19th Century Japanese Trade Dollar Gets a New Life

20 Jul 2019  Sat

The East India Company Bullion Ltd. and the Treasury of the Government of the Island of Niue released the fourth coin from their collector coin series called “The Trade Dollar Collection”. The series is dedicated to top five trade coins from the mid-19th and to the 20th century, issued by Great Britain, the United States of America, China, Japan, and France. The latest coin in the series celebrates the Japanese Trade dollars that were issued between 1875 and 1877.

The reverse side depicts the Japanese dragon design within a circular decorative border. The same design appeared on the first Japanese trade dollar. The obverse side depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley. Other inscriptions on the obverse side include the texts NIUE ISLAND, “ONE DOLLAR or 250 DOLLARS” and 2019. Each coin is packaged in a special case along with a booklet that mentions the history of the Trade Dollar Design.

Emperor Mutsuhito of Japan ruled from 1868 to 1914 and pushed economic growth by setting up industries and manufacturing units at a fast rate. Also known as the Meiji Era, this period was responsible for turning Japan into one of the leading economic superpowers. Minting presses from the Hong Kong Mint were used to manufacture the trade coins.

The obverse side depicted a dragon holding a Tamashi, an orb or treasure sphere along with with the texts “420 GRAINS. TRADE DOLLAR. 900 FINE” in Latin characters. Two floral symbols of the Japanese Empire, the chrysanthemum and paulownias and Kanji characters that translate to “Trade Simplified Silver”, were featured on the reverse.

Image Courtesy: The East India Company Bullion Ltd.

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