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Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan

Illustration for article titled Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

This is a typical one yen coin. In today's exchange rate, it worth less than one U.S. cent ($0.0098, to be exact). But recently, a one yen coin sold in Japan for the price of a car. Why? Well, it was anything but typical.

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As you can see below, the coin that sold for well over twenty grand was a minting error—a pretty big one. Via Yahoo! Japan, here are the front and the back:

Illustration for article titled Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan
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On one side, for instance, all that is visible is the word "Heisei" (平成). Note that in the Japanese calendar, we are currently in the Heisei Era, which began in 1989 with the new Emperor. The coin in the top photo reads "Showa" (昭和), referring to the Showa Period (1926 to early 1989).

Illustration for article titled Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan

Since errors like this typically do not enter circulation and because there are collectors with loads of cash, the auction received 153 bids, before topping out at 2.8 million yen—which is $27,499.

As website Naver points out, in the past other error coins have fetched high dollar (er, yen) in Japan. While I'm no coin expert, this latest auction seems to be staggeringly expensive, though.

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In the past, error 50 yen coins, which should have circle in the middle, have gone for a couple thousand dollars.

Here are the front and the back of a fifty yen coin, which is worth about 49 cents:

Illustration for article titled Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan
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And here are error coins, which went for 242,000 yen ($2,380) and 359,000 yen ($3,530), respectively.

Illustration for article titled Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan
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Illustration for article titled Why a One Yen Coin Just Sold for $27,500 in Japan

Hope people working at the mint don't start making these on purpose.

プレミアム会員なら落札後もあんしん補償 [Yahoo! Japan]

Photos: Yahoo! Japan, Vladimir Wrangel/Shuttersock, Tawin Mukdharakosa/Shutterstock

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To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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DISCUSSION

andrew2696
KingOfAwesometonia

Oh that's why people nicknamed things like Godzilla, Super Sentai and Kamen Rider with Heisei and Showa eras.