East India Company Issues Japanese Trade Dollar

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The East India Company Bullion Ltd, a subsidiary of The East India Company and in partnership with the Treasury of the Government of the Island of Niue has released the fourth coin in their current innovative collector coin series entitled “The Trade Dollar Collection”. The series features five of the most popular and sought-after trade pieces issued during the mid-19th and into the 20th century.


Shaping international commerce

The Trade Dollar Collection series is in tribute to the coins that shaped international commerce in various parts of the world. The latest 2019-dated coins feature an exquisitely detailed replica of the design which was originally depicted on the Japanese Trade dollars issued from 1875 to 1877. The release of these important coins marked the beginning of a significant change in Japan during which time the restoration of Imperial authority was vested in the Emperor Mutsuhito who reigned from 1868 until 1914. This time, known as the Meiji Era also saw the introduction of rapid industrialisation and manufacturing that saw Japan transform itself into one of the world’s largest and advanced economies.

Nieu Island / 1 Dollar / Silver .999 / 38.6mm / 31.1g / Mintage: 1,500.
Nieu Island / 250 Dollars / Gold .999 / 32mm / 31.1g / Mintage: 200.

Coin description

Japan’s original Trade dollars were produced on minting presses bought from the former Hong Kong Mint, the obverse design included the depiction of a mythical coiled dragon clasping a tamashi, an orb or treasure sphere. Below the intricately engraved dragon, the coins were inscribed with the denomination, weight and purity of “420 GRAINS. TRADE DOLLAR. 900 FINE” in Latin characters. The reverse depicted two floral symbols of the Imperial household, the chrysanthemum and the paulownia. In the centre are Kanji characters which identifies the coin as “Trade Simplified Silver”. The reverse side of the latest collector coins includes a detailed rendition of the Japanese dragon seen on their first trade dollar and surrounded by an ornate border. The obverse side of the proof quality collector coins bears the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II created by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. The text around the Queen’s portrait includes the name of issuing authority of NIUE ISLAND, the denomination “ONE DOLLAR or 250 DOLLARS” and the year date 2019.

The five-coin set when completed will comprise collector coins representing those Trade Dollars from Great Britain, the United States of America, China, Japan and France. Each coin is housed in an East India Company branded case tailored accordingly to the gold or silver option and accompanied by a booklet detailing the story behind the design.


You can find more information on the series at the East India Company’s website.

The first coin in the series was released in 2018 and was a tribute to the British trade dollar.

CoinsWeekly reported on the East India Company starting to mint legal tenders again in 2012.

You can learn more about the Meiji Era here.