Hansatsu, Silver 1 Monme, Calf

Date: Keio 1, 1865
Edo Japan

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Item Description:

During Japan's Edo Period (1603 to 1867 CE), paper hansatsu (藩札) served as a staple currency. They were also called "clan money," and were issued by local feudal rulers to supplement coinage. Hansatsu were redeemable for silver, gold, copper, or even commodity goods like rice.

Hansatsu served as an important form of currency in local markets, despite not being officially recognized as legal tender by the government. Still, the use of these paper notes changed significantly over time. During some periods they replaced coinage altogether, while others saw a complete ban on paper scrips due to anti-counterfeiting measures. Japanese scrips remained in print from the early 1600's until 1871, when the newly established Meiji government replaced them with an official national currency.

Hansatsu featured a variety of designs that depicted historical or mythological figures, landscapes, scenes from everyday life, and animals. Frequently seen are the seven gods of fortune: Ebisu, Daikoku, Bishamon, Benten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, and Hotei. Each god represents a different aspect of good fortune, such as wealth, happiness, longevity, or success.

The dates on these notes don't use the Western calendar, but rather the nengō system. This separates history into different eras that usually change when a new emperor takes the throne. For example, Kyoho 2 would denote the 2nd year of the Kyoho era, or 1717.

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