical" with "Dr. and Mrs. Booth in Left Foreground." Basically, this is a real uninteresting, thin pamphlet to most that makes no contribution to absolutely almost nothing. It is like chasing the final digit of "pie."

BUT, for me, this is a superb addition to my little collection of Yokohama Bluff material. First, the rarity of this item can not be overstated. WorldCat lists not a single copy of this particular issue, although it does show that UNION THEOL SEMINARY owns some issues from the 1920s. Furthermore, within this "leaflet" is a mention of Dr. Booth's son who lived in Kamakura at the time. I had illustrated a postcard earlier of this possible son with Ferris connection.

All of this investigative work is fun. A thought: I like the PBS "History Detective." There was a subject about a pair of African-American photographed with a dozen or so Civil War vets. The question was, "Who were they?" Elyse Luray took on the investigation. She saw GAR emblem on one of the head covers worn by the vets. She did not even know what GAR stood for! Perhaps she played a cat and mouse game for the viewers? It does not realy matter, as I watch that show to watch Elyse. Perhaps she may want to investigate one of my many unanswered projects.


Can Someone Date This Postcard by the Stamp?

I was sooo excited when I found this postcard. The police station card I illustrated some time ago is very tough to find, but this one here, I believe, is one of the key rarities of early Yamate or the "Bluff" Yokohama. I kinda think this card is like 1910 or so? But since I don't know a thing about postal marks and stamps, I am only guessing. The card is written in Russian so I figure it is slightly post Russo War, 1904-05. Any stamp collectors out there who can date this?

I am always looking for early Yokohama stuff, especially the Yamate or the Bluff area where Munro used to live and work. Always interested in the schools of that area: Sancta Maria, St. Joseph's College, and Ferris school for women. Can trade my cash coins or buy outright.

NOTE: Bill writes, "The stamp is from the turn of the 20th century. If my memory serves me right, it is from the stamps series known as the NEW KOBAN and was released sometime around 1899 to 1910(?). I used to also collect Japanese stamps, but gave it up to concentrate on the Kanei coins. I relooked at the postcard and I believe (again if my memory serves me correctly) that is postmarked October 1908. The Japanese postmark was done on Oct 1, 1908 ( 8 - 10 -1) and the Russian one is on October 5, 1908 (8 - 10 -5)."

The date of this card is interesting. The location of the school from 1904 was 85 Bluff in which Munro occupied until 1901. I believe this card is the earliest surviving image of the school. I am lucky to own it. Although I do not believe in fortune-telling, one fortune contained in a fortune cookie said, "You will accomplish many things this year."


More Fakes, YUP

I have illustrated and pointed out some details in identifying reproductions somewhere below about Showa Shoho, one of the antique coins. You can compare this new one to them. As for another issue, I drew some arrows indicating the exact points to consider here. These two coins are exactly alike!

I am not a counterfeiter so I do not know exactly how these things are made. Does anyone ever consider the possibility that some of these imitataions are actually struck with the dies rather than being cast? If you own any of these better made repros, can you check and see if there are flow lines or stress lines from being struck? I have a feeling that the dies created for striking these are from intentionally worn dies or dies made to look worn. And the planchets used are from the actual old cash coins that have been smoothed out. This is only a guesswork on my part, however.

You guys need to leave a feedback once in a while. Ain't nobody gonna make fun of you just because your theories or comments are out of touch. That is what I do all the time. We have to start somewhere. You can always leave anonymous comments as well. This is really anonymous. Even me, a blog owner, cannot trace it.

Fakes in Japanese Auction

This sharply made Kanei Tsuho has been going around in Japan. This has the number THREE or 三 on the back. But there are all sorts with different numbers on the back.

This group of coins is also from the same auction. This is real mixture of good and bad. I am sure some of those shiny Meiji coins are modern reproductions. I used an arrow to show you that there is even one of the 12 antique coins, Ryuhei-Eiho. This lot, by the way, has no return privilege. That is understandable, as it is a lot. But then, almost all items sold in Yahoo Japan auctions are not returnable. That is how the business is carried out there in Japan. Someone just may be fooled by that one coin and submit a high bidding. I doubt very much though.


Nice Find

Persistant scrutinizing paid off for Bill Dunkle.

This is one of the coins in an unattributed lot of Kanei he bought. He tried matching it against one of my catalogs and Ogawa's work but nothing in iron with the exact match. However, he did find a coin matching his in copper only issue. He says he lost a lot of sleep trying to attribute this coin. And thanks to Bill, I am losing mine. It is 2:45am now.

When he first sent me a photo of this coin, I thought it was just a common Sendai mint coin. The photo did not show any key elements for further attribution. However, he decided to send the actual coin to me. It became clear to me that it is not from Sendai. He thought it could be J-33, 1708 issue from Kameido mint. Actually it is J-34. My description of J-34 about the central hole being larger is inaccurate. Please disregard. Here is a much clearer rubbing of this variety. You can copy and paste. The major difference between J-33 and 34 is the right arm of Ei 永. J-34 is shorter than 33.
I took two photos and attached a J-34 for comparison. I believe this works.
There are some iron Kanei coins known of copper only issues. It is not the same as dual metal issues, where both copper and iron were issued by the mints. This one, I believe, is not recorded. Bill's hawk-eye surely paid off.
More on this as I get feedbacks from Japan. Any feedbacks from this blog readers?


Some Funky Cash Coins

I like the Hai-To Kanei because I like the Kanei series. This one is nicely made. It is a seed only issue. Just hoped it was genuine. If you know the real coin, the differences are obvious.

The large coin is supposedly a pattern for the Ryukyu 200 mon or Han-Shu. This pattern has been around since the Meiji period. Some authorities doubt it ever existed as a pettern, however. Perhaps it was created as a curio. This coin pictured is a copy of that curio.

Sendai Tsuho is a fun little square coin. Here I have 6 little coins. All are in copper or seed. Can you tell which one/ones is/are BAD? HINT: the only way you can tell is if you know what the three varieties look like, Sho-Yo, Chu-Yo, and Tai-Yo.


Munro's Coins of Japan

This item is being offered on eBay now. For those who have been wanting a copy, this is a good chance to acquire one. What is it worth? At this state of preservation, is it worth more or less than a reprint? In this case, I would rather own a reprint edition. What are your thoughts?

From eBay seller: "Condition: Reading copy. Ex library with many library markings. Book has been library rebound. Cover is worn. Lettering on spine is handwritten. One of the plates is missing — however a color photo of that plate from another book is included. The missing plate is between page 6 & 7 and titled “Primitive Treasure.” There are also many small tears throughout the book and some of the tears have been repaired with scotch tape that has since discolored. Binding is tight. Even though the condition of this book is far from idea, it is still a very rare volume and full of useful information and images."

Item #180121530065

UPDATE: It brought $106. If you collect Japanese cash coins, this book is a MUST.


Bunroku Tsuho

Bunroku Tsuho

Polder says this coin was minted in silver and copper and illustrates a copper coin as figure no.38 that measures 21.5mm, but its weight is unknown. Obviously, he did not have a sample for weighing. He also says that figure no. 39 is that of a silver issue. However, his fig.39 is a small uninscribed blank. Munro illustrates two examples or two distinctly different varieties in silver. This is what he says about the copper coin: "A copper coin is spoken of; but does not exist. Forgeries are shown by dealers, however, to tempt the uninitiated."

The above photo is that of a copper coin currently being offered by a dealer. So perhaps a copper issue does exist? Or is this one of those copper coins Munro was referring to? Everyone should know the answer to this right?
UPDATE 5.26 Someone just paid $100 for this.


More Genho Tsuho Varieties

Been a spell since I did an attribution to this series of coins called the GENHO TSUHO. I am adding 6 more varieties today.

1A2 - this is a sub-variety of 1A already mentioned below. It is one dot TSU. The crown of HO is even with the top of the square rim (1A is lower)

2A2 - a sub-variety of 2A. Two dots in TSU. The right leg of GEN is much longer than 2A passing well beyond the corner of the square rim.

1B1.3 - a sub-variety of 1B. One dot TSU. Resembles 1B1.1 but the left leg of GEN is even with the corner of the square rim.

1B1.2 - One dot TSU. This also resembles 1B1.1 but the right character HO is slimmer and slightly taller and the top of TSU much longer.

2D3 - Two dot TSU, small characters, resembles 2D2 but GEN seems to lean to the right because of the second stroke of GEN is not written straight.

2D4 - Two dot TSU, small characters, resembles 2D1 but GEN smaller and its right leg not as long as 2D1.


New Book on Japanese Cash Coins

Brand new book on a rare subject called HISTORY AND GUIDE TO THE COPPER CASH COINAGE OF JAPAN Jones.

This reference book is 8.5x11 inches, illustrated card covers, 154 numbered pages, copyright 2007, frontispiece penned by Ogawa Hiroshi. It begins with a newly edited, revised, and annotated version of the Polder's Abridged History of the Copper Coins of Japan with the original plates. It is NOT the same as the simple xerox copy of the work published in the 80s. This new work is a totally overhauled edtion. Following it is a nine page paper called the Enigma Surrounding the Medieval Coinage of the Ryukyu Islands in which the writer disproves the notion that the so-called Ryuyku cash coins of the 15th century could have been made in Okinawa or the Ryukyu. This paper is followed by the Attribution Guide to the Cash Coins of Japan with identifying features describing 356 types and varieties from the Nara-Heian Period through the Meiji restoration.

$25 postpaid by priority mail in USA
for international buyers, best to buy from me on ebay for the best possible postage rate

Many Faces of Nisui Ei Kanei Tsuho

Quick Attribution Guide to Ni Sui Ei Varieties (Ko-Kanei Tsuho)

Top of Tsu 通 written with マ
Top of Tsu 通written with コ
Top of reverse with a character, usually three (3) 三
Top of reverse with a dot

These coins are perhaps the most popular varieties within the Kanei Tsuho series.


Showa Shoho (Antique Sen)

The coin on the left has been listed before on this site. A new one came on the market, which is the coin on your right. Both of these reproductions are very nicely made. In fact, they are scary! Obviously, the two coins were cast from the same mold. There are telltale signs, which I used arrows to point. Caveat emptor!


Silver Eiraku Tsuho

This often comes up on eBay from a seller in China. The seller also has a Kaigen Tsuho in silver. These items are cute to have as reference pieces.

Unusual Japanese Yokohama Postcard

Sometimes I spend hours looking at offerings of Yokohama postcards. Most cards are of common sites, and they appear time after time. However, this card is very scarce. As a child, I remember going inside this station. It was about a block away from where I lived. By the late 60s, the police station relocated to a new building, which was only a few blocks away at a place called Kominato. There used to be a military housing in that area with PX, commissary, bowling alley, movie theater, and a school for the gaijin brats called Kinnicks or Yohi. Just a thought.


Which Coin is a Fake?

Can you spot which coin is a fake? Or are they both real? Or are they both fakes?


More Better Fakes from China

These are all repros. They look nice.

Pewter Tenpo Tsuho Seed Coin

This item is from Yahoo Japan auction. It brought about $1,100 US dollars with very active bidding with 22 bidders.


Money Tree

This interesting item came up on eBay recently. The description is as follows: “Japanese Money Tree. Almost eight inches from top to bottom. This piece was sold as lot #893 from Hans Schulman's October 1970, auction sale of the Howard D. Gibbs Collection of Primitive Money. Photographed in the catalog. Mikureia Tree of 12 Cash coins. 1774. Coin is Kwi-Gun Ku.
J&V. K315 (S-14). EF."

This item brought $406.

I do not know what “Mikureia” or “Kwi-Gun Ku” is. The year 1774 eludes me as well. It probably refers to the iron issue with reverse mintmark with Ma-To-Tsu? However, the obverse depicts the likeness of Maruyama-Sen or Edo coin of 1668.

These Eda-Sen or Money Tree is a fantasy created for the collectors. Sometimes, these “trees” are refereed to as “temple money.” They are a nice curio for display purposes. If someone wants one for display, I am sure it is worth $400, $4000 or $40. One has to keep in mind, however, that they are not genuine coins.


Very Nice Reproductions of Antique Coins

These coins are well made imitations of the twelve antique coins. They even have wear and tear. Obviously, these coins were never buried for any length of time. They scarcely resemble the patina being buried for over 1000 years. You may argue that they may have never been buried. This argument is a very good point to consider. There are some coins without any hard patina having never been buried. Many coins, however, are recovered from Biwa Lake in Japan. Those coins have sedimentary patina, which was acquired from being under the water for 1000 or so years. Others have iron oxide patina, and still others have other types of patina such as calcium deposits depending on the chemical make-up of the soil. I am sure these imitations have some value. From their looks, I can say for sure that they are not contemporary to the period. Were they made in the last several years to fool collectors? I believe so. How does one attach values to these? They are good looking and attractive but still not genuine. If a collector is of good means, whatever that collector can afford to pay for them is a start. For someone with average means, perhaps $10-20 to keep as reference pieces. The initail price is determined by how much someone is willing to pay. The real value is determined by how much one can get for them when selling. It's a funky thing for sure.