Japan 5, 10, 20, 50 Sen and 1 Yen 1873 to 1900
Early Japanese coins like this one are enjoying strong collector interest. This pattern, with the encircled dragon on the front and two-sided wreath and blossom on the back appears on the silver coins of denomination 5, 10, 20, and 50 Sen and 1 Yen. There are 100 sen in one yen. Copper and gold coins also carry the same pattern. This page addresses only silver coins. View our page on copper issues here.
The dates of these cois are from the Meiji Dynasty, which started in 1867. To find the date of your coin, use the listing of Japanese characters below and a web site such as AllCalendars.net. The coin in our picture comes from Meiji 30, or 1867 + 30 = 1897.
Catalog values for these coins are quite high, especially for coins in good condition. The coin in our picture is in average circulated condition. Gague your coin from this one, and apply the concepts on our Important Terminology page to convert catalog values
to actual values. Remember, also, that these coins, especially the large ones, are often counterfeited, so be sure you trust the person involved in any transaction. If you think your coin may be valuable, find a knowledgable coin dealer or coin collector and get an opinion. CoinQuest and web sites like it are no match for an actual, first-person inspection of a coin. First-person inspection always gives better estimates of value than any price guide.
worn: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $25
well preserved: $40
fully uncirculated: $75
coins dated 1876 are usually worth half these values
coins dated 1874 are worth about 5 times these values
coins dated 1880 are very rare and are worth $2000 or more
fully uncirculated: $200
coins dated 1885 are worth about 5 times these values
coins dated 1874, 1875, 1876, and 1877 are worth at least $1000 even in worn condition
worn: $75 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $120
well preserved: $225
fully uncirculated: $850