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Rice And Beans (Mameita Gin)

 
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 Posted 06/30/2016  11:35 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Finally got a nice variety of these to share, at a price that only has me eating Ramen and beans for the next month!

Information on these coins (in English) is pretty scarce, but here is what I was able to piece together.

Mameita gin (roughly translated as bean silver) was a currency used in Japan, initially to bridge the gap between the extremely low value Mon and the massive silver chogin ingot, and also to adjust for irregularities in the weight and purity of the chogin.

I am not sure exactly how they would have been useful as currency, as silver purity ranged from about .800 to .150 or less. Size also varied wildly, but most are about "bean" size in terms of diameter and thickness. Exceptionally well struck pieces were apparently meant as gifts or presentation pieces to nobility or prestigious Samurai.

The designs are a bit hard to figure out, but most depict a very abstract image of Daikoku, the god of wealth. Alternate images include various characters, indicating era, or the character for "silver". They were hammered into the cooling silver, and may be complete, or barely present. The reverse may be struck (generally in the abovementioned presentation pieces) or it may be coarse from the process of dripping the molten silver.

Mameita gin were made from the 16th or 17th century (the earliest certifiable examples date to about 1620) and stretch to the 1850s, although they were largely replaced by the shu gin bars in the early 1800s.

Anyway, here are mine:

 

 

From the large one at the top, going clockwise:

- Genbun era (1736), 11.8g, .460 silver
- Shotoku era (1711), 3.4g, .800 silver
- ? era, tiny mameita gin called a "rogin", 1.3g, unknown purity
- Kyoho era (1714), 4.8g, .800 silver
- Tenpo era (1837), 6.8g, .261 silver

And to illustrate how small these are:

 

If you have any to share or any additional info, please feel free to chime in!
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 Posted 06/30/2016  2:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very cool! The bean from Kyoho--does it also have a character on the rev? Or is that just my eyes looking for a pattern?
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 Posted 06/30/2016  3:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I couldn't really tell on that one... I believe it was probably struck on the coarse side, but it looks too structured to just be roughness. These were also frequently countermarked after the initial striking if they actually did circulate--the Shotoku one has a small cross-shaped punch of triangles, apparently to certify it for circulation at a particular value.
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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 Posted 07/22/2016  11:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Bumping for posterity; I found an illustrated, English language guide to these coins:

http://charm.ru/coins/jp/Mameita-gi...20guide.html
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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 Posted 07/23/2016  10:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wheatiefan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a few. I think they are all Tenpo era. When I first got them I was happy just to get a few affordable ones. After reading more I would like to find one with the Daikoku clearly legible.

My understanding is they would be used by weight, not by count. So you might say you were owed 70g of coins and not worry if it took 5 or 10 coins so long as it added up to 70g, rather than say you were owed 10 coins and worry you'd get all the underweight ones. I don't know where I read that though so may just be making things up.

-wheatiefan

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 Posted 07/25/2016  12:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's tough to find them with a fully struck Daikoku for under $150. It's on my list, but it will probably be a while until I want one that badly.

I never could figure out exactly how the Tokugawa coinage worked, except that anything more than the 1 and 4 mon were probably rarely used.
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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 Posted 11/22/2019  12:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add anselor to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hello, I realize this is an old thread but maybe you folks have some thoughts on this. I had my mameita gin tested with an XRF and 3 of them came back with 97%-99% copper and less than 1% silver. It happens that 2 of them I bought recently and the seller has offered to take them back. I'm curious if any of you have had yours tested.

Piece 1 looks like it's sort of a partial daikoku on one side. XRF tested at 97% copper.



Piece 2 has kind of cursive style characters and a punch stamp on the back. XRF tested at 99% copper.




Neither match anything I can find in Hartill or JNDA.
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 Posted 11/22/2019  10:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add anselor to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks
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 Posted 11/23/2019  01:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Numister to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Haven't seen them before, these are pretty cool.
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 Posted 11/29/2019  7:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


Sorry, I somehow got unsubscribed from this topic!

No genuine mameita gin were ever made with less than 20% silver, so your examples are probably counterfeit.
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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 Posted 11/29/2019  8:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add gxseries to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think anselor's examples are Japanese in origin. It looks more towards Sri Lanka from the font - could be wrong.
My partial coin collection http://www.omnicoin.com/collection/gxseries

My numismatics articles and collection: http://www.gxseries.com/numis/numis_index.htm Regularly updated at least once a month.
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 Posted 12/05/2019  02:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add anselor to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yeah, I realize they're not real because the composition is wrong and doesn't match any known designs. I'm curious if there's a way to know if they're contemporary counterfeits. If so, it may still be interesting to keep.

What makes you think Sri Lanka?
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