Shin KanEi TsuHo Sendai Mint Guide

Make sure you click the pics to enlarge.

I've been attributing Kanei Tsuho for 30 years now, or at least trying to attribute them. Sometimes, the more I look at them the more I get confused. I think I did a decent job describing them in my catalogs, but they can always be improved. Through this blog, I intend to do so.

Today I wanna talk about a few coins from Sendai mint. If you have about a hundred Kanei coins on your desk, how do you find the Sendai coins from this bunch? First thing you have to do is to separate them by sizes: small, medium, and large. Sendai coins would fall in the medium sized group. What you do next is to look at the character “HO” 寶. This character is unique with Sendai coins. It is slender and tall.

Now comes the nitty-gritty attribution part. This is where the headache begins. We all see things differently. Japanese catalogs on Shin Kanei Tsuho tend to follow the catalogs of the past. They all have a fancy name attached to each variety. If a variety is called, “something-something TSU,” that variety should have major differences with the character TSU 通, compared to other varieties within the type. But that is not often the case. Most of the time, the differences are so subtle that it is very difficult to compare against another variety.

I have pictured four coins from Sendai here. The numbers are from my “Attribution Guide to Shin Kanei Tsuho.” I am not listing other varieties, as they are quite obvious ones.

#76 Isho Sha Ho 異書斜寶 1728
#77 Isho Shin Kan 異書進冠 1728
#78 Isho Cho Tsu 異書長通 1728
#79 Isho Tei Kan 異書低寛 1728

At a glance, these coins all look alike. So, where does one begin? Look at the legs of KAN 寛. If you have the legs that look like this 見, firmly connected to the body, then you have either #76 or #78. If there is space between the legs and the body, you have either #77 or #79. So far so good?

Now, #78 is called Cho Tsu, meaning the character TSU is larger and longer than that of #76. If you have eagle-eye, you may be able to detect it. There is an easier way, however. Look at the right leg of KAN. On #76, its leg is almost even with the corner of the square rim. On #78, it is well inside of the square rim. Of course, there are other minor differences between the two varieties, but the right leg of KAN is where you need to take note.

So, what are the differences between #77 and #79? On #77, the corner of フon永 points up; whereas, フon永 points down slightly on #79. Next, note the character 通. On #79, its left part 辶 is connected; on #77 there is a space. In addition, the top part of 通 (コ) is longer/larger on #79 than it is on #77. Also, note the crown of 寛 on both varieties. On #77, its crown is off-centered, leaving much space to its left. On #79, the crown is well-centered, but a portion of it seems blurred. This is not from wear. It is from using seed coins with weakness in this area.


One of our readers, Bill, writes: I just visited your site and want to write you to say "THANK YOU" for taking the time to post this very informative tutorial. As you know, I spend many hours attempting to attribute the coins in my collection and having this type of English language reference is invaluable. And as a bonus, it is Sendai, my personal favorite and the birthplace of my mother. Again, thank you!

I appreciate your comment Bill! Hope this helps you some.

Another reader, Fernando, writes: Wow, thank you for your help and for your great blog; without it, it will be very very difficult to me to collect ancient japanese coins cause i don´t understand nothing of japanese languaje and much minus ancient japanese; but because exists some people like you who writes in english about it I can continue with mi collection :-D Thanks so much again!!!

It is true that most collectors have no command of Japanese language, and very few things are written on the this subject in English. In the last 30 years, nothing seemed to have changed.

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