It’s a steal any way you look at it.

On August 7 the Osaka City Mint kicked off the production of commemorative 1,000-yen coins for the upcoming Osaka-Kansai World Expo in 2025.

One side of the coin has a full-color image of the man-made island Yumeshima, where the event will take place. On the flip side is the somewhat intestinal logo for Expo 2025 embossed with tiny grooves so that it reflects light in an array of colors.

The mint will produce 50,000 of these coins, each assigned a value of 1,000 yen (US$6.94). They will sell for 13,800 yen (US$96) including tax.

▼ The front of the coin featuring Yumeshima

Paying 13,800 yen for something with a value of 1,000 yen printed right on it is an understandable cause for alarm, as expressed in the following online comments.

“13,800 yen for a 10,000-yen coin is a reasonable price, but not for a 1,000-yen coin.”
“Maybe the price is set so high because they’re expecting the Expo to be canceled, which would drive up its value.”
“It’s kind of ugly.”
“That’s a rip-off for a commemorative coin.”
“If the Expo fails, it would be worth a lot.”
“At least their mascot is cute.”
“I think they’re worried about ticket sales and are trying to find other avenues to make money.”
“A rip-off coin for a rip-off Expo.”

Before we go calling this a “rip-off”, let’s break down what this coin is really potentially worth. First off, the 1,000-yen designation is pretty much meaningless. Most store clerks would just give you a weird look if you tried to spend it and good luck trying to use it in a vending machine.

It is, however, made of sterling silver, and since it weighs 31.1 grams (1.1 ounces) it’d be worth about 3,100 yen ($22) from that alone. While that puts it firmly above the 1,000-yen designated value, it’s still a far cry from 13,800 yen.

▼ The back side of the coin with the logo given a spectral effect

Next, we’d need to consider its value as a collectable. It’s naturally impossible to see the future but we do have examples from the past to work off.

The last time the World Expo came to Japan was 2005 in Aichi. Back then gold 10,000-yen coins was minted and sold for 40,000 yen ($278) each. Despite that considerable mark-up, they now sell for upwards of 100,000 yen ($695), but that’s largely because the value of gold happened to skyrocket shortly after they were made.

More recently, a gold 1,000-yen coin was minted in honor of the Rugby World Cup coming to Japan and sold for 120,000 yen ($833) each, in keeping with the price of gold at the time. However, immediately after the tournament in which Japan historically advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time ever, the coin’s price more than doubled, showing that the significance of the event can also be a major factor.

So, a silver Osaka-Kansai World Expo 2025 commemorative coin will very likely rise in value in the long-run due to the silver alone. But that being said, you’d be better off just buying regular silver at market value. Instead, the real return on this investment will rely on how memorable an event the Expo turns out to be – or possibly even not be, like some of the comments mentioned.

Another option is to simply buy the coin, enjoy it for its aesthetic craftsmanship, and keep it as a personal souvenir of this moment in time…if you’re into that kind of thing.

Source: Expo 2025, NHK News Web, Tsuki no Kinka, Ginza Coins, My Game News Flash
Images: Expo 2025
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