first issues > countries > japan


Thursday, April 20, 1871

Asia 4

  Japan #1  

Imperforate, native laid paper, no watermark, engraved.
Issued without gum. Denomination printed in black.
Printed by Matsuda, Kyoto.

Description # printed # issued Scott # SG# Mi# Y&T# Notes
48 mon brown
? 400,000 total for all values 1 1, 2   1  
100 mon blue
2 3, 4   2  
200 mon vermilion
3 5, 6   3  
500 mon blue green
4 7, 8   4 shades

All issue quantities are approximate.

Gibbons distinguishes between several colour and/or printing varieties in each of the first issues.
Y&T has an A/B plate variant for each value and a colour varient for the 500m.

The stamps were printed using two plates for the Dragon and one plate for each value. Each plate is made up of 40 slightly different, individually engraved, images.

The issue date was taken from the Scott catalog. Other authorities have used Wednesday March 1, 1871.

The first issue was printed until February 1872 and remained valid until November 30, 1889.

Counterfeits are plentiful, but according to Frank Aretz's book "Know Your Stamps" about 90% of the genuine stamps have a secret printers mark in the lower left. The reason it is not 100% may be related to the fact that all stamps on a plate of 40 were engraved individually.

The secret printers mark.

Japan Scott #1, genuine.
Japan Scott #1, forgery.

A few of the characteristics distinguishing genuine stamps from forgeries are:

It could be worth your while to visit Japan-Japan if you want more information on Japanese philately.

Sources: ScC, SGP18 YTC.

Image from Japan Philatelic.

FI ref: 166 Page credit: JA

Page created 19 Feb 2014 Page updated 27 Mar 2016