Numismatic and History Discussions > Other Types of Ancient Coins

Information on Japanese Ichi Bu Gin coins

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Dear all,

I recently picked up a couple of Ichibu gin silver coins/ingots from Japan. To help me identify them a bit better I bought the book by David Hartill called Early Japanese Coins. Although I could identify the three coins to a reasonable level, I am still struggling with the finer details. From what I understand, the differences in the letters and strokes can represent different mints? I am struggling a bit to understand the Hartill book.

I also not sure if the countermark seen on the 3rd coin in the photos have any meaning?

I am attaching the photo of the three coins to show the differences.

Does anyone know if there any more information somewhere on these intriguing coins? Info on the variation in the symbols as well as the countermarks would be very much appreciated.



you can assign the parts easily.:

On the edge of the coin are blossoms. One blossom is often twisted of it. In the appendix there is the allocation and an example.

I hope it is clear - translated with Google

Greetings from Germany

The small stamp on the 3rd coin is a countermark of a moneychanger


Thank you, pingu! I appreciate the information.

These are the famous rectangular samurai coins of the Tokugawa shogunate. Their unusual shape is reminiscent of a miniature silver bar or ingot. Covered in exotic Japanese calligraphy with sakura (cherry blossom) borders, bu silver coins unequivocally exude the style of traditional samurai Japan. The coin dealer I bought my 1837-54 Japanese Silver 1 Bu from incorrectly catalogued and completely misdated the bu coin later to 1868-9. I had to thoroughly research early Japanese coinage in order to get the earlier correct dating.

Japan, Tempo (1837-68), Silver 1 Bu, Tempo ND (1837-54), DHJ 9.80, KM C16, JNDA 09-50, JC 04-5, Pq sakura (cherry blossom) variety, EF, struck in 99.1% silver, rectangular, nicely toned, two incuse sakura on short edges, three incuse sakura on long edges, weight 8.6g, maximum diameter 23.0mm, die axis 0°, Ginza (Edo) mint, 1837-54; obverse 一分銀 (1 bu silver) downward, within rectangular linear frame, 20 sakura border surrounding with ‘P’ sakura inverted; reverse 銀座 (Ginza, silver mint) downward on right, 常是 (Jōze, mint official) downward on left, top left and right stroke of 常 curved, bottom two strokes of 是 cross over, 定 (Jō - guaranteed) incuse countermark above, all within rectangular linear frame, 20 sakura border surrounding with ‘q’ sakura inverted.


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