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Cherry Blossoms from Japan

August 14, 2014 – Since its inception in 1883, the Japan Mint’s Cherry Blossom Viewing has enjoyed lasting popularity as one of Osaka’s best–loved spring traditions. The Japan Mint releases the 2014 “Cherry Blossom Viewing” BU Coin Set, which includes a special pure silver medal, commemorating the Cherry Blossom Viewing this year.

Matsumae kotoito-zakura.

Matsumae kotoito-zakura.

About the Blossom of the Year, “Matsumae kotoito-zakura”
Matsumae kotoito-zakura was produced in 1959 (Showa 34) by the cherry-blossom researcher Asari Masatoshi, from the seed of an unnamed double-flowered cherry blossom tree in the garden of the Mariyama family home in Matsumae, Hokkaido. It has 40–45 petals, which turn from crimson to pale pink after the blooms open.

(1) 2014 Cherry Blossom Viewing BU Coin Set
This set is comprised of:

  • Six Japanese legal tender coins (a 500 yen nickel-brass coin, a 100 yen cupronickel coin, a 50 yen cupronickel coin, a 10 yen bronze coin, a 5 yen brass coin and a 1 yen aluminum coin) in Brilliant Uncirculated condition,
  • A pure silver medal (Size: 17.5mm x 17.5mm, Weight: approx. 4.3g)
The special pure silver medal.The special pure silver medal.

The special pure silver medal.

The obverse of the silver medal shows letters representing “Cherry Blossom Viewing” as well as cherry blossom petals, which are depicted by using latent image technology. On the other hand, the reverse shows “’14” representing the year of issue, and this year’s animal zodiac sign, the Horse.

Latent image technology.Latent image technology.

Latent image technology.

Thanks to latent image technology, different cherry blossom petals appear alternatively when viewed from different angles.

(2) 2014 Cherry Blossom Viewing Proof Coin Set
This set is comprised of:

  • Six Japanese legal tender coins (a 500 yen nickel-brass coin, a 100 yen cupronickel coin, a 50 yen cupronickel coin, a 10 yen bronze coin, a 5 yen brass coin and a 1 yen aluminum coin) in Brilliant Uncirculated condition,
  • A color sterling silver medal (material: Ag 92.5%, weight: approx.20g, diameter: 35mm)
The special silver medal featuring the Blossom of the Year.The special silver medal featuring the Blossom of the Year.

The special silver medal featuring the Blossom of the Year.

The obverse of the silver medal has the Blossom of the Year, Matsumae kotoitozakura, printed in color, while the reverse depicts a woman playing the koto (a Japanese stringed instrument) by using the frosting finish (nashiji) processing technique and other fine processing techniques. The frosting finish processing technique of engraving produces a minutely irregular surface, thereby diffusing reflection to obtain a pear skin-like texture.

The obverse of the cover case shows Matsumae kotoito-zakura, and the reverse and the leather case show a woman playing the koto, while the obverse of the coin holder depicts Matsumae kotoito-zakura and the reverse has a koto design.

Japan/ Pure Gold/ 95 g/ 40 mm/ Mintage: 150.Japan/ Pure Gold/ 95 g/ 40 mm/ Mintage: 150.

Japan/ Pure Gold/ 95 g/ 40 mm/ Mintage: 150.

(3)-(5) 2014 Cherry Blossom Viewing Medals (Gold / Silver / Red-brass)
The design of the three medals is common. The obverse shows a woman playing the koto (a Japanese stringed instrument) amid fluttering cherry blossom petals, while reverse depicts the Blossom of the Year, “Matsumae kotoitozakura.”

Japan/ Pure Silver/ 135 g/ 55 mm/ Mintage: 2,000.Japan/ Pure Silver/ 135 g/ 55 mm/ Mintage: 2,000.

Japan/ Pure Silver/ 135 g/ 55 mm/ Mintage: 2,000.

Especially, on the obverse of the gold medal, petals of cherry blossoms are depicted by using not only relief but also latent image technology.

Japan/ Red Brass/ 110 g/ 55 mm/ Mintage: 3,000.Japan/ Red Brass/ 110 g/ 55 mm/ Mintage: 3,000.

Japan/ Red Brass/ 110 g/ 55 mm/ Mintage: 3,000.

In addition, on the reverse side of the silver and red-brass medals, the Blossom of the Year, “Matsumae kotoito-zakura,” is depicted in color.

More cherry blossom coins from the Japanese Mint in this CoinsWeekly article.

Or enjoy these truly magnificent pictures of real cherry blossoms!

Click here to visit the Japan Mint online.

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