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Japan 1/2, 1, and 2 Sen  1873 to 1892
Japan 1/2, 1, and 2 Sen 1873 to 1892

During the Meiji Dynasty Japan issued 1/2, 1, and 2 sen coins in copper, with higher denominations 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen, and 1 yen in issued in silver. Gold issues include 2, 5, 10, and 20 yen. There are 100 sen in one yen. This page applies to the copper low-denomination coins. You can find our page on the silver denominations at this link.

Your first job in evaluating these coins is to figure out the equivalent Western date. We give some insight into doing this at this CoinQuest link. Your second job is to look closely at the scales of the dragon. Most are V shaped, but some are square, as shown in our image below on this page. Generally the square scales are older, and worth more.

The listings below give very approximate catalog values for all dates of these coins, except as noted. If you have a nice coin in good condition (most are very worn and damaged, like the one submitted to CoinQuest by DLC), seek out a coin dealer or knowledgeable collector to assist you in evaluation.

1/2 SEN
worn: $2 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $5
well preserved: $15
fully uncirculated: $60
1/2 sen coins with square scales are worth at least twice these value, six times as much if fully uncirculated
a square-scaled 1/2 sen dated 1877 (Meiji 10) is very valuable, worth $175 in average circulated condition

1 SEN
worn: $1 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $3
well preserved: $12
fully uncirculated: $100
1 sen coins with square scales are worth about as much as coins with V scales

2 SEN
worn: $2 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $4
well preserved: $20
fully uncirculated: $150
2 sen coins dated 1873 (Meiji 6) are rare, worth $125 in average circulated condition
2 sen coins dated 1874 (Meiji 7) are somewhat rare, worth $20 in average circulated condition

Coin: 9543 , Genre: The Sinosphere
Requested by: DLC, Sat, 19-Nov-2011 19:10:35 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Fri, 06-Dec-2013 18:53:40 GMT
Reviewed by CoinQuest. Appraisal ok., Wed, 13-Jul-2016 02:29:23 GMT
Requester description: 1877 Snake or dragon
Tags: japan 1 2 sen japanese japanise japenes japenese japanize japanesse japanes snake dragon dragons flower symbols symbol florets blossom fler fleurs lises leis lisse flur folwers stems trefoils floral lily orchid posy bouquet flowers fllower flour bud lilly fleur bloomed trefoil floret floer stem flowery lilys fluer fleures pedals syombol symbles symbal simbol symbels symobols simble chrysanthemum wreath greenery wreathed rief reif reef wreathe wreat garland wreth wreah wreaths

Comments

Did they make fake Japanese 1/2 Sen coins supposedly from the 1870's or 1880's? - Erica
We try to identify fakes, but it is a difficult task. It is a service that is sorely needed in the numismatic community. Some grading services are starting to identify good counterfeits and encapsulate them in slabs for reference. China, especially, has put a lot of money into fake collector coins, so fake 1/2 sens are very probable. But, in short, I do not know. If you want to send pictures of your coin we can give you our opinion of authenticity. To do so, use the Contact button at the top of the home page to start an e-mail exchange. - CoinQuest (Paul)

  

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