In the fall of 2012, I received an e-mail from a man (John Doe, if you will) who said he had military notes from his grandfather’s estate. I started exchanging correspondence and decided it would be worthwhile to see John. It proved to be an unforgettable trip.
When I arrived, John had set a well- preserved wooden crate in the kitchen; that box would give new meaning to the term “treasure trove”: it was filled with note after note, with one type better than the next. The box included issued rarities, some multiples, unknown specimens, items we have never auctioned, and pieces we could never have conceived of and provided all the eye candy I could handle.
And that was just Japan. Even more countries followed: China, Thailand, Burma and more. John had a flair for the dramatic, because the final envelope contained incredibly exotic proofs, essays, and unfinished or unknown pieces, a few of which we have already publicized. To say John’s group exceeded my expectations is a VAST understatement.
John’s grandfather had formed what we are calling the Japanese Destiny Collection (JDC) and his saving these pieces clearly demonstrates a combination of foresight and wisdom. The JDC beneficiary is not only John, but also those who reap the greatest rewards, the numismatic collecting community. John’s grandfather was a dignitary who made a herculean effort to protect this collection; it was well stored under conditions that can only be described as “less than ideal” – a critical factor as many of these pieces are discovery items or rare. We can all be appreciative and indebted to John’s grandfather, who toiled so hard to keep this holding intact.
Why are we calling this the Japanese Destiny Collection? One reason is the religious connotation with the term “destiny”, and this symbolism is apparent on these notes. The cherry blossom (present on several of these notes) is one example of this symbolism. The Japanese culture, religion, and nationalism is tied into this destiny and clearly reflected on these notes.
With the JDC, what appears to be innocuous is far from it. For example, the most straight forward symbolism of the cherry blossom overprint is for the currency reform of 1946. One source states “cherry blossoms… [are] an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life”. During World War II, the cherry blossom symbolism helped instill nationalism and militarism, sometimes extreme, into a tired nation. The cherry blossom permeates many aspects of Japanese culture, just as the cherry blossoms on the notes infuses the meaning of these pieces. There are several types contained in the Japanese Destiny Collection with the cherry blossom overprint that are previously unreported in that form.
While the primary focus of the Japanese Destiny Collection is the World War II era, this collection contains rare Japanese imperial types such as the 5 and 10 Yen from the Daikoku series, convertible silver 5 and 10 Yen, 100 Yen and 20 Yen from the convertible gold issue, emergency 200 Yen from 1927, and more.
And what of Daikoku, the individual found on some earlier issues? One source states Daikoku, the god of great darkness or blackness, is one of Seven Gods of Fortune. Daikokuten evolved from the Hindu deity, Shiva. Shiva, in turn, is a Hindu deity known as ‘the Destroyer’ or ‘the Transformer’. Daikoku with bales of rice and feeding mice represented the well-being of Japan, with plenty of food to nourish its people.
The World War II issues are phenomenal – the tumult of this era is clearly reflected with several pieces in the Japanese Destiny Collection. Several Allied Military Currency booklets for both “A” and “B” Yen are included; these were prepared for the occupation of Japan. Concurrent issues were printed by the Bank of Japan. At the end of the war, the Bank of Japan produced a 10 and 100 Yen (Standard Catalog #77 and #78A), much more gray in color than previous more vibrant issues.
Shortly after the release of these two notes, three lithograph types of 10, 500, and 1000 Yen (#78, #78B, and #78C) were prepared but not issued. All three of these types are rare, and we are pleased to have each included in the Japanese Destiny Collection. In 1946, a currency reform ensued where old 10, 100, 200, and 1000 Yen were revalidated with adhesive Shoshi stamps. The unissued cherry blossom overprint pieces follow this Shoshi series.
The most astounding part of JDC is comprised of artist essays, proofs, photographs, and other development material. Each is rare and some are reportedly unique; many are offered for the first time. A few are not listed in the official Japanese paper money catalog. Some of these pieces combine photography and paint brush, others are almost completely hand drawn, and still more are paste ups. While some are for designs never used, the Japanese Destiny Collection includes an essay for something which later became the 10 Yen “American note” with the Japanese Diet building circa 1946 (Standard Catalog #87). This essay was for 1000 Yen and portrays a Japanese oni, a creature from folklore which in this case resembles a dragon. An unissued 500 Yen note shows a figure of the Buddha.
Finally, the JDC contains a strong representation of related areas under Japanese influence. Key pieces include a Burma 5 Kyats; early, rare Taiwan 50 Yen; key Thailand 1000 Baht; several different bank issues from China; and much more.
The Japanese Destiny Collection promises to be the opportunity of a lifetime for collectors of all areas, not just Japan. Come join us in Memphis for this historic sale!
The JDC Collection, along with Thousands of Rare US notes and World Currency will be offered for sale by Lyn Knight Auctions during the International Paper Money Show.
The sale is presented over 10 sessions
between June 13th to June 21st.
Please see the schedule below for bidding times and cutoff dates, along with locations.
You can also visit Lyn Knight’s website for additional Information
|2013 Memphis World Session 1|
|World bank notes — Web bidding ends on 06/13/2013 04:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis US Session 2|
|US Notes – Large Size Type, Small Size Type, Errors, Colonial, Confederate, Obsolete, Etc. — Web bidding ends on 06/14/2013 05:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis US Session 3|
|US Notes – National Bank Notes — Web bidding ends on 06/15/2013 04:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis World Session 4|
|World Bank Notes — Web bidding ends on 06/16/2013 03:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis Session 5 US Knight Live|
|US Small Size Type & Errors — Web bidding ends on 06/18/2013 04:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis Session 6 US Knight Live|
|US National Bank Notes & National Banking History Books — Web bidding ends on 06/19/2013 08:30:00 AM CDT|
|2013 Memphis Session 7 US Knight Live|
|US Large Size, Continental, Colonial, Confederate, Fractional, Obsolete, Stocks & Bonds, MPC & Books (in this order) — Web bidding ends on 06/19/2013 05:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis Session 8 World Knight Live|
|Middle East Plus Countries A thru D — Web bidding ends on 06/20/2013 08:30:00 AM CDT|
|2013 Memphis Session 10 World Knight Live|
|Asia Cache, WWII Cache, Countries M thru Z, Notgelds and Miscellaneous — Web bidding ends on 06/20/2013 04:30:00 PM CDT|
|2013 Memphis Session 9 World Knight Live|
|Latin America Plus Countries E thru N — Web bidding ends on 06/21/2013 08:30:00 AM CDT|