Vintage ¥2 coin fetches ¥32.1 million at auction

Kyodo News

A ¥2 gold coin issued in 1880 was sold Sunday for ¥32.1 million at an auction in Tokyo held by the Finance Ministry.

The winning bid for the coin — the only one of its kind in the government’s possession — sharply exceeded the previous high of ¥17 million in a series of ministry-sponsored auctions of gold coins.

About 1,400 coins went under the hammer Sunday. The starting bid for the ¥2 coin was ¥7 million, and participants applauded when it was sold at the record price.

One participant said it fetched a price far higher than expected. An appraisal had put the coin’s value at ¥20 million.

A man who bought a ¥5 coin issued in 1896 for ¥4.55 million said with a wry smile, “It was fun seeing all those rare items, but it was more expensive than I thought it would be.”

The ministry has sold nearly 33,000 coins through auctions. The proceeds have been logged in revenues in the government’s budget. Total proceeds are expected to be around ¥6 billion, according to the ministry.