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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Take care of your "Sen's" and the Yens will take care of themselves

A few weeks back I hit the kind of estate sale that was truly a "dig." Lots of old paper and books, on lots of dusty shelves, inside room after room of a 110 year-old basement. I had the pleasure of just taking my time poking in every corner, looking at everything. It all seemed to have value, well, not all of it. I settled for a few good magazines, and one that seemed to cover all the entertainment of the day in 1916, including Stage, Screen, and Vaudeville:
This seems to cater to the fan of entertainment as much as it does to the purveyor of motion picture houses. I will post some of the pages in an upcoming article.  Meanwhile, let me continue digging through this ancient basement.  In a box that was suspiciously new (how long have they been brewing Bud Light?) there was a small stack of papers, old, odd, and likely moved from another holder and then never inspected. I took a look and then thought up a price, and then crossed my fingers.  This day the person running the basement portion of the sale was looking to clear the stuff out and let me have my small heap for $5.  Even if worthless, I had what I wanted: a dig in a box and at the bottom, I found the golden ticket!

I guessed Japanese yen and hoped I had found something rare. It looked rare enough. A quick check of Wikipedia and I knew I was looking at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, through the first Torii (great gate). A few more searches and I knew it was from approximately 1942-44. This is where i should have stopped, because the problem with researching treasure is that the more you know about something the lower in value it descends. The last stop was an auction site that lists the note between $70-$100....but in un-circulated condition! This was also not a 50 Yen note at all, but a "Sen" note. Sen notes are comparable in value to the Yen as the "penny" is to the dollar. So, I don't even have a whole Yen here, I have half.  Like with most paper items, the poorer the condition the less you should pay for it. Unless you like how it looks, or came about it in the way that I did, then, to me, it's priceless. Not mention, easy to store, fun to hold, and examine.  Like the magazine above, I will reveal more from this box at a later date.

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