The official 400th Anniversary of Japan-British Relations
Gold and Silver Proof Coins

Only 400 Coins available worldwide

Minted by the East India Company
with Royal Approval from HM Queen Elizabeth II

Rendered_JAP400*NEW* Presentation of Japan400 coin to the Tokugawa family on 6th December 2013:

On 8th September 2013, following official approval from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 400 legal tender coins were issued in 24ct Gold and Fine Silver to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Japan-British Relations and the beginning of a long and remarkable friendship between the two nations.

These extremely limited edition coins feature for the first time ever on a coin the portrait of Retired Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Next to him is a portrait of King James l of England and Vl of Scotland, with an image representing The East India Company ship “The Clove” with the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll on the obverse.


Designed by Former Royal Mint Chief Engraver and Head of Design, Matthew Bonaccorsi, the design has been formally agreed and approved by HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Household and is the only official coin issued to celebrate the anniversary.

Matthew Bonaccorsi comments “When designing a coin of this stature, it is important to achieve a balance between the two nations, ensuring that each ruler stands alone in their own right. The portraits demonstrate the differing styles of art from each country, highlighting their unique cultures. The EIC ship ‘The Clove’ is purposely placed behind the portraits, symbolising its importance in connecting the two nations at a time when maritime travel was still a very hazardous enterprise”.

After his senior responsibilities at the Royal Mint and 17 years of experience designing and engraving coins and medals, Matthew Bonaccorsi launched his own Numismatic Design Agency in 2012. Creating designs for important UK events such as HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 100th anniversary of WW1 contribute to Matthew Bonaccorsi’s experience in capturing important characters and anniversaries in 3D relief.


Struck to the highest ‘proof’ quality available in the minting process, these gold and silver coins are minted by The East India Company, the very Company which, 400 years ago, arrived at the shores of Hirado bearing gifts and official letters from King James I and Vl for the rulers of Japan.
Each coin is carefully mounted in a beautiful presentation case, each with a numbered certificate.

With only 400 coins available worldwide, the demand for these coins is significant.  The coins were placed on general release on 8th September 2013.

A donation of £100 for each gold coin and £10 for each silver coin will be made to the Japan400 Organisation to ensure that future generations will be able to benefit from the legacy of this special anniversary, through a range of educational and monumental restoration projects.


The East India Company and Its Coins

The East India Company has long been known in the precious metal trade. It was, and still is, the only company in history to mint its own trading currency and grew to become one of the two largest bullion traders of its time.

Much of the East India Company’s history has been captured in the immortal designs used in its coinage. These coins tell the story of how a band of traders created a company that far exceeded the sum of their ambitions, uniting distant markets and building and sustaining an empire.

The need of The Company to use bullion as a trading commodity grew from the lack of appropriate goods with which to tempt their eastern partners. Cargoes of heavy cloths, such as woollens, initially loaded onto the East India Company ships, were quickly replaced with bullion coins, more readily acceptable in the new markets they were exploring.

By the middle of the 17th century, The Company’s trade increasingly depended on the export of bullion from Britain to serve its needs. By 1677, it had become so influential that King Charles II granted it the right to mint its own currencies in the territory of Bombay which it administered through an earlier grant of charter. This led over time to the emergence of over 14 mints in India including Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

The Company’s coins included Gold Mohur, Silver Rupiya, Pagoda, Anna, Fanams and Cash, many of which remain highly sought after and revered by collectors to this day.

By 1835, the Coinage Act decreed that there should be a universal coinage for all of the British Colonies. As a result coins were struck for the first time bearing the effigy of the reigning monarch, King William IV.

Over 150 years later, following in the path of its ancestors, The East India Company secured the right to mint legal tender coins for the Island of St Helena, with which it shares a long and intimate history.
On Royal Approval and once again bearing the effigy of reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, The East India Company returned to its by-gone bullion days, releasing its first new legal tender coins in February 2012 with the launch of the famous Gold Mohur and Fine Silver CASH collections.

In 2013, the collection was extended to include the East India Company Guinea, an iconic coin which symbolised the Colonial age and underpinned the growth of international trade.

Special edition anniversary coins including the 2013 Koh-i-Noor Coronation coin, the Treasures of India Collection and the 400th Anniversary of Japan – British Relations Gold and Silver coins complement a collection of beautiful, rare and exceptional coins minted to the very highest standards for the collector, curator and connoisseur alike.


Press release for presentation to the Tokugawa family is here:

This post is also available in: Japanese


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