Shichusen - privately minted Japanese coin

Vladimir Belyaev,
February 02, 2002

Coin image from Maxim Kozlov
Diameter 23 mm

Obverse: Chinese Zheng He Tong Bao
      zhenghe tongbao is the legend of the Chinese Northern Song dynasty cash coins issued during period zhenghe (1111-1117 AD). Inscription on this coin looks very poor and deformed.

Reverse: plain (but characters of the obverse slightly appear).

Metal: copper

      According to the information of the coin owner is was purchased together with a group of Ryukyu Island cash coins seikou tsuho (Chinese shigao tongbao) Bao.

      It can be supposed that it is so named Shichusen (privately-minted Japanese cash coin), which were minted as poor quality imitations of imported Chinese coins (mainly of the Northern Song dynasty). Shichusen were circulated in XIV-XVIth Centuries (second part of the Muromachi period). During long circulation Shichusen lost even more quality because of cracks and wearing. Such coins were named Bitasen (bad quality cash coins) as well as forged coins.

      Munro, N.G. "Coins of Japan", Yokohama, 1902, repr.1962.

Any additional information highly appreciated.
Chinese Coinage Web Site