Korea Imperial Coinage (2) - Yung Hi 융희 隆熙 Yr 2 1908 Silver 1/2 Won - Key Date!

Today's post is about a scarce Korean Silver 1/2 Won struck during the Japanese Protectorate Era. It was minted with Japanese dies at the Osaka Mint. 

Quick Overview:

Country: Korea (Protectorate)
Date: 1908 (Undated) - Yung Hi 2nd Year 
Dynasty: Korean Protectorate 
Region/Province: Korea
Composition: Silver
Catalog: Krause: KM 1141
*Coin looks similar to the Japanese Sen of the Meiji era? Read on for more information!*

Historical Background:

Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905 "The Eulsa Treaty" -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan%E2%80%93Korea_Treaty_of_1905
The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905-

The Korean Protectorate Era was the last era of Korean Sovereignty (To some extent) till her full annexation in 1910. 

The increased Japanese influence in the Protectorate era is very easily seen. The Protectorate Era began with the Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, and the signing of the Eulsa Treaty of 1905, also known as the "Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905." This treaty resulted because of the Japanese victory during the 1904-1905 war against Russia. This aforementioned treaty "deprived Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty and made Korea a protectorate of Imperial Japan" (Wikipedia). 


The Korean Coins minted in the Japanese Protectorate Era bear uncanny and nearly identical appearance to the Sen Coins of Imperial Meiji Japan. For instance, there is the identical size, composition, similar legend layout, and the identical Japanese coiled and flying dragon. Moreover, the Korean silver Chon coins, the won coins, and the copper Chon coins were minted under contract by the Imperial Japanese Mint in Osaka, Japan. This same mint minted the general issued coinage of Japan. 

Moreover, the overall layout of the coin is very "Japanese", especially compared to the 1 Yang and 5 Yang coins of the pre 1905 Treaty Korean Empire. 

The Korean Protectorate government minted the scarce half won coins for 4 years, with a contract with the modern Japanese mint at Osaka. This coin in terms of catalog value, is the scarcest. Additionally, this coin is the last of the 4 year series (1905-1908). 
As some historical background, the victory of Imperial Japan over Tsarist Russia during the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War created many debts and numerous financial problems for Japan. As a result, many silver and copper Korean Protectorate coinage were shrunk in size. (Smaller Die Size)

(Note the Mix of English, Korean, and Hanja/Chinese Characters) 
Obverse: 大韓    隆熙二年     반원     Half Won
Reverse: 半圜

Condition: XF+

Mint Information:

Unlike the previous issues of Korean coinage in the Dynastic and Empire eras, all Protectorate Era coinage were minted at the Osaka Mint. Previous Empire era coinage were made at Incheon and Gyeonseong (Seoul). 

Osaka Mint Information:

Other Remarks:

Out of the four minted 1/2 Won coins, the last two (Kwangmu Yr 11 and Yunghi Yr 2), are the smaller size. They are also the scarcest ones.

Great Intro to Korean Numismatic History, in English:

The Korean Yang (and the currency system)
My other coins from the Korean Joseon, Empire, and Protectorate Eras