Origin: This set of three lower denomination coins comes from Japan's Edo period, lasting from 1603 to 1867 CE. The coins included are described below:
When you think of feudal Japan, you're almost certainly thinking of the Edo period. This was the age of the samurai and the daimyo, a coalition of wealthy landowners known as the Tokugawa shogunate that effectively ruled Japan. But more than that, the Edo period is known for isolation. Outside trade was heavily regulated, traveling abroad was completely banned, and foreign books were made illegal. Yet despite all, Japan's economy and culture flourished.
Each of the coins are from separate eras within the Edo period, which you can read about below.
Kan'ei Tsūhō (copper, 1 mon): Though their composition and size changed over the years, Kan'ei Tsūhō were the dominant coins of the Edo period for over two centuries. The Edo period opened up a long era of peace in Japan, and with it came a booming economy. Many new copper mines had opened up across the nation, and these coins were introduced by the Japanese government in the 1600s to satisfy demand for copper currency.
Kan'ei Tsūhō (iron, 1 mon): By the 1700s, Japan's once plentiful copper reserves were beginning to run out. This created a crisis where the metal content in 1 mon coins was worth more than 1 mon, similar to the solid copper U.S. pennies being worth more than 1 cent before they were phased out in the 1980s and replaced with a zinc core design. To solve this problem, Japan switched to lower value iron coins in 1739. These were more difficult to cast and often came out jagged looking, but they were still a suitable replacement for daily use.
Tenpō Tsūhō (100 mon): The largest and highest denomination of the three coins, these were first issued by Japan in the 1830s to combat the government's growing debt problem. Of course, this unfortunately lead to massive inflation, which put the Tokugawa government in an even weaker position when confronted with American warships in 1853 and eventually contributed to the end of the Edo period in 1868.
Note that Tenpō Tsūhō do contain about 12% lead (in addition to 78% copper and 10% tin), so it is good practice to wash your hands after handling them.
Each coin comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
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