Scottsdale launches a new silver bullion pair around Japanese cultural icon, Momotaro – Peach Boy

Scottsdale Mint seems to be picking up a bit of steam to make up for the huge drag on the market caused by the coronavirus pandemic over the last few months. Latest to join their extensive and varied range of limited mintage bullion coins is a pair of Japanese culture themed one-ounce offerings. Called Momotaro, or Peach Boy (!), this is a centuries old classic of Japanese literature, of which you can read more further down.

The end result is a pair of designs in different styles, but featuring the same basic story. The first is quite similar to the mints own 2018 Samurai Archives coin, Kiyomori, a coin that replicated the style of the old Japanese woodcut artists, (it was based very closely on a specific 19th century example by Japanese ukiyo-e artist, Utagawa Hiroshige), and one of this new pair is similarly inspired. Called Ukiyo-e after that artistic style, the first design (the samurai holding the head) is the more traditionally Japanese of the pair.

The second coin (holding the banner) is called Anime, after the hugely popular animation that Japan has exported around the world. You can see from the coin how close the look is to the comic art that has emanated from the Asian powerhouse over the last few decades, for example. It’s a more modern and less stylised approach, but which you prefer is strictly a personal choice, as both are first class examples of their genre.

Each of the pair has an identical border, background field, and title, and both are issued for Samoa, so carry that island nations coat of arms on their obverse. There will be 50,000 of each design available, so a little more than usual, but not excessively high. Available to order now, a good looking pair with a theme rarely seen in bullion. We’ve only seen them up at a Japanese dealer at present (hence the videos), but they should spread to tother dealers shortly, we’d imagine.

MOMOTARO

Momotarō (桃太郎, “Peach Boy”) is a popular hero of Japanese folklore. His name translates as Peach Tarō, a common Japanese masculine name, and is often translated as Peach Boy. Momotarō is the title of various books, films and other works that portray the tale of this hero. This Standard Type of “Momotarō” was defined and popularized due to them being printed in school textbooks during the Meiji Period.

The present conventional form of the tale (Standard Type) can be summarized as follows:

Momotarō was born from a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman who was washing clothes there. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained that he had been bestowed by the Gods to be their son. The couple named him Momotarō, from momo (peach) and tarō (eldest son in the family).

When he matured into adolescence, Momotarō left his parents to fight a band of Oni (demons or ogres) who marauded over their land, by seeking them out in the distant island where they dwelled (a place called Onigashima or “Demon Island”). En route, Momotarō met and befriended a talking dog, monkey and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest in exchange for a portion of his rations (kibi dango or “millet dumplings”). At the island, Momotarō and his animal friends penetrated the demons’ fort and beat the band of demons into surrendering. Momotarō and his new friends returned home with the demons’ plundered treasure and the demon chief as a captive.”

Although the oral version of the story may have emerged during the Muromachi Period (1392–1573), it may not have been set down in writing until the Edo Period (1603–1867). The oldest works of Momotaro known to have existed had been dated to the Genroku era (1688–1704) or perhaps earlier.

These older texts from around the Genroku era (e.g. Momotarō mukashigatari) are lost, but surviving examples of later dates, such as the reprint Saihan Momotarō mukashigatari (c. 1777) purportedly preserve the older tradition, and form the first (most primitive) group of texts according to Koike Tōgorō [ja]. The late date of the reprint has sometimes caused it to be classed as kibyōshi (“yellow cover”) or later type of kusazōshi literature, but it should properly be classed as akahon (“red book”) or early type.

A second group of texts, which Koike considered to be younger, includes the miniature akahon, Momotarō (『もゝ太郎』), printed in Kyōhō 8 (1723). This miniature book is now considered to be the oldest surviving copy of any written Momotarō story. (From Wikipedia)

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 5 TALA (Samoa)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 39.0 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 50,000 per design
BOX / C.O.A. Capsule
SCOTTSDALE MINT