The Same Chopmark found Stamped on a Japanese Dragon Yen and a Chinese Sycee

(In Spanish)

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Japan Dragon Yen Dated Meiji 11th Year (1878 AD)



                      Font/Font Size
    3-4 mm    > 4 mm
Character 兀 年 刀 恒  公 由 芳紹    德順  益  頡  上言  刊  八年  縣看  生 成  得 
Symbol             None

Collection of Lisa & Dan Malloy 


    * Beginning in the 3rd year of the Meiji period (1868), Japan became one of the most active of the countries minting silver coins intended to be used as a trading commodity in China, and made tremendous profits from this exchange. Even after the 11th year of Meiji (1878), when Japan stopped minting the so-called "Trade Silver", it regularly issued Dragon Yen in large quantities. As Japan's political and military influence grew, the Dragon Yen flooding into China commanded a larger share of the market than most other foreign silver coins, particularly in the southern provinces of Fujien, Kuangtung, Chekiang, Hunan, and Hubei; and the northern province of Manchuria.

   * This Japan Dragon Yen dated the 11th year of Meiji bears numerous chopmarks, all of which are at least 3 mm in diameter. These can be attributed to the Type 2 chopmarks mainly adopted  in the southern provinces such as Kuangtung and Fujien. Some of the chopmarks are an assembly of two characters, such as  芳紹 (Fang Sao), 德順 (Der Sung), 上言 (Shan Yen) and  (Liang Yi), which can all be assumed to be the name of the silver shops who had handled this silver coin.

    * There are also two chopmarks, each comprised of two characters, which do not looked like name of silver shop; they could, however, have been stamped by a local government. They are 八年 (the 8th year) and 縣看(checked by County). The first one most likely refers to "Kuang Hsu 8th year (1882)". The second could be an indication that this coin has been assayed by an official assayer of a county. These two small chopmarks let us recreate part of the history of the circulation of this coin: 4 years after being minted in Japan in 1878, it was submitted to a local goernment in China as a tax payment by a Chinese; at that time the local government authenticated the coin and gave it a date chop and assaying chop.      

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Half Ball Sycee

Weight: 34 grams/0.9 tael     


Collection of Lisa and Dan Malloy

* This Half Ball originated from Kueichow province and carries no dating information, but it can be estimated to have been cast before 1909, the year the provincial government started casting standard Half Ball. Incidentally, it's inscription (Liang Yi), which is probably the name of the silver shop which cast it, is the same as one of the chopmarks stamped on the Meiji 11th year Dragon Yen. Following this clue, we can reasonably believe that (1) this Half Ball was cast and circulated in a period between 1882-1909 (2) Chinese Silver shops were simultaneously running sycee and foreign coins businesses; (3) Kueichow, one of the south west provinces in China, also adopted the Type 2 chopmarks in their chopmarking practice. 

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