Saturday, September 16, 2006

Coin Collecting & Kamakura

Today, I'm going to Shirakawa, which lies between my town and Tokyo. After considerable and exhaustive research, I have located a store that sells Japanese coins! Only a dork like myself could ever possibly get so excited about such a thing. I'm interested in adding some Japanese coins to my collection.

Being the eccentric nerd that I am, I collect coins from time to time, primarily American coins including Lincoln Cents, Indian Head Cents, and Walking Liberty Half Dollars. Made in America in the 1930's and 1940's, the Walking Liberty Half Dollars feature two of the coolest designs I have ever seen on a coin. The "Walkers" are my absolute favorites, and are the most beautiful coins I have ever seen to date. See the picture. There is a French 5 Franc coin with a similar design that dates from the mid-seventies. I have a few of those as well. Don't quote me on the dates.

I don't collect terribly rare and valuable coins so much. The only notable pieces I have are some nice "Walkers" in very fine and slightly better conditions. I mostly collect what I find in circulation. In the USA, the State Quarters are keeping myself and other collecters plenty busy. But I'm having more fun collecting while I travel. I visited a dealer in Australia and found some interesting Australian and British Coins. I bought a 1981 commemorating the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana!

On the Continent, My father and my friends Pat and Heike will attest to my endless search for European Coins. According to my friend Pat, the Euro coins are all designed and issued by each European Country. Each country gets to issue their own designs, so there should be dozens (hundreds?) of varieties to find. On the Italian coins, there were designs of Leonardo and the Colluseum. In Belgium there were designs of the Belgian monarch and the Belgian Atomium, a large steel structure that looks like a iron crystal molecule. A Spanish coin I found has Cervantes' portrait on one side, etc.

This will be my first visit to a Japanese Coin Dealer, so we'll see what I can find. There are a few very 500 Yen peices commemorating the Nagano Winter Olympics floating around, but I haven't found one in a condition worth keeping.

With Monday being a Japanese National Holiday, I also intend to go down to Kamakura for the 3 day weekend. Kamakura is famous for an abundance of shrines and temples, as well as a large Daibutsu, or Japanese Buddha. I will report about it in my next update, so stay tuned!

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