Mameitagin (an Edo-period type of coin) (豆板銀)

Mameitagin is a name for silver coins circulated in the Edo Period. They are also called Kotsubugin (pea-size silver) or Kodamagin (small ball silver). At that time, the formal name used at Ginza (an organization in charge of casting and appraising of silver during the Edo period) was 'Kodamagin,' but in the books of old coinage, such as "Kinginzuroku" (Gold & Silver catalog) and "Sanka zui" (Illustrations of the three types of money), it was recorded under the name of 'Mameitagin'.


Shaped like small silver slugs with a weight of between about 1 monme (approx. 3.75 g) to 10 monme (approx. 37.5 g), Mameitagin are silver coins that were valued by weight. There were also very small ones called Tsuyugin (dewdrop-beads) with a weight of 0.1 monme and used to adjust the weight.

Some of these coins had precise markings ('常是' [pronounced "joze"], which was the heredity name of a refiner, and '寳' {pronounced "ho"], meaning "valuable") and the year they were made, while others were inscribed with the image of Daikokuten (Great Black God) on one or both sides, probably to indicate that they were prizes or gifts.

They could be used on their own or in the role of auxiliary coins of Chogin (coins in the form of long oval silver slugs). For example, Mameitagin were sometimes added to small Chogin to give a combined weight of 43 monme (approx. 161.25 g) and then wrapped in paper for use together. These are called Hogin (silver coin bags). Chogin were often used in the form of Hogin for large size transactions, but were hardly used on their own because they were too valuable to use in everyday life. Mameitagin were used widely, as they enabled each payment by weighing them with a portable Ginbakari (scale for silver) and were exchanged into silver coins at money changers as needed because they were easier to carry than cash in Zenisashi (a string to bundle coins).

Since Keicho Mameitagin around 1620, Mameitagin had been steadily minted in the same quality as Chogin until Ansei Mameitagin in 1859 throughout the Edo Period.

Types of Mameitagin

The figures in brackets indicate the date of the mintage and silver content percentage (standards). The total amount of the mintage is included in that of Chogin.

Keicho Chogin Keicho Mameitagin (around 1620, 80%)

Genroku Chogin Genroku Mameitagin (October 1695, 64%)

Hoei Futatsuho (or Futatsutakara) Chogin Hoei Futatsuho (or Futatsutakara) Mameitagin (August 1706, 50%)

Hoei Eiji Chogin Hoei Eiji Mameitagin (March 1710, 40%)

Hoei Mitsuho (or Mitsutakara) Chogin Hoei Mitsuho (or Mitsutakara) Mameitagin (April 1710, 32%)

Hoei Yotsuho (or Yotsutakara) Chogin Hoei Yotsuho (or Yotsutakara) Mameitagin (September 1711, 20%)

Kyoho Chogin Kyoho Mameitagin (Shotoku Mameitagin) (September 1714, 80%)

Genbun Chogin Genbun Mameitagin (July 1736, 46%)

Bunsei Chogin Bunsei Mameitagin (June 1820, 36%)

Tenpo Chogin Tenpo Mameitagin (November 1837, 26%)

Ansei Chogin Ansei Mameitagin (December 1859, 13%)

[Original Japanese]