Juno Moneta's Blog

03 May 2015

Early Japanese Coins - by D. Hartill; Book Review

Library | Juno Moneta

Early Japanese Coins is the latest catalog of pre-Meiji copper, gold and silver coins. As well as official issues, the often decorative provincial issues are covered. A selection of the intriguing Japanese amulets known as E-sen is also included. It replaces Munro and other western works. It is designed to be used both by advanced collectors who have some knowledge of characters, and beginners who will find the layout easy to follow and will quickly gain a knowledge of this coinage. It draws on historical, as well as the latest western and Japanese numismatic sources, and describes the circumstances under which many of the coins were issued and used. Guides to the Japanese language are given, and maps and lists of era names and rulers add to the background information. There is a description of how the coins were made, illustrated from a contemporary document. What I found particularly valuable was a guide to the varieties found in the Tempo Tsuho series of oval coins. These are readily available at reasonable prices with rare varieties for those who become specialists. A rarity guide, linked to an approximate value, is provided for each coin. The author has been studying and collecting Far Eastern coins for over fifty years, and has also written the prize winning Cast Chinese Coins, and the definitive Qing Cash, books that I also have and will review here. Even if you can't collect them the book will provide an excellent education on this important field.

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