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The 1870 yen is the only Meiji-produced yen coin that bears no Latin alphabet or Arabic numeral inscriptions.
In 18, after a short halt in production, silver one yen coins were minted with a new design, now featuring the inscription “416 • ONE YEN • 900” on the border around the central dragon on the obverse.
There are several reasons for this preference, but first among them is familiarity.
Western coins also tend to follow certain patterns: the obverse will often feature the portrait of the country’s monarch at the time of minting, or of a historical or mythological figure important to that country.Complications arose in 1871, when the Japanese government switched from the silver to the gold standard in an effort to keep up with American and European fiscal policy.As a result, Japan briefly stopped producing silver one yen coins in favor of much smaller gold one yen coins.The coin went through a few significant changes after its initial minting.The original 1870 design of the coin features a coiled dragon, enclosed in a circle, dominating the obverse of the coin, around which are inscribed the denomination and date of the coin in Japanese. The coin’s obverse and reverse would change over the years, but the dragon would remain on all future designs.