Japan (1859) 3 bu

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Ponterio sale 177, lot 13268
Japan c1859 dollar rev P177-13268.jpg
This specimen was lot 13268 in Ponterio sale 177 (Chicago, August 2013), where it sold for $25,850. The catalog description[1] noted,
"JAPAN. Ansei Trade Dollar (3 Bu or San Bu), ND (1859). NGC MS-62. Four Japanese characters 'Aratame San Bu Sada' countermarked at 12 o'clock on the obverse translating to, 'changed to 3 Bu of determined silver' on an 1859 Mexican 8 Reales of Guanajuato Mint. Mexican 'Dollars' were exchangeable for 3 Bu of silver, which was in accordance with Article V of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed March 31, 1858 and enacted July 1859 as set forth by the Consul-General Townsend Harris. It wasn't until Yokohama opened up for trade in 1859 that silver coins were countermarked. VERY RARE and very interesting, finest of only (3) graded at both NGC and PCGS. Lightly toned and lustrous. Both countermarks and host coin are MINT STATE. Ex: Master Sergeant L.B. Whittier, purchased private treaty while stationed in Nagoya, Japan (ca. 1945). Whittier was deployed in Japan under General MacArthur serving in the Army Air Corp., later the U.S. 5th Air Force until the early 1950's. He was a coin collector prior to the war and used the opportunity to purchase many Japanese coins."
The SCWC lists these counterstamped on eight reales of Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Culiacan and Mexico City.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 27.07 g, .903 fine silver.

Catalog reference: KM-101.2; JNDA-09-57 (44A); J&V-J101.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • [1]Ponterio, Richard, Ponterio sale 177: The August 2013 Chicago ANA Auction, World Coins, Irvine, CA: Stack's Bowers, LLC, 2013.

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