PMG's Featured Note of the Month: Japan 2,000 Yen

Posted on 7/20/2021

This beautiful note is a reminder of Japan’s history and culture as the country prepares to host the Olympics this month.

Japan, Bank of Japan ND (2000) 2,000 Yen, graded PMG 68 Superb Gem Unc EPQ.
Click images to enlarge.

Country: Japan

Catalog Number: Pick# 103b (Standard Catalog of World Paper Money)

Date: ND (2000)

Denomination: 2,000 Yen

Varieties: PMG has also graded Single Letter Serial Number (Pick# 103a) notes and Replacement (Pick# 103a*) notes.

What makes it special? The 2,000 Yen note was issued on July 19, 2000, to commemorate the 26th G8 summit in Okinawa as well as the end of the millennium. Pictured on the front of the note is Shureimon gate, the famous entrance to Shuri Castle in Okinawa, which was destroyed during the war in 1945 and reconstructed in the 1960s. The other side features author Murasaki Shikibu and a scene from her “The Tale of Genji,” written in the 11th century and often called the “world’s first psychological novel.”

This beautiful note was intended to complement the array of paper money already in use in Japan: 1,000 Yen, 5,000 Yen and 10,000 Yen. The note never became popular because few vending machines or ATMs were reconfigured to accept the new denomination, and the public began to think of the notes as inconvenient. The bills also were bothersome to cashiers and business owners because modern cash registers did not have a slot for the denomination. The Bank of Japan stopped printing the banknote in 2004.

Did you know? There will be four sports making their debut at the Tokyo Olympics: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. It is fitting that karate is making its Olympic debut in Japan, as it is considered to be the birthplace of the sport. Interestingly though, karate actually was developed in the 1300s in Okinawa, a once-independent kingdom that built the Shuri Castle whose gate appears on the 2,000 Yen note.

Total graded by PMG: PMG has graded 847 Single Letter Serial Number Notes (Pick# 103a), as well as 4 Replacement Notes (Pick# 103a*) and 1,647 Double Letter Serial Number Notes (Pick# 103b).

PMG median grade: PMG 67 Superb Gem Unc EPQ

PMG highest graded: There are three examples of Pick# 103a and one example of Pick# 103b in PMG 70★ Gem Uncirculated EPQ and three examples of replacement notes in PMG 67 Superb Gem Unc EPQ.

Sales highlights: Two of the highest-graded examples sold for $720 (Pick# 103a) and $360 (Pick# 103b) at Heritage Auctions sales in December of 2017 and 2020. Examples around the median grade can be found for about $60.

PMG Registry: Pick# 103 is part of two competitive sets: Japan Complete, 1872-Date, P1-Date and Bank of Japan, 1963-Date, Complete, Including Varieties. RedWolfWhiteEagle holds top honors against 28 other competitors in the first set with the Imperial Japan Set #1, which includes a 2,000 Yen (Pick# 103b) graded PMG 68 Superb Gem Unc EPQ. The owner also lists the same note in the second set — the Imperial Bank of Japan 1963-Date Variety Set.

Related Articles

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free PMG eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the PMG eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List