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Mint mark M – timing analysis


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Let’s go back to the question of mint marks (to catch up with the beginning of our discussion you should go to http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/51243-order-of-the-sacred-treasure) and mark M in particular. Allow me to remind you that according to Dieter hypothesis mark M was created in 1929 and was in use only for a short period of time. Osaka mint used this mark as proof of identity (this issue became especially important after medal scandal). That’s why we couldn’t find mark M on all specimens from 30s and first half of 40s. And that’s why we couldn’t find this M mark on after WW II pieces.

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1929.

Birth year of M mark. I think that is really so, because I’ve never met early pieces (rising suns or sacred treasures) with M mark. But when this M-practice was abolished and was there really a period of time when all signs from Osaka were marked by M? Let’s examine this issue.

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I think we forget about a very important source of information – Manchukuo orders. We all know that some orders of Auspicious Clouds bear the mark M. This fact gives us first starting point (actually finishing point) – 1934 (year when this order was introduced). So its now 1929-1934.

This is our new period of time during which mint mark M was in use.

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But we have another beauty – Pillars of the State. Pillars of the state bear mark M too.

Pieces with this mark are quite rare if not unique.

This is marked 3rd class of the pillars of the state (I wonder if Richard’s 1st and Paul’s 3rd class pieces are marked).

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It will be interesting to note that I’ve never seen marked pillars in lower classes from 4th to 8th class (or marked breast stars if it comes to that).

So now we have new coordinate – 1936. It gives us M-period of time in 7 years from 1929 to 1936.

And this is the minimal period of time.

That’s why I think that mark M was in use till the end of 30s (at least!).

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Transition pieces: private manufacturers VS. state manufacturer

Let me show dear colleagues these two examples of 3rd class of sacred treasure order.

Both marked.

One bear private manufacturer mark and another M mint mark.

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Another one to throw in, but it doesn't change the time period - but confirms at least 1935 probably 1936 too - the Pu Yi Visit to Japan medal - made by Osaka, and with the "M" hallmark.

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Look how close they are in manufacturing style and central mirror delineation! Incredibly close! And they have same ribbon, same rosette and same box. Maybe this is unique case when we see transition in action. One piece from late 20s (before 1929) and another from early Osaka produced pieces. It is as if they were manufactured on the same equipment with the same hands. Even the form of reverts are identical. This is an alarming symptom for our hypothesis about distinguished time boundary (1929) between private and state manufactured pieces. But again this striking similarity may resulted from some kind of merger (or hostile takeover ;) ) of private production facilities by the state Mint.

Edited by JapanX
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Private piece

I find this hallmark, "ヒ" also interesting as this was used on some 1914-15 war medals as well, could this possibly date this Sacred Treasure to that period? I wonder.....

Notice though that the kanji on the reverses of the two third classes have differences - the Osaka-made piece looks slightly more stylized, no?

Edited by Dieter3
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You guys are making my head swim in hallmarks... But I must applaud your efforts. Let me get some free time and I'll try to add informative comments. My 2nd Class Pillars badge has no hallmarks, sorry to say. The Japan Mint (not Osaka Mint--a later post coming) first produced the Pillars in Showa 11 (less than 1000) and the last one in Showa 20.

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You guys are making my head swim in hallmarks... But I must applaud your efforts. Let me get some free time and I'll try to add informative comments. My 2nd Class Pillars badge has no hallmarks, sorry to say. The Japan Mint (not Osaka Mint--a later post coming) first produced the Pillars in Showa 11 (less than 1000) and the last one in Showa 20.

Hi Richard and thanks for this info! :cheers:

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I find this hallmark, "ヒ" also interesting as this was used on some 1914-15 war medals as well, could this possibly date this Sacred Treasure to that period? I wonder.....

Yes, I think this mark was in use for about 30 years. Usually it could be found on sacred treasures and 1914-1915/1914-1920 medals.

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Notice though that the kanji on the reverses of the two third classes have differences - the Osaka-made piece looks slightly more stylized, no?

I think they are practically identical only private has more thin lines (this is common feature of early signs) and two or three small differences that connected with hieroglyph shape.

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Some of them are just stamp defects (especially the one on the right photo – below you’ll find exactly the same order marked M, but without this defect on reverse) and others – more or less stable differences.

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I find this hallmark, "ヒ" also interesting as this was used on some 1914-15 war medals as well, could this possibly date this Sacred Treasure to that period? I wonder.....

Here is the answer to your question.

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You can detect slightly different delineation of central mirror and another color (more carrot-like) and surface (more flat) of the “eyes” or “pearls” (but of course these are actually “precious stones” – a gift from the Gods ;) ) on our specimen. That’s why I think it belongs to the late 20s. It is to be regretted that I don`t have the photo of the reverse of April piece.

Cheers mate :beer:

Edited by JapanX
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My 2nd Class Pillars badge has no hallmarks, sorry to say.

As I said earlie this is quite rare. This is the first marked order I`ve ever seen. I still wonder if our two colleagues have marked specimens. :whistle:

P.S. Thanks for your detailed photo examination of the star that you posted on your site.

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You guys are making my head swim in hallmarks... But I must applaud your efforts. Let me get some free time and I'll try to add informative comments. My 2nd Class Pillars badge has no hallmarks, sorry to say. The Japan Mint (not Osaka Mint--a later post coming) first produced the Pillars in Showa 11 (less than 1000) and the last one in Showa 20.

Now this is interesting, and something I didn't even think about. This explains a lot - if the Japan Mint, not Osaka was making items, and the Japan Mint has no hallmark - well, that explains all those un-hallmarked pieces! I was under the mis-impression that only the Osaka mint made medals after the scandal. Did the Japan mint use hallmarks???

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