Japan plans to sell 32,681 rare gold coins worth "several billion yen" weighing 225 kg. and dating back to 1871, mostly through auctions, the Japanese Ministry of Finance said on Friday.
Under a plan announced last September, a panel of experts has appraised the quality of the gold coins and the ministry now plans to hold auctions, both conventional floor auctions and Internet auctions, in the coming three years, a ministry official said.
The gold coins to be auctioned include many that are very rare. Including, 20 yen gold coins from 1932 which are so rare that their prices are not listed in catalogues for collectors, and the ministry is selling 60 of them in "unused" condition and eight of in "extremely good" condition.
"By sealing them into the cases, we want to differentiate them from coins that are already traded in the market," the official said.
The first floor auction for the rare gold coins will be held this autumn. Details will be announced on the Japanese Finance Ministry's website (www.mof.go.jp) about a month in advance, and bids by mail will be accepted.
The more valuable rare gold coins, about one third of the total, will be sold through the floor auctions. The lesser-quality gold coins will be sold through Internet auctions, the first one will be held before March 2006.