Made in Japan, c.1860

Japan 1 Shu Gin, Ansei (1854-65)

Here’s a way cool piece of old silver, actually a really nice example with a hefty metal fineness (.968 Ag) and of course an interesting shape with lots of kanji on each side.

The Ginza

Numista helpfully identifies the coin as having been made in Tokyo at the Ginza mint but is strangely light on its usual volume of data – no mintage figures or even photo, for instance – which I was quite surprised by.

Anyway, I googled: “Ginza (/ˈɡɪnzə/ GHIN-zə; Japanese: 銀座 [ɡindza]) is a district of Chūō, Tokyo, located south of Yaesu and Kyōbashi, west of Tsukiji, east of Yūrakuchō and Uchisaiwaichō, and north of Shinbashi.

Big Changes…

It turns out that during this 20 year period of their history (which equates to the reign of the Emperor Komei), the Japanese went through not one, but three ‘Great Earthquakes’ and two of those only spaced apart by a year. Phew!

This coin was in use only a few years after the arrival of the ‘Black Ships’ –

On July 8, 1853, American Commodore Matthew Perry led his four ships into the harbor at Tokyo Bay, seeking to re-establish for the first time in over 200 years regular trade and discourse between Japan and the western world.

Surely a pivotal event in the history of Japan.

And the date range is appropriate for it to have travelled via the activities of international trade, including the whaling industry.

But this particular one has only ever been in Japan and Australia, and the latter only very recently.

Interesting how coins move around!

Happy Collecting!

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