JAPAN, hansatsu, Yamamura temple, 1 momme silver (1865 AD)


JAPAN, Yamato province, Yamamura temple, 1 momme silver, Keio year 1 (1865 AD), Face: black & red, Daikoku, 32x152mm, F-VF

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Before the Meiji Revolution the local diamyo governments had already developed Chinese style economic bureaus, some of which issued paper money that announced it was the same as silver, or, sometimes, rice. Generically, the pre-Meiji notes are called “hansatsu.” There is a catalog, but it is in Japanese, sorry, I don’t read. I send them to my friend and colleague Joe Boling, who tells me what they are.

For organizational purposes, banknote collectors tend to make a distinction between national issues and local issues. The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money has a volume dedicated to “specialized” issues, where about 20,000 items are listed. A “complete” catalog would likely have at least 10 times that number. The Standard Catalog numbers for “specialized” notes are designated P-S. There are special catalogs for various series such as German and Austrian notgeld, former Soviet Union, etc.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.