Japan Meiji Dragon Copper sen (1873 - 1888)

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by gxseries, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. gxseries

    gxseries Coin Collector

    I had a bit of spare time and compiled what I have. Most of them are in crusty condition as I had them from my student time. This was a time when Japanese Meiji era copper coins lower than XF were not worth a lot back then. Nevertheless, I somewhat compiled an interesting set.

    What I found was the most annoying is the orientation of the coins. I could not figure out what the die orientation is meant to be for these coins. I've tried to align them as accurately as I could.

    - Dot in between "Great Japan" and "Meiji xx Year"
    - Two dots at bottom "2 sen"
    - First character of "Mei"ji
    - In between "Mei" and "Ji"
    - A rough visual alignment of the dragon

    A common mistake that some sellers make is "Meiji 12" and "Meiji 20" for 1/2 sen. This is somewhat a semi scarce coin. Some years are somewhat difficult and the varieties can be more challenging. 1877 1 sen (large 4) can be a challenge. Here's the link


    Feel free to share yours!
    Numismat, ewomack and Chris B like this.
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  3. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    Another great virtual album, gx!
    I really like the 2-Sen coins in particular: The copper chunkiness and heft is pleasing in your hands, and the wreath on the reverse is nicely detailed.

    Putting the 2-Sen, 1-Sen and 1/2-Sen coins together in the same album makes sense.
    Thanks for sharing!
    gxseries likes this.
  4. ewomack

    ewomack 魚の下着

    Confusing "Meiji 12" and "Meiji 20" is an easy mistake to make for a few historical reasons, even for people who already know the Japanese number system. First, in modern Kanji, 12 is "十二" and 20 is "二十." "十," pronounced "juu," stands for 10 and the side that it appears on determines whether it serves as an additive or as a multiplier. "10" before "2" means "12" and "10" after "2" means "20." So flipping this character around has major consequences for meaning and counting.

    Second, and to make things even more confusing, the direction of Japanese reversed, changing from right to left to left to right, in 1948 (or in Showa 23 or "昭和二十三年"). So, prior to 1948 "二十" actually reads as "12" and after 1948 "十二" reads "12," but the reading becomes clear only within the context of the entire date. Those looking for just those 2 characters, "二" and "十," in isolation and out of context could easily misread those, and other, Japanese historical dates. For example, on a Meiji-era coin, "Meiji 12" would read "年二十治明," but in modern Japanese it would read in reverse as "明治十二年." This opens up numerous possibilities for misreadings.
    gxseries likes this.
  5. Stork

    Stork I deliver Supporter

    Cool--I love the way you present these albums.

    I choose to use the JNDA mode for orientation with the 'sen' and the dots centered below. It helps my western eyes that the western lettering is centered. That said, I've noticed the way the JNDA imply obverse/reverse can be flipped. I use the side with the issuing authority as the obverse.


    To add to what Ewomack said, in case you can't remember what year the dates flipped reading directions (it related to during the transition time when the authority was 'the government of Japan' vs. 'great Japan' or 'country of Japan'). Look for the 'nen' character. It brings up the rear in any date you are reading.

    I've got an old coin dating/reading graphic lying around somewhere if anyone wants to look at it.
    gxseries likes this.
  6. gxseries

    gxseries Coin Collector

    If I recall correctly, there is actually such a physical coin album, manufactured late 1960s. Quite rare from my first impression. I intentionally didn't add in the 1 rin page as mintage figures of some coins are just absurdly low!

    I'm actually glad that I'm spending a fair bit of time reviewing what I have especially after photoshopping the Dragon from 1874 1 Sen. I've noticed that the 2, 1 and 1/2 all differ in some ways and they evolved along the years.

    The 1883 1/2 Sen variety came as a big surprise to me - this is where you can tell the number of scales got reduced. I'm certain there's more varieties waiting to be found / discovered.

    I'm sure if I put in some effort, this is an achievable set. Still would be somewhat tough set to fill. The 1881 1 Sen 'big 4' (not 1877 - got the year wrong in my first post) can be difficult to visualize. Finding an example can be challenging. I was lucky to find one example lumped into a lot. I nearly offloaded it, thinking it is a common type...
  7. Stork

    Stork I deliver Supporter

  8. gxseries

    gxseries Coin Collector

    I'll do a bit of digging - I thought I had a duplicate hiding somewhere or had some other coin in mind... I did lose a fair number photos a while back that I failed to process (sd card failure) and I lost the motivation to keep track.
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