Japanese 4 mon sen brass coin, 1769-1860Image["Japanese 4 mon sen coin, 1769-1860"]
Image["Japanese 4 mon sen coin, 1769-1860"]
Japanese 4 mon sen brass coin, 1769-1860
This brass 4 mon sen coin is from Japan, and is an example of the very common Kan-ei Tsu-ho type of Japanese coinage. From the 13th to the 16th centuries, much of Japan's currency was either minted privately or imported from China. In 1636 the Shogunate Government of Japan began to replace these Chinese coins by issuing the 1 mon sen Kan-ei Tsu-ho coinage. The inscription on these coins, Kan-ei Tsu-ho, translates as 'Current Treasure of Kan-ei'. The term 'Kan-ei' refers to a period of rule, the Kan-ei era of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Kan-ei era lasted from 1603 to 1644, but the term continued to be used on coins of this type right up until the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867. This coin is an example of the 4 mon Kan-ei Tsu-ho mon sen, which were introduced in 1768. The first type of 4 mon sen coins produced had 21 waves on the reverse. In 1769 the number of waves on the reverse of the coins was reduced to 11, as with this example. Coins of this type remained in production and in circulation for a very long period, and were also produced with enormous uniformity. Thus, dating and ascertaining a mint for Kan-ei Tsu-ho coins often depends on identifying small variations in the style of the inscription, and can be extremely difficult.