¥50, ¥100 coin designs unchanged for half century
The Japan Times JIJI Jan 6, 2017
The design for ¥100 coins has not changed since their debut 50 years ago. | BLOOMBERG
The designs of the current ¥50 and ¥100 coins haven’t changed much since they debuted 50 years ago.
The ¥50 coin was introduced in 1955 and was initially made entirely of nickel. Circulation of a ¥100 coin minted mainly in silver started two years later.
|Obverse of a 100 yen coin shows Cherry Blossoms|
In 1967, both were reborn as cupronickel* coins with new designs. The switch to cupronickel, which typically contains 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel, was made because the alloy enabled stable mass production at the time when industrial demand for nickel and silver was growing sharply.
Since its debut, the ¥50 coin has had a chrysanthemum on its face, in one form or another. A hole was inserted in the center in 1959 to prevent it from being confused with the ¥100 coin.
50 yen coin 1963
The first-generation ¥100 coin featured a phoenix, but that was changed to rice stalks in 1959, and cherry blossoms in 1967. The rice stalks were later adopted for the ¥5 coin.
|modern 50 yen coin|
Circulation of the ¥50 and ¥100 coins fell in the late 2000s. Given the decline, which some say was caused by the rising use of electronic money, the Japan Mint stopped making ¥50 coins for four years from 2010, people familiar with the matter said.
|5 Yen coin 1959|
But in recent years, circulation for both has been recovering. Under the Japan Mint’s plans for fiscal 2016 through March, 60 million of the ¥50 coins and 450 million of the ¥100 coins will be produced.
According to the Bank of Japan, 4.378 billion ¥50 coins and 10.543 billion ¥100 coins were in circulation as of November 2016.
* Cupronickel is an alloy of copper that contains nickel and strengthening elements, such as iron and manganese.