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    Description

    Unique Discovery Piece: VOC Netherlands East Indies Japan Gold Cut Koban

    VOC Cut and Countermarked Japan gold Koban ND (1773), Japanese cut gold Koban countermarked with a previously unrecorded "W.S. over rampant lion coat-of arms in circle" stamp, together with the punched inscription N (for nummer, or number) 483. The condition of the cut Koban is VF with chopmarks, the stamps are VF-XF.

    During the 17th century large Japanese Kobans circulated in number in the Netherlands Indies - present day Indonesia - and were valued according to their gold content. These were given official status by the Netherlands Indies Government in 1673, valuing each Koban at 9 silver Rixdollars. This valuation was increased to 10 rixdollars in 1681.

    In 1690 due to counterfeiting the Government decreed that all genuine Koban in local circulation would be countermarked with a lion rampant facing to the left. However due to reductions in fineness of the official Japanese issue and problems with counterfeiting not only of the Kobans themselves but also of the rampant lion stamp the countermarking ceased. After this time gold Kobans were not officially countermarked and once again circulated valued only for their gold content.

    The present discovery piece is a Koban countermarked with a previously unrecorded "W.S coat-of-arms in circle" stamp together with the punched inscription N (for nummer = number) 483. This coin bears what Scholten, writing in 1953, describes on the official countermarked Koban (Sch 10) as, "a number of signs of warranty impressed by merchants." These are also known as chopmarks.

    Most remarkably perhaps is the discovery of the original VOC assay certificate of 1773 attesting to the fineness and weight of this exact coin. The certificate states that No. 483 is one gold coubang (Koban) and of a stated weight & fineness. It is dated at Batavia (Jakarta, the capital of the Netherlands East Indies) on the 23rd of January 1773 and signed LEENDERT VAN ELIOT. As stated in the Plakaatboek 1602-1811 of J.A. van der Chis (1891) Leendert van Eliot was the assayer at Batavia, apparently, by late 1765. According to additional historical records Heritage has found that previously he had been assayer at the Mint of Utrecht in the Netherlands from 1762 to 1765 as well as acting as Warden of the Mint in 1764. He may have been sent to the Indies to work on the major silver rupee coinage which was inaugurated effectively in 1765.

    Most interestingly perhaps the certificate, which had likely remained with the coin for two centuries, was discovered by the coin's owner at a banknote auction held by Spink & Son, where it was described a a banknote of one gold coubang (Koban)! It was only some time later that the owner - a banknote collector - realized that the number, "783," on the note he had seen previously was the same as the number on the Koban, and ultimately linked the "banknote," which turned out not to be a banknote, but a receipt for the cut Koban. The certificate will also be included for the buyer of this lot.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Apr-May, 2012
    25th-1st Wednesday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,329

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