oban / coin
- ryo, 10
Gold oban. Gold 10 ounce (ryo) oban with an inscription in ink, and four stamps on the obverse; on the reverse there are three stamps running down the middle with three smaller stamps to the lower left.
- Minted in: Edo
- Height: 134 millimetres
- Width: 81 millimetres
- Weight: 102.93 grammes (?)
- Weight: 113.13 grammes (object weighed 31/7/08)
Inscription TransliterationMan'en oban
Inscription TranslationLarge coin of the Man'en era
Ôban were made of hammered gold with a face value of 10 ryô (ounces). The word ôban means 'large stamped [piece]' in Japanese. The earliest ôban were made in the 1580s, when the feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/7-98) co-operated with wealthy merchants in the Kansai district of central Japan and monopolized Japan's metal mines. He then began to mint gold coins of fixed quality.
The earliest ôban had no inscription - ideal for forgers. To overcome this problem, inscriptions and stamp marks were added. By 1586, the value of the ôban and the signature of the Goto family (the hereditary superintendents of the mint) were handwritten in ink on the front of the ôban. A flower stamp (hanaoshi) was also impressed on the surface. The stamp featured the crest of the paulownia flower (kiri) crest, which was later used in official government and imperial seals.The error in the printed Catalogue of Japanese Coins at the British Museum (2010) was corrected in the online publication (2012) to read 980 万延大判（吉宇き） Man'en oban ~ Gold 113.13 134×81.
3 January 1997
Dirty with some small ares of sealing wax.
Swabbed with IMS. Brushed lightly with a soft bristle brush.
One of 52 obejcts acquired.
Coins & Medals
- HSBC.485 (Money Gallery Exhibited)
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Object reference number: COC110
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