Hokusai’s iconic Japanese woodcut print ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’ is the latest copper/silver micropuzzle coin

We’re big fans of Powercoin’s Micropuzzle Treasure series, which employed Smartminting to recreate an unfinished puzzle of a piece of art. Now four coins old, it was joined by a similar series from Numiartis that has seen two releases to date. Both series do have a single flaw, however. At three ounces of silver with small mintages, they’re both sporting €350+ pricetags.

This June, World Coin Appreciation launched their own take on the genre, struck in 60 grams of copper with a gram of silver around it. The end result is a decent sized coin at an extremely friendly price. True, it doesn’t have that sharply defined multi-level strike that Smartminting seems to manage with ease, but as you can see from the images, it looks great regardless.

This time around, the subject is absolutely perfect. Hokusai’s ‘Great Wave Off Kanagawa’ is a visual masterpiece, and one of the few that has made the jump to popular culture today. From the coin images, we can see a terrific reproduction, and even though the frame is a little out of place for the art, it all looks very cool. The silver layer sits under the colour, showing through on the unfinished section of the puzzle.

The coin has a decent 2,000 mintage and is well presented in a windowed display frame. With a very affordable price, a fine choice of subject, and what looks to be a quality strike, this is the perfect choice for those that want a micropuzzle style coin, but have a lower budget. That it shows no sign of being a cheaper offering is a credit to the producer.


The Great Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. It was published sometime between 1830 and 1833 in the late Edo period as the first print in Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景 Fugaku sanjūrokkei?). It is Hokusai’s most famous work, and one of the best recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats off the coast of the prefecture of Kanagawa. While sometimes assumed to be a tsunami, the wave is, as the picture’s title suggests, more likely to be a large rogue wave. As in all the prints in the series, it depicts the area around Mount Fuji under particular conditions, and the mountain itself appears in the background.

Impressions of the print are in many Western collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the British Museum in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and in Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, France, among many other collections.

Hokusai created the “Thirty-Six Views” both as a response to a domestic travel boom and as part of a personal obsession with Mount Fuji. It was this series, specifically The Great Wave print and Fine Wind, Clear Morning, that secured Hokusai’s fame both in Japan and overseas. As historian Richard Lane concludes, “Indeed, if there is one work that made Hokusai’s name, both in Japan and abroad, it must be this monumental print-series…”. While Hokusai’s work prior to this series is certainly important, it was not until this series that he gained broad recognition. Source:Wikipedia

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver and copper
WEIGHT 1.0 gram silver / 60 gram copper
DIMENSIONS 58.0 x 44.0 mm
MODIFICATIONS Colour, gilding
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes