This weeks blog post features Satosan Metals and their Japanese inspired silver rounds. Taking inspiration from Japan's 1 Yen silver crown as well as iconic imagery, comes some very appealing themes and designs. If you are fascinated with Japan or enjoy different cultures, you surely don't want to miss out on these rounds.
The seeds for Satosan Metals were planted many years ago. Beginning in his youth, the owner (Jeff) recalls a fascination of treasure hunting, searching for old coins and learning about the history of them. He would visit local shops and flea markets buying coins of interest while gaining a practical knowledge of gold and silver. This passion eventually fell by the wayside as work and adult life became the priority. Several years later, he found himself reminiscing of his old hobby so he decided it was time to re-ignite that old flame. This time, there was more of a focus on silver bullion and the artwork offered by various world mints. This led to buying, trading and selling and really ignited his rediscovered passion. Then one day, the unfortunate happened...every silver stacker's worst case scenario...he fell victim to a silver scammer for a very large sum of money. Admirably, rather than giving up in frustration, this was the catalyst that took him from stacker, to maker of fine silver rounds.
Being faced with an all to common concern of counterfeiting, he decided the only way to guarantee himself of legit, pure silver products was to make them himself. This ambitious task began by learning about the refining process and quickly realizing this wasn't for him. He then moved on to experimenting with poured silver, melting silver shot in to bars but found this difficult to commit to with a hectic work schedule. It was then, he considered the possibilities of making his own silver rounds.
It was some time later in Japan, where he met his wife and while being immersed in the Japanese culture, he became intrigued and fascinated with it. It wasn't long after where his hobbies of the past were once again re-ignited. Drawn to the beauty of the Japanese 1 Yen silver crown coin, it was then he decided, "if I am going to delve into making my own silver, I will use Japanese themes."
Satosan Metals started in 2015 paying homage to his favorite Japanese coin, the 1 Yen silver crown. The obverse features the iconic dragon in the center and is encircled by Japanese text which is the translation for "480 Silver .999." 480 represents the number of grains of silver to make 1 troy ounce. Again, this was done to to mimic the original 1 Yen as it had 416 grains total weight for the coin at 90% purity. This 1oz, fine silver piece was titled "Asahi" for the rising sun motif on the reverse as well as it being the first piece created.
The next year brought his most popular design thus far, Tsukiakari. The obverse is a moonlight scene featuring a beautiful Japanese women in traditional clothing at the waters edge with vast mountains in the background. The previous Asahi reverse was modified slightly as above. This also was the time when Jeff decided to add serialized numbering to the rounds and introduce his method of number sequencing. Each year, a new 3D obverse will be created and that obverse will be used for 5 years. Every year, that same 3D obverse will have a different 2D reverse used on it. The serialized numbers start with the first pairing and will continue until the 5 year life of the 3D obverse has been exhausted....it can be somewhat confusing however this is a very unique and interesting way of creating a collector focused run of silver rounds.
An interesting feature done this year as well were double digit serial numbers with gold gilding by Pit Bullion, really nice touch!
The new round for 2017 is called Tsurskame. The obverse features a bird "Tsuru" representing longevity, love and fidelity because they pair for life. The "Minogame" is said to live 10,000 years and is one of the four celestial guardians (North, South, East, and, West). The seaweed tail on the “Minogame” is due to its long life and experiences while transiting the sea and earth. Together they represent peace, and longevity. The reverse features Mt. Fuji with the "satosan" mark in the field above the mountain representing the sun.
Here are some closing words from Jeff:
"In the end there is something therapeutic about trying to come up with a subject to put onto a silver planchet and I will continue with the Japanese themes. I must give all the credit to the artists that assist with the concepts on paper, Luigi Badia for doing the 3d modeling, and BEX Engraving for making the dies and minting them for me."
We would like to thank Jeff for the opportunity to share his unique story and learn more about his Japanese inspired rounds. The images he has chosen are iconic with Japan and it is great to see the tribute to Japanese culture. His determination to persevere and create something beautiful is inspiration to us. We really do look forward to seeing what future designs he will come up with.
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