top of page

Money of the Samurai

  • Banknotes & Coins from the Land of the Rising Sun

  • Currency from old Japan and the last Samurai era

  • Stunningly preserved artistic ancient currency

  • Limited sets available

Click To Zoom



The first coins in Japan – following the Chinese model – were minted as early as 708. Coins only gained acceptance in trade during the Edo period (1603– 1868). The dealer Sató Shinsuke obtained the permission to produce coins in 1626. They displayed the Kan’ei Tsúhó characters on the obverse. These coins were produced for the first time during the Kan’ei era (1626 – 1644). Tsúhó means “circulating treasure” (a euphemism for money) in Japanese.

The first Hansatsu notes (Han notes) were introduced in the Ise Yamada Province around 1600. A Han denotes a Japanese fiefdom. The notes constituted a replacement for small change, since the right to mint and issue coins was the privilege of the ruling Tokugawa dynasty. The declared values referred to a special weight in silver. 1 Monme, the most common unit on the banknotes, amounted to 3.75 grams of the precious metal. More and more local princes and clans issued banknotes in their provinces. The Tokugawa attempted to stop the issue of these banknotes and prohibited their use. But their measures failed and about 80% of the clans had issued Hansatsu notes by the end of the Tokugawa reign, and ultimately banknotes were issued by powerful dealers that were accepted across the country. The use of the Hansatsu ultimately led to inflation. The banknotes were removed from monetary transactions in 1871 with the abolition of the Han and the old traditions during the Meiji Restoration.

In 1854 the Tokugawa Shogunate opened up after nearly 200 years of self-imposed isolation. The time-honoured tradition of shoguns (“generals”) and samurai (“warriors”) was abolished in the Meiji Restoration. The country was transformed into a modern state on a western model in the course of this restoration. The samurai resisted this reform, but ultimately had to yield to the new era in 1877 after a hard struggle. Banknotes from the Land of the Rising Sun. We have secured a limited number of coin and note sets from various eras of Old Japan. Call now and our Senior Executives will guide you through the eras and their rarity.

bottom of page