Korea Imperial Coinage (4) - Kwang Mu 광무 光武 Yr 9 1905 Silver 1/2 Won - Lowest Mintage!

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. They bear a striking similarity to the Japanese Silver Sen coins of the Meiji era!

Quick Overview:

Country: Korea (Protectorate)
Date: 1905 (Undated) - Kwang Mu 9th Year 
Dynasty: Korean Protectorate 
Region/Province: Korea
Composition: Silver
Catalog: Krause: KM 1129
*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. 

*Here is a comparison from coins in my collection. The Japanese 50 Sen (1/2 Yen) is from Google Images. *

Korean 1 Yang from the Imperial Era (Before Japanese Protectorate Era) 
- Note the double dragons
- The different currency denomination that was not similar to the Japanese system. 
- Minted not in Osaka, Japan but at the Inchon Mint. 
- The legend is very different from the subsequent Protectorate era coinage. For instance, some say "Cho Son" or "Tae Cho Son" or "Kae Guk" instead of the Emperor's reigning name. 
- My coin of the Korean 1 Yang is shown below, as reference. 

Korean 20 Chon (Japanese Protectorate Era) 
- Note the dragon design- identical to the 20 sen of Meiji Japan
- Minted at the Osaka Mint in Japan. 
- Same size as the Japanese 20 sen. 
- My coin is shown below as reference and comparison. 

Japanese 20 Sen (Japanese Meiji Era) 

-Very similar to the Korean 20 Chon
-Minted at the Osaka Mint 
- Courtesy Google Images. 

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)

However, this particular coin, the first in its series (4 coins total), is the large size variety. Among the series, the large die size varieties are: Kwangmu 9 (1905) and Kwangmu 10 (1906). The smaller die sizes are from Kwangmu 11 (1907) and Yung Hi 2 (1908). I have a post on the Yung Hi 2nd Year Half Won: http://www.coinnumis.com/2018/01/korea-imperial-coinage-2-yung-hi-yr-2.html

(Note the Mix of English, Korean, and Hanja/Chinese Characters) 
Obverse: 大韓    光武九年     반원     Half Won
Reverse: 半圜

Condition: F

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:

The coin reviewed today is the one with the lowest mintage, at 600,000 pieces according to Krause's Standard Catalog of World Coins. 

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.

Additional Information:

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