10 yen coin

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Ten yen
Value10 Japanese yen
Mass4.5 g
Diameter23.5 mm
Thickness1.5 mm
EdgeReeded (1951-1958)
Smooth (1959-)
Composition95% Cu
3-4% Zn
1-2% Sn[1]
Years of minting1871–present
Catalog number-
DesignPhoenix Hall of Byōdō-in
Design date1951
DesignBay laurel leaves
Design date1951

The 10 yen coin (十円硬貨, Jū-en kōka) is one denomination of the Japanese yen.

The obverse of the coin depicts the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in, a Buddhist temple in Uji, Kyoto prefecture, with the kanji for "Japan" and "Ten Yen". The reverse shows the numerals "10" and the date of issue in kanji surrounded by bay laurel leaves.


Gold ten yen (1871-1910)[edit]

Ten yen coins were first issued in 1871 from a newly established mint at Osaka.[2] The origin of mintage is not clear as there are conflicting reports stating that ten yen coins were either minted in San Francisco, or in Japan the prior year.[3][4] In either case the unit of yen was officially adopted by the Meiji government in an act signed on June 27, 1871.[5] Under the new law each ten yen coin was to weigh 257.2 grains, and contain 90% gold with a foreign exchange rate close to a United States Eagle ($10 USD coin).[6] Gold bullion for coinage was delivered from private Japanese citizens, foreigners, and the Japanese government.[7] No ten yen coins were minted between 1871 and 1876, during this time the Japanese government tried unsuccessfully to implement a gold standard with the amount of gold in circulation described as "very trifling". Gold bullion rose to a slight premium in 1874 which caused gold coin production as a whole to rapidly fall off. It was reported in the Quarterly Journal of Economics that by 1876 more gold coins were exported to foreign countries than for use domestically.[8] Japan was later forced off of the gold standard in 1877 due to the cost of the Satsuma Rebellion.[9] Twenty years would pass before the Japanese government went back on the gold standard. During this lapse non circulating ten yen gold coins were made in two non-consecutive years for two different reasons. The first occasion occurred in 1880 when ten yen gold proof coins were struck for exclusive use in presentation sets that were given away as gifts to foreign diplomats.[10][11] The second and final instance involved the World's Columbian Exposition in 1892 where several newly minted coins were put on display.[12]

When Japan went back on the gold standard in 1897, new ten yen coins were set by law to weigh 8.3g and have a diameter of 21.2mm.[a] These new lighter and smaller coins were given a new design which features a sunburst superimposed on the sacred mirror on the obverse, and the value within a wreath on the reverse.[14][15] The adoption of the gold standard allowed Japanese ten yen gold certificates to be redeemed for gold.[16] This convertible paper currency was used in immense numbers while coined yen was seldom used or seen.[17] Gold ten yen coins of the second design (1897 to 1910) mostly remained in government vaults by the time mintage ceased for good in 1910. The coins that had been minted during those thirteen years continued to back up gold certificates until World War I due to inflation.[18][19][20] The remaining gold coins in circulation were eventually withdrawn due to wartime conditions in the late 1930s.[21] Those that remained in circulation were either hoarded or melted down by the public.[22]

Modern ten yen (1950-)[edit]

The first ten yen coins made after World War II were authorized by law on March 2, 1950 by prime minister Shigeru Yoshida. These coins were to be made of German Silver, and act as "temporary subsidiary coins".[23] A total of 432,970,000 ten yen coins minted in this new alloy were recorded as struck by the end of that year. By the end of 1951 almost 800 million of these coins had been minted and were waiting to be distributed.[24][25] None of the German silver coins minted between 1950 and 1951 ever circulated as the coins were eventually melted. The decision to melt the coins came as the Korean War had driven nickel prices to about 4.1 million yen per ton.[26][27] Those that escaped being melted and are now considered by collectors to be "scarce" Japanese pattern coins.[28][29] Bronze ten yen coins were first minted in 1951, but were not released for general circulation until January 4 , 1953.[30] Ten yen coins minted between 1950 and 1958 have reeded edges and are nicknamed Giza 10 (Giza Ju, ギザ10), meaning “jagged 10 yen coin” in Japanese.[31] The design which is used today features Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in on the obverse, and Bay laurel leaves on the reverse. The design remains essentially the same other than the reeds being dropped in 1959 which gave the coins a smooth edge. Slight modifications were also made in the latter half of 1986 regarding the design of Byōdō-in.[31] These coins are not culturally recommended as shrine offerings as another word for "10" is "toh" (十), and another word for "yen" is "en" (円). Combining these characters into "toh-en" can also read as "far destiny" (遠縁).[32] Ten yen coins continue to be produced up to the present under the Reiwa era.


Years Material
1871–1910[13][33] 90% gold, 10% copper
1951–present[1][34] 95% copper, 3.5% zinc, 1.5% tin

Circulation figures[edit]

10 yen coin from 1871 (year 4)
Design 1 - (1871–1880)
10 yen coin from 1897 (year 30)
Design 2 - (1897–1910)


The following are circulation figures for the coins that were minted between the 4th, and the 43rd year of Meiji's reign. Coins for this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 明治 (Meiji).

  • Inscriptions on Japanese coins from this period are read clockwise from right to left:

"Year" ← "Number representing year of reign" ← "Emperor's name" (Ex: 年 ← 五十三 ← 治明)

Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage
04 4th 1871 1,867,032[13]
09 9th 1876 1,925[33]
10th 1877 36[33]
13th 三十 1880 136[33]
25th 五十二 1892 Not circulated[b]
30th 十三 1897 2,422,146[15]
31st 一十三 1898 3,176,134[15]
32nd 二十三 1899 1,743,006[15]
33rd 三十三 1900 1,114,766[15]
34th 四十三 1901 1,654,682[15]
35th 五十三 1902 3,023,940[15]
36th 六十三 1903 2,902,184[15]
37th 七十三 1904 724,548[15]
40th 十四 1907 157,684[15]
41st 一十四 1908 1,160,674[15]
42nd 二十四 1909 2,165,660[15]
43rd 三十四 1910 8,982[15]


10 yen coin from 1951 (year 26)
Design 1 - (1951–1958) Reeded
10 yen coin from 1952 (year 27) showing its reeded edge
10 yen coin from 1959 (year 34)
Design 2 - (1959–present) Smooth

The following are circulation dates which cover Emperor Hirohito's reign. The dates below correspond with the 26th to the 64th year (last) of his reign. All ten yen coins that were made before 1959 have reeded edges, this has since changed to the present day smooth edge. Coins for this period will all begin with the Japanese symbol 昭和 (Shōwa).

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 昭和 → 三十四 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage[35][c]
26th 二十六 1951 101,068,000
27th 二十七 1952 486,632,000
28th 二十八 1953 466,300,000
29th 二十九 1954 520,900,000
30th 三十 1955 123,100,000
32nd 三十二 1957 50,000,000
33rd 三十三 1958 (Reeded) 25,000,000
34th 三十四 1959 (Smooth) 62,400,000
35th 三十五 1960 225,900,000
36th 三十六 1961 229,900,000
37th 三十七 1962 284,200,000
38th 三十八 1963 411,300,000
39th 三十九 1964 479,200,000
40th 四十 1965 387,600,000
41st 四十一 1966 395,900,000
42nd 四十二 1967 158,900,000
43rd 四十三 1968 363,600,000
44th 四十四 1969 414,800,000
45th 四十五 1970 382,700,000
46th 四十六 1971 610,050,000
47th 四十七 1972 634,950,000
48th 四十八 1973 1345 1,345,000,000
49th 四十九 1974 1780 1,780,000,000
50th 五十 1975 1280 1,280,260,000
51st 五十一 1976 1369 1,369,740,000
52nd 五十二 1977 1467 1,467,000,000
53rd 五十三 1978 1435 1,435,000,000
54th 五十四 1979 1207 1,207,000,000
55th 五十五 1980 1127 1,127,000,000
56th 五十六 1981 1369 1,369,000,000
57th 五十七 1982 890,000,000
58th 五十八 1983 870,000,000
59th 五十九 1984 533,850,000
60th 六十 1985 335,150,000
61st 六十一 1986 68,960,000
62nd 六十二 1987 165,775,000
63rd 六十三 1988 618,112,000
64th 六十四 1989 74,692,000


Heisei 10 yen coin from 2006 (year 18)
Phoenix Hall is featured on the obverse side of the coin.

The following are circulation dates during the reign of Emperor Akihito. who was crowned in 1989. The dates below correspond with the 1st to the 31st year (last) of his reign. First year of reign coins are marked with a 元 symbol (first) as a one year type. Coins for this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 平成 (Heisei).

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 平成 → 十 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage[35][c]
01 1st 1989 666,308,000
02 2nd 1990 754,953,000
03 3rd 1991 632,120,000
04 4th 1992 538,130,000
05 5th 1993 249,240,000
06 6th 1994 190,767,000
07 7th 1995 248,874,000
08 8th 1996 546,213,000
09 9th 1997 491,086,000
10th 1998 410,612,000
11th 十一 1999 359,120,000
12th 十二 2000 315,026,000
13th 十三 2001 542,024,000
14th 十四 2002 455,667,000
15th 十五 2003 551,406,000
16th 十六 2004 592,903,000
17th 十七 2005 504,029,000
18th 十八 2006 440,594,000
19th 十九 2007 388,904,000
20th 二十 2008 362,811,000
21st 二十一 2009 338,003,000
22nd 二十二 2010 328,905,000
23rd 二十三 2011 255,936,000
24th 二十四 2012 279,211,000
25th 二十五 2013 100,892,000
26th 二十六 2014 171,013,000
27th 二十七 2015 203,004,000
28th 二十八 2016 198,064,000
29th 二十九 2017 124,927,000
30th 三十 2018 178,960,000
31st 三十一 2019 197,594,000


The following are circulation dates in the reign of the current Emperor. Naruhito's accession to the Crysanthemum Throne took place on May 1, 2019 and he was formally enthroned on October 22, 2019. Coins for this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 令和 (Reiwa). The inaugural year coin (2019) was marked 元 (first) and debuted during the summer of that year.[36]

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 令和 → 二 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage[35][c]
1st 2019 137,026,000
2nd 2020 276,428,000
3rd 2021 139,133,000
4th 2022 TBD
5th 2023 TBD


The value of any given coin is determined by survivability rate and condition as collectors in general prefer uncleaned appealing coins. The first ten yen coins were made from 1871 to 1892 with coins dated 1871, 1876, 1877, 1880, and 1892 using a dragon design. All of these dates outside of those from 1871 (year 4) are now rarely found for sale as they are highly valued.[37][38] Coins with the latter of these two dates were never intended for circulation as coins dated 1880 (year 13) were part of presentation sets. It's now estimated that only four to five known "year 13" coins have survived with an example selling at auction for $276,000 (USD) in 2011.[11] No surviving examples are known for coins dated 1892 (year 25) which had been exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition.[12]

The second smaller design used for this denomination was minted from 1897 to 1910 after Japan officially adopted the gold standard. These are generally valued in lesser amounts than their predecessors, though rarer key dates in this group include coins dated 1904, 1907, and 1910.[38] As a whole, the series dated from 1870 to 1910 can also be found on the market inside "Ministry of Finance" labeled plastic holders. These came from a hoard of 30,000 gold coins that were found to have been held by the Ministry of Finance. The Japanese government held a series of auctions from 2005 through 2007 which included previously unreported rare coins in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 Yen.[39]

Modern ten yen coins date back to 1951 (year 26 of Shōwa) when the coins were struck for circulation using a bronze alloy. There is a misconception among the Japanese public that Giza 10 (Giza Ju, ギザ10) (yen made between 1951 to 1958) are worth a lot of money because of their reeds. On average these coins are worth only 3 to 4 times their face value, or in some cases just their face value.[31] Ten yen coins from this period are only valued highly in uncirculated grades.[40] Modifications to the ten yen coin were made in 1986 which show slight differences in the appearance of Byodoin Phoenix Hall. Those made in the latter half of 1986 with these temple changes were reported to be worth over $1,000 (USD) by TV Tokyo in 2019.[31]


  1. ^ Ten yen gold coins initially weighed 16.6g with a width of 29.4mm.[13]
  2. ^ 1892 dated coins were never intended for circulation as they were made for the World's Columbian Exposition as exhibits.[12]
  3. ^ a b c Mintages on the Japan Mint website are in thousands


  1. ^ a b "10 yen coin". Bank of Japan. Archived from the original on 2010-11-06. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  2. ^ Juichi Soyeda (2013). The New Coinage Period. A History of Banking in Japan. Routledge. p. 498-499. ISBN 9781136775734.
  3. ^ Information Bulletin. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1964. p. 279.
  4. ^ Edouard Frossard (1878). The Coin Collector's Journal. Vol. 3. Scott and Company. p. 40. This and the 10 yen piece of the same design were made in San Francisco in 1870
  5. ^ A. Piatt Andrew, Quarterly Journal of Economics, "The End of the Mexican Dollar", 18:3:321–356, 1904, p. 345
  6. ^ United States. Bureau of the Mint (1898). Annual Report of the Director of the Mint. Department of the Treasury. p. 514.
  7. ^ Hisamitsu Shigehira (1976). Monogatari Monogatari. Mainichi Shimbun. pp. 176–178.
  8. ^ Monetary Changes in Japan. The Quarterly Journal of Economics. Harvard University. 1898. p. 154–155.
  9. ^ 帝国現代縱横史. Vol. 3. Period Research Group. 1918. p. 150.
  10. ^ "Japan: Meiji Proof gold 10 Yen Year 13 (1880)". Heritage Auctions. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Jeff Starck (September 29, 2011). "Jacobs Collection stuns, nets $6.8 million". Coin World. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "Japan: Meiji gold Proof 10 Yen Year 4 (1871) PR66 Cameo". Heritage Auctions. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c "Japan 10 Yen Y# 12". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Japan (1897). Law No. XVI of the 26th day of March of the 30th year of Meiji (1897). The Coinage Law of Japan, Enacted in 1897. p. 23-25.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Japan 10 Yen Y# 33". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Katsuji Inahara (1939). The Japan Year Book. Foreign Affairs Association of Japan. p. 302. but on the adoption of the gold standard in 1897 these notes became convertible into gold
  17. ^ G Droppers (1898). (1897). Quarterly Journal of Economics. p. 182. JSTOR 1882117.
  18. ^ Japanese Numismatic Dealers Assn (2014). The Catalog of Japanese Coins and Banknotes. JNDA.
  19. ^ Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg (2003). Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present. Coin and Currency Institute.
  20. ^ Auction 3042, featuring the Read and Bob Bennett Collections. Heritage World Coin Auction. 2015.
  21. ^ Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (1944). Taiwan (Formosa)--Economic Supplement. Navy Department (US). p. 76.
  22. ^ Civil Affairs Handbook. United States. Army Service Forces. 1943. p. 16.
  23. ^ Japan (1950). Official Gazette. English Edition. p. 1.
  24. ^ Annual Report of the Director of the Mint. United States. Bureau of the Mint. 1950. p. 73.
  25. ^ Annual Report of the Director of the Mint. United States. Bureau of the Mint. 1951. p. 46.
  26. ^ The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. Vol. 21. Hewitt Bros. 1955. p. 19.
  27. ^ Mint Bureau (1974). Mint Bureau 100 Year History (Document). Ministry of Finance.
  28. ^ "(1950 (S25) P10 Yen KM-Pn83) (Special Strike)". PCGS. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  29. ^ "((1951) S26 P10 Yen KM-Pn85) (Special Strike)". PCGS. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  30. ^ The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. Vol. 19. Hewitt Bros. 1953. p. 405.
  31. ^ a b c d "目指せ、億万長者! 「ギザ10」を売ってリッチになれるのか試してみた". TV Tokyo. April 18, 2019. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  32. ^ "How to Pray at Shrines". Experience Suginami Tokyo. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  33. ^ a b c d "Japan 10 Yen Y# 12a". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  34. ^ "10円青銅貨" (in Japanese). www.buntetsu.net. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  35. ^ a b c "年銘別貨幣製造枚数" (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan Mint. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  36. ^ "Reiwa coins to debut summer 2019".
  37. ^ "明治4年〜明治25年 10円(十圓)金貨の価値". japan.antique-coin.inf (in Japanese). Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  38. ^ a b "旧10円金貨の買取価格一覧リスト". Kosen Kaitori (in Japanese). Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  39. ^ "Japan Ministry of Finance Holder". NGC. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  40. ^ "ギザ10の価値は最大で約6万円!その条件と高く売る方法をご紹介". Kosen Kaitori. Retrieved August 30, 2020.