Coins have been used as a form of currency across the world for almost three thousand years. Much like today, the earliest coins were formed from metals, with more precious metals reflecting higher monetary value. The most common shape of coin is a flat, rounded disc shape, which also tends to be small in size. Antique and rare coins can hold high value on the collectors' market, and some coins produced by Japan can be of particular interest to numismatists. The first official Japanese coin to be minted was the Wadōkaichin, initially produced in 708; these coins were similar to early Chinese coins, featuring the same design of a round face with a square hole in the center. The ryō was a form of gold currency used in Japan up until it was replaced by the Yen in 1871, featuring an unusual oval shape design.
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