Jump to content
CoinPeople.com
Sign in to follow this  
gxseries

Early Korean machine struck coinage - some tough ones

Recommended Posts

This was an interesting lot that appeared out of nowhere. The seller must had very similar taste as mine. Some are simply rare - maybe I have seen them appear just once every few years. From what I gather, they have been sitting in his collection since 1970s (!). It's one of those hoards where you can't win them all. I did end up with a key date that I have been looking for the past decade.

 

First up is 1894 5 fun coin. This is somewhat a 'weak' rotation error coin - not very common but can happen. Quality control was quite poor back then. The usual alignment is meant to be the dragons facing in a vertical line. In this case it looks like it's rotated around 20 degrees. You will see an example in the next photo

 

1048836.jpg

 

Next up is an unusual off center coin, 1895 1 fun, 2 characters. If you collect Korean coins from this era, error coins like this is very uncommon, if not scarce!

 

1048834.jpg

 

Last coin is one that I have been hunting for a good decade. I believe I have only seen just 5 examples for offer - 3 in damaged condition, one was one of my hands and this is one that I finally obtained. 1895 1/4 yang, 2 characters.

 

1048835.jpg

 

This is not to be confused with the 1895 3 characters version

 

977250.jpg

 

As of why this version is significantly rarer than the other, I cannot explain why. An interesting aspect of early Korean coinage is that while the coins were first struck in Dec 1892, coins were not released to the public until Aug 1894 !!! There are reports that the mint in Incheon struggled to strike sufficient quantity but there is also a very huge political aspect behind the scene.

 

Welcome the Fat Man - Yuan Shi Kai

994589.jpg

 

The situation gets very messy - while the Korean mint was relatively new (with German technology), the mint employees were from Japan. And why would China be involved? Korea at this time was a Chinese protectorate. and of course was not keen on having the Japanese being too involved. Ultimately the root cause of the first Sino - Japanese war in Jul 1894 was over Korea. More info here:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Sino-Japanese_War

 

So how does the 'Fat Man' get involved in this discussion? Yuan Shi Kai being a faithful advisor to Korea strongly objected to the Japanese striking coins with the wording "Great Chosen". This is simply a bit too close to the "Great Nippon". It seems that he had a valid concern - Japan did invade China after all

 

A Japanese yen coin struck around this era - 1894 1 yen. Notice how similar the design is as well as the wording "Great Nippon"

 

901675.jpg

 

Did his opinion mattered? It seems like it did - at least for one year. In 1892, all coins were struck with the wording "Great Chosen" and in 1893, "Chosen". 1894 seems like is a mixed bag - perhaps both types were struck, one before and after the Japanese invaded China. The mint employees probably didn't care in 1895 and 1896 as both types were used - this is an interesting puzzle that I never looked at closely.

 

I'll present more when I get around to it - the history of early Korean machine struck coinage presents a lot of challenges as well as plenty of troubled times ahead.

 

Feel free to share your early Korea coinage, it will be 'fun' !

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice. Thanks for sharing. I sometimes forget that back in those days the other parts of the world were humming along with their own political, religious, and social issues. I like the coins and the history is very interesting. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...