NGC Registry

Taisho Double Phoenix


Category: Japan
Set Type: Silver 50 Sen, 1922-1926, Mint State
Owner: Star City Homer
Last Modified: 4/19/2019
Views: 197

Rank: 1
Score: 1026
Leading by: 109
Points to Higher Rank: N/A
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Set Description:

JNDA 01-17. Y#46.
Diameter 23.50 mm, .720 fine silver and weight 4.95 grams.

Minting of the double phoenix motif 50 sen occurred in both the Taisho and Showa eras. They share a JNDA (Japanese Numismatic Dealer Association catalog) number, but are divided into two sets for the Registry and are designated by individual Y#s.

The coin has multiple design elements that are distinctly Imperial in nature.

The Hō-ō bird, (Hoo, Ho-o, Ho-ho, or variants) is often referred to and translated as ‘phoenix’. According to legend, the Japanese Hō-ō is associated with times of peace and prosperity, the marking of the beginning of a new era, and appears when a boy destined to be Emperor is born, thus strongly associated with the Imperial family.

The Japanese Hō-ō quite distinct from the Western phoenix mythology as the bird can be depicted in pairs (male and female) vs. the solitary Western phoenix, and does not have the association of fire/rebirth.

Other symbology on the coin includes the chrysanthemum (Imperial crest) located between the upraised wings of the two birds, and the paulownia foliage below (paulownia represents the government).

The sunburst and the 8-lobed sacred mirror shape (outlining the sunburst) both represent the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, and by extension, the Imperial family.

The mirror is one of the Three Sacred Treasures, which are collectively known as the Imperial Regalia. As such they are required for the enthronement of the Emperor. All three treasures were said to be brought to Earth by the grandson of the Sun Goddess and were eventually possessed by a further descendent, Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor. The treasures currently reside in rumored locations in Japan and are not seen publically.

The double Hō-ō 50 sen was the last silver coin minted for general circulation prior to the conclusion of World War II. Also, it was the final 50 sen coin to bear the issuing authority of “Dai Nippon” or “Great Japan” as production ceased in 1938. The denomination did not return until after the war and the coins were minted in base metal under the auspices of the interim government. The denomination did not survive the transition to the current government and monetary system.
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 Slot DescriptionGradeServiceScore
View Coin T11 (1922) MS 66 NGC 255
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