Taiwan, 1 yuan, 70 (1981)

Today’s coin is in great condition:

Taiwan, 1 yuan, 1981 (Y #551)

The nation we call Taiwan considers itself the successor state of the Republic of China, literally a direct continuation of said nation. The obverse of this coin depicts Chiang Kai-shek, the dictator who led the Chinese republic from the 1920s until his death in 1975, presiding over the Japanese invasions of the 1930s, World War II, and the retreat to Formosa after defeat in the Communist Revolution of 1949.

The Taiwanese use the Republic calendar, which has as its epoch the foundation of the Republic of China in 1912. (The Republican calendar enters its second century in 2011.) The date on this coin is written above Chiang on the obverse; the numerals used are very similar to Japanese numerals. The text reads from right to left, and the characters between the leftmost and four-rightmost characters give the Republic date, the number of years that have elapsed since 1912. On today’s coin, “+ t” means 70, corresponding to 1981 on the Gregorian calendar. That was the year that this particular coin design was introduced, and it still remains in production today. It is worth about 3.4 cents USD.

I’m still not sure if the Taiwanese currency is called the dollar or the yuan, as I’ve seen both in use.

Metal Bronze (Cu 92%, Ni 6%, Al 2%)
Weight 3.8 g
Diameter 20 mm
Thickness 1.57 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Medal alignment


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3 Responses to “Taiwan, 1 yuan, 70 (1981)”

  1. david burton Says:

    What do the leftmost and four-rightmost characters mean/say?

    I have the exact same coin im trying to learn more about it…

    Thanks in advance!

    • deeplogic81 Says:

      The Chinese tradition for the dating of coins is to count the number of years since the current emperor ascended to the throne. In the Taiwanese case, it counts the years since the founding of the Chinese nationalist republic in 1912. So 1981 CE is the “70th year of the chinese republic”, and the left- and right-hand characters on each side of the “date” express that to some effect. But I cannot offer a direct translation for you.

      The Japanese still count the years since current emperor came to power, despite the transition to constitutional democracy. It is currently the 24th year of the reign of Hirohito.

    • DMH Says:

      First of all, the characters are printed right to left, whereas in modern day, Chinese is read left to right…

      I’m going to list it this way:
      left to right correct way to say it
      English translation

      One side says:
      yuan yi =
      yiyuan =
      1 yuan (currency name)

      The other says:
      nian shi qi guo min hua zhong =
      zhonghua minguo qishi nian =
      Taiwan 70 year

      “zhonghua minguo” is a name for Taiwan, it means: Chinese Republic

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