Scarce Highest Graded Year 9 Japanese Trade Dollar

The April 2014 Hong Kong Showcase Auction is just over a month away, and the rarities and highlights we have in store just keep on coming. This week the island nation of Japan provides the highest graded Trade Dollar as our world coin highlight for the week. The short-lived silver Japanese Trade Dollar was only minted for three years, from 1875-77. It was intended for use in the trade zones of Japan, such as the one Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States opened in 1854. This opening of trade prompted the Meiji Restoration, as Emperor Meiji wrested control of Japan from the Shogunate and began a rapid modernization of the state that would make Japan a world power.

The design of this coin bears many similarities to the Silver One Yen coins also in circulation at the time. Both coins proudly display the Imperial dragon spiraling in the center of the design, grasping a pearl. The dragon is surrounded by a pearled border, with the inscriptions around. The lower denomination is English, and attests to the weight and denomination of the coin (420 GRAINS. TRADE DOLLAR. 900 FINE). The upper legend, all in Japanese, states: “Great Japan, Meiji 9 Year” which means the ninth year of the Meiji emperor, or 1876. The reverse is simplistic, yet artistically beautiful. The Imperial symbol, the Chrysanthemum flower, appears at the apex of the design, with three Japanese characters below it designating Trade Dollar. Around this is a two part wreath, with one side composed of chrysanthemum and the other half Pawlonia. The Pawlonia flower is the official symbol for the Prime Minister of Japan, the cabinet, and by extension for the government of Japan.

This coin is the highest graded Japanese Trade Dollar; NGC has awarded it a staggering Mint State 67! Neither PCGS nor NGC has graded any Japanese Trade Dollar higher than this piece, from any of the three years of minting. The grade is well deserved, as the strike is needle sharp and the surfaces are superb — brilliant, radiant and dazzling. Be sure to attend lot viewing to see the quality of this piece for yourself!

Look for this and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming April Hong Kong Showcase Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this March at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our 2014 August Hong Kong and August ANA sales. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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