Tokugawa Shogunate Government Coins
During the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868), Shogun rulers established a coinage system that would be used sporadically throughout the period. Much owed to the discovery of large gold and silver mines in Japan, coins started to look very differently than they ever had before. This is because Japanese provinces often used Chinese coins (when they did use coins) in exchange rather than making their own prior to the Tokugawa Period. When Japanese provinces did use coins, they most often closely resembled Chinese coins.
Tokugawa Period coinage, as exhibit visitors can see, were quite unique to Japan. The denominations were as follows:
Oban- a very valuable coin mostly used for large trade transactions. The coin's name translates to "large plate," because it was essentially a large plate of gold. Often these Oban were signed in ink by the engraver. Mint marks, Province and era indicators, and government seals were also commonly stamped or signed on Oban.
Koban-one fourth the value of an Oban, the name translates to "small plate." Like Oban, Koban were also signed or stamped with different indicators.
Nibuban-worth half of a Koban. These often had kanji indicating the era within the Tokugawa Period, a government seal and a engraver's signature.
Ichibuban-Worth one quarter of a Koban. These also often had kanji indicating the era within the Tokugawa Period, a government seal and a engraver's signature.
Nishuban and Isshuban- smallest denominations of gold and silver used in this currency exchange.