Other Articles in this Series on Korean Coins
South Korea's hwan coinage (1959-1975)
South Korea's First Gold and Silver Commemorative Coins (1970)
The 30th Anniversary of Liberation 100 Won Commemorative coin (1975)
The 42nd World Shooting Championships Commemorative Coins (1978)
The Fifth Republic Commemorative Coins (1981)
South Korean Pattern Coins (1965-1966)
Bank of Korea Mint Sets
Coin Shops in Seoul

The Contemporary "Won" Coins of the Republic of Korea (1966 - Present)

South Korea's

The Won coins minted in the 1960s included the One-Won, Five-Won and Ten-Won. These particular coins are marked "견양" (kyeon yang), meaning "SPECIMEN".
Bank of Korea banknotes

To replace the the old hwan banknotes with new won currency, the Bank of Korea imported this series of notes from Britain. Printed by Thomas De la Rue & Co., these notes were introduced on June 10, 1962, and most of them continued to circulate for five to seven years before being withdrawn. This currency, in addition to all of the subsequent banknotes and coins released since the 1962 currency reform, are still considered legal tender.
Hwan coins

These three coins (left to right: 100-Hwan, 50-Hwan, 10-Hwan) circulated in Korea from 1959 until the demonetization of the Hwan in June 1962, whereupon the 100 Hwan coins were withdrawn and later melted. The 50-Hwan and 10-Hwan were kept in circulation, but revalued to ten times their former value, as Five-Won and One-Won coins. Learn more about these coins here.

    The won-denominated coins emerged at a time when the Republic of Korea's currency reform of 1962 resulted in a desperate need for new coinage.   The reform involved converting from the “hwan” (환)-denominated currency (1953-1962) to a new “won” (원) denomination (1962-present), and revaluing the Korean currency downward.   South Korea embarked on this currency conversion, the third in twelve years, after a military junta government (1961-1963) attempted to fund its economic development plans by confiscating all of the nation's cash in order to take a cut of it.   Poor planning and execution led to the failure of the currency reform:  The "cash-recall" scheme generated almost no funding for the government (very few Koreans had much money in 1962), and the only lasting outcomes were the revaluing of the nation's currency at a 10 to 1 rate, and the resulting name-change for the currency.   Inflation began to soar, meanwhile the Bank of Korea's domestic currency system throughout the early 1960s was left to rely on both won-denominated banknotes, and the circulation of the old 50-Hwan and 10-Hwan coins, which were revalued to Five-Won and One-Won respectively.

The Bank of Korea replaced the old hwan notes with won-denominated banknotes printed in Britain by Thomas De la Rue & Co, in addition to locally-printed won notes.   This confusing combination of revalued hwan coins and a mix of smaller-denomination banknotes was sufficient for a few years.   It was soon apparent that the amount of won notes and old hwan coins in circulation were not enough to meet the demands of a stabilized and growing economy, and the Bank of Korea realized it needed to address its contradictory and inadequate system of currency.

    In 1964, the Bank considered the options of either importing hundreds of millions of additional foreign-printed banknotes, or securing the coining machinery necessary for the Korean mint to locally manufacture coins that could replace both the old hwan coins and three of the banknotes that were then in circulation; the One-Won, Five-Won and 10-Won.   The One-Won denomination was in particular demand at the time.  
Dual striking machine for coins

The Korean government purchased two Taylor & Challen coining presses (left), and two Hordern, Mason & Edwards coining presses (right) in March 1966 for the manufacture of South Korea's new won coins.   The Taylor & Challen device was a toggle-type machine press developed in the late 19th century to the early 20th century for the minting of coins.   It was a further development of the Uhlhorn (1817) and Thonnelier (1830) coining-press mechanisms that utilized a toggle (based on a “knee” or “knuckle” action) to efficiently strike coins at a rapid rate while at the same time inserting a coin blank and ejecting a struck piece.   The Hordern, Mason & Edwards press dated from the 1950s and was a further development of the Greenwood & Batley design which placed the toggle mechanism below the striking area of the dies in order to overcome the problem of lubricant spillage from the knuckle-action mechanism onto the feed table.   The frame of the press was made of a strong, but much lighter steel construction than the Taylor & Challen press.   The entire frame reciprocated vertically against springs, providing for longer life of the coining dies due to its elasticity.   This coining press also utilized a new rotary feed-plate mechanism that fed the coin blanks into the press more rapidly.
A 1964 study conducted by the Bank of Korea noted that by relying on the revalued 10-Hwan coin and the British-made One-Won banknotes (and possibly having to reorder more notes from Britain in the near future), the Bank would simply not have enough of the One-Won denomination to meet the growing demand.

    In 1965, the Korean government considered scrapping hundred of millions of the old 100-Hwan cupro-nickel coins (approximately 315 metric tons of the original 50,000,000 coins that were minted) for sale to Japan and using the proceeds to purchase 40 million brass coin blanks and 10 million bronze coin blanks from overseas and then use these blanks to locally manufacture new One-Won and Five-Won coins.   The government likewise considered scrapping the remaining 290 million hwan coins and using the proceeds from that sale to purchase the coining machinery and other equipment necessary to outfit a newly-constructed coin mint.   Since they felt that the domestic production of coins would better ensure that there would be enough currency for the nation´s needs, the Korean government chose to move ahead with the construction of a new mint, although they decided not to import the coin blanks from overseas.   Instead the mint would rely on local industries to manufacture the coining metal that was needed.

The Busan, Dongnae coin mint opens on December 30, 1966.

Mint technicians operate some of South Korea's British-made HME (Hordern Mason & Edwards) "Coinmaster 2" coining presses. With these newly imported presses and other minting equipment, the Korean Mint's Dongnae facility near Busan officially opened on December 30, 1966. Production of the new One-Won, Five-Won and 10-Won coins began on August 16, 1966, four months prior to the official opening of the Dongnae Mint.
On November 11, 1965, the government approved the construction of a new coin-minting facility in Dongnae county, near the port city of Busan at the site of an old banknote printing facility.   To equip the new mint, the government purchased at auction two British-made Taylor & Challen coining presses, two Hordern Mason & Edwards coining presses and related coining equipment at a price of $230,000 USD in March 1966.   As the minting authority did not possess the equipment necessary to manufacture the master dies and coining dies, the Korean government contracted with the British private mint, John Pinches, to make the dies and collars to strike the new One-Won, Five-Won and 10-Won coins.   The Koreans also enlisted technicians from Cincinnati Milacron Company in the USA to help them install their minting equipment at their new facility.   Months before the official opening of the mint on December 30th, the facility had already begun producing the the new coins, starting on August 16, 1966.

One-Won Coin

First Series (1966 - 1967)   Catalog numbers: KM# 4 / DaeGwang-sa 19-6
First series.

The first series of the One-Won coin (1966-1967) weighs 1.70 grams, the composition is 60% copper, 40% zinc. It has a diameter of 17.2mm with a plain edge, and has a thickness of 1.13mm.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
Die trial coin.

This One-Won pattern coin, probably struck for the Korean government by John Pinches of London, features the 7th century Chomseongdae astronomical observatory. These coins were made in various ratios of copper and zinc in both 1965 and 1966. As only handfuls were made, these coins are quite rare.
The design for the One-Won coin was the work of Kang Bak, South Korea’s chief currency designer of the 1960s and 1970s.   With help from fellow design team members, Oh Dong-hwan and Jo Byung-soo, he drafted several preliminary designs of various Korean themes.   A few One-Won die trial coins of different copper-zinc compositions were also struck in 1965 and 1966:  Some featuring rice stalks, the national flower, or the 7th century Silla-Dynasty Chomseongdae astronomical observatory.   The final chosen obverse design, one that also appeared in the first design sketches and die trials, was a depiction of the unofficial national flower, a Korean variety of the Rose of Sharon flower, known as the Mugunghwa.   The new One-Won coin was initially struck in a brass composition of 60% copper, 40% zinc, and a total of 7,000,000 of the coins were produced in 1966.

Second Series (1968 - 1982)   Catalog numbers: KM# 4a / DaeGwang-sa 19-6A
Second series.

The second series of the One-Won coin (1968-1982) was changed to a 100% aluminum composition that weighs .729 grams with a thickness of 1.39mm.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
The first series of brass coins were minted only in the first two years of the coin’s production (1966, 1967), due to the rising price of copper.   In the late 1960s, demand generated by the Vietnam War, alongside a series of labor strikes at both the Kennecott and the Calumet & Hecla copper mines in the USA (costing copper producers about $560 million USD in lost sales) had resulted in a sharp increase in copper prices on the international and regional markets.   A study initiated by the Bank of Korea in September 1967 noted that the One-Won coin cost 2.74 won per unit to produce, while production costs were projected to rise 20% in 1968, making each brass One-Won coin cost 3.28 won per unit.   Following the lead of other countries, the government decided to begin minting the coin in 100% aluminum, with a planned start date of January 4, 1968, but this was delayed until August 26th.   This change in metal composition would result in a per-unit savings of .92 won, which was still .82 won above the face value of the coin.   Probably because of this and other factors, the mint took a three-year break in the production of the One-Won coin, from 1971 to 1973.   Production picked up again in 1974, and in 1976, the One-Won coin was the only coin minted in South Korea.

Third Series (1983 - Date)   Catalog numbers: KM# 31 / DaeGwang-sa 19-6B
Second series.

The third series of the One-Won coin, minted since 1983, retains the specifications of the second series, except for a modification of the basic design.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
A modification to the basic design took place on January 15, 1983, after all five of the circulating coins were redesigned to match the design scheme of the newly introduced 500-Won coin.   The design modification was slight, with the most notable change being the removal of the English words, "THE BANK OF KOREA" on the reverse of the coin.   By at least the early 1980s, demand for the One-Won coin declined, and it soon disappeared from regular circulation due to inflation that priced goods and services above single-Won increments.   Despite the fact that it was no longer in regular use, the Korean government authorized regular strikes of the One-Won coin almost every year from 1983 to 1991.   After a four-year halt in production, the One-Won went back into very limited production starting in 1995 for sale to collectors in Bank of Korea six-coin mint sets.

Five-Won Coin

First Series (1966 -1970)   Catalog numbers: KM# 5 / DaeGwang-sa 19-5
First series.

The first series of the Five-Won coin (1966-1970) weighs 3.09 grams, the composition is 88% copper, 12% zinc. It has a diameter of 20.40mm with a plain edge, and has a thickness of 1.39mm.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
Die trial.

Five-Won pattern coin. This particular one features an ear of rice on the obverse.
The preliminary design sketches and pattern coins for the Five-Won coin featured various Korean natural and architectural themes, but it was decided that the final design would retain the turtle boat design from the old 50-Hwan coin.   The obverse design of the Five-Won coin was the work of South Korea’s main currency designer, Kang Bak.   With help from fellow design team members Oh Dong-hwan and Jo Byung-soo, Mr. Kang drafted an image of Korean Admiral Yi Soon-sin’s Turtle Ship, a warship that participated in numerous victories against Japanese naval forces during the Imjin War of 1592-1598.   The Korean mint began production of the Five-Won coin on August 16, 1966, releasing a total of 4,500,000 of the coins for that year.   The Five-Won coin had an initial composition of 88% copper, 12% zinc from 1966 to mid-1970.

Second Series (1970 - 1982)   Catalog numbers: KM# 5a / DaeGwang-sa 19-5
5 Won preliminary design.

A design considered for the Five-Won coin.
Second series.

The second series of Five-Won coin (mid-1970 to 1982) was changed to a 65% copper, 35% zinc composition.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
In the face of rising metal prices that were estimated to make each Five-Won coin cost 5.05 won to produce by 1968, the Korean government authorized a change to the coin’s composition.   On July 16, 1970, halfway through the 1970 production-year, the coin began to be produced in a lowered copper ratio of 65% copper, 35% zinc.   Not long after, production of the Five-Won coin was stopped for four years from 1973 to 1976; the longest production halt for any of South Korea’s coins up to that time.

Third Series (1983 - Date)   Catalog numbers: KM# 32 / DaeGwang-sa 19-5A
Third series.

The third series of the Five-Won coin, minted since 1983, retains the specifications of the second series, except for its lighter weight of 2.95 grams and its slight design modification.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
The Five-Won coin received a design modification after the Bank of Korea decided to standardize the appearance of all five of its circulating coins to correspond to the design of the newly introduced 500 Won coin.   In the new design, the turtle boat appears larger and in the center of the obverse, while the English words "THE BANK OF KOREA" were removed from the reverse of the coin.   One of the designers of the 1966 design of the Five-Won coin, Jo Byung-soo, openly criticized the 1983 design as unnatural and poorly engraved, making the coin appear as one from a "backward" country.   In any case, by the mid-1980s the Five-Won coin started to disappear from regular use, as goods and services in Korea were no longer being priced in increments of five won or less, due to inflation.   Even though it was effectively no longer in circulation, the Korean government authorized yearly regular strikes of the Five-Won coin from 1987 to 1991.   After another four-year halt, the Five-Won went back into production in 1995 and has since been minted only in the tens of thousands, appearing in Bank of Korea mint sets for sale to collectors.   The 1999 Five-Won coin is the lowest mintage of the Five-Won coin at only 10,000, of which 8,000 appear in the 1999 Bank of Korea mint set.

10-Won Coin

First Series (1966 - 1970)   Catalog numbers: KM# 6 / DaeGwang-sa 19-4
First series

The first series of the 10-Won coin (1966-1970) weighs 4.09 grams, and the composition is 88% copper, 12% zinc. It has a diameter of 22.86mm with a plain edge, and has a thickness of 1.60mm.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
Die trial

10-won pattern coins were struck in 1965 and 1966. This one features the Kyonghoe-ru Pavillion that stands in the Kyongbok Palace in Seoul. This particular pattern coin is incredibly rare.

The first hint of a new 10-Won coin came in the form of a handful of die-trial coins, struck in 1965 and 1966 of various brass and bronze compositions, with designs such as the 7th Century Silla Dynasty Chomsongdae astronomical observatory, or the early 15th Century Kyonghoe-ru Pavilion on their obverses.   For the final design of the obverse of the 10-Won coin, the South Korean Mint’s lead currency designer, Kang Bak, along with fellow design-team members Oh Dong-hwan and Jo Byung-soo drafted an image of the 8th-Century Dabo Pagoda.   Dabo Pagoda stands in Bulguk Temple, the most well-known Buddhist temple in Korea.   The uniquely ornate Dabo Pagoda was a novel design for South Korean coinage at the time, as the other two new coins, the One-Won and Five-Won, would maintain the same design themes from the old 10-Hwan and 50-Hwan coins.  
Counting coins/10 Won coin bag.

New 10-Won coins being run through a coin-counter at a bank in Seoul (circa 1977) and a Korean Mint 10-Won coin bag from 1967 (inset).   (Click on image to view a larger version)

The new 10-Won was struck in 88% copper, 12% zinc, and the Bank of Korea released this bronze 10 Won coin on August 16, 1966, with an initial mintage of 10,600,000 for that year.

Second Series (1970 - 1982)   Catalog numbers: KM# 6a / DaeGwang-sa 19-4
Second series.

The second series (1970-1982) changed to a 65% copper, 35% zinc composition.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
During the time that the Korean Mint produced the 10-Won coin in the initial 88% copper, 12% zinc “bronze” composition, the Bank of Korea came to realize that production costs were inching closer to the face value of the coin, mostly due to a rise in the price of copper.   The total production price for the coin in 1967 was 5.07 won per unit, and the Bank estimated that the per-unit production cost for the following year would increase by about 20%.   In response, the Korean government approved a proposed change to the metal composition of both the Five-Won and 10-Won coins on April 20, 1970.   By July 14th, the Mint officially changed the composition of the coining metal being used from the initial “bronze” composition to a 65% copper, 35% zinc “brass” composition.   The cost savings would result from the 13% reduction in the copper being used for each coin.   The new brass composition coins were indistinguishable from the first series of bronze coins in size, weight and design, aside from a slight change in color tone.

Third Series (1983 - 2006)   Catalog numbers: KM# 33.1 and 33.2 / DaeGwang-sa 19-4A
Satin proof.

From 2000 to 2004, the Bank of Korea issued limited edition versions of their mint sets that feature reverse proof coins (also referred to as "satin proof" or "matte" proof coins). Intended as gifts for foreign visitors to the South Korean Mint's facilities, only a few thousand each of these sets were produced. Here is a 2004 satin proof 10 Won coin.
Third series.

The third series (1983 to mid-2006) retained the specifications of the second series, but underwent a modification of the basic design.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
With the introduction of the 500-Won coin in 1982, the Bank of Korea decided to revamp the designs of the other five circulating coins to correspond to the design pattern of the new 500-Won coin.   The newly standardized coins were released on January 15, 1983.   The design of the 10-Won coin went through a significant change with the removal of the English words, “THE BANK OF KOREA” on the reverse, and a more simplified design on the obverse with the Dabo Pagoda presented at a slight angle, making for more of a three-dimensional image.   The design changes were meant to be an upgrade of the original design, but some in Korea have criticized the change as a weakening of the overall appearance of the coin.   An addition to the obverse design was the inclusion of a small stone lion statue that actually sits between the main pillars at the top of the west side stairway of the Dabo Pagoda.   This new design feature sparked a persistent (and false) rumor in Korea in the 1980s that supporters of a particular candidate for president in the next election had the lion statue added to the coin to somehow increase that candidate’s chances of winning.

Fourth Series (2006 - Date)   Catalog numbers: KM# 103 / DaeGwang-sa 19-4B
How people have been using the copper-based 10 Won coins.

People have been using the copper-based 10-Won coin as the material for making accessories such as cut pendants, necklaces and cuff-links. As the price of copper rises, people in Korea have also been privately melting large hoards of the expensive coins for their copper content.
Fourth series.

The fourth series of the 10-Won coin, minted since 2006, weighs 1.22 grams, is 18mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick. It is composed of copper-coated aluminum (52% aluminum, 48% copper). Here it is shown on the right, being compared to the previous brass version.
In 2006, the 10-Won coin changed for a third time in both size and metal composition.   Rising production costs had far outpaced the face value of the coin by 2005, making each 10-Won coin cost 38 won to produce.   In order to reduce the 10-Won's production costs, the Korean Mint shrunk the coin down to 18 millimeters in diameter, and changed the composition to 52% aluminum, 48% copper.   This new coin was released on December 18, 2006, with an initial mintage of 109,200,000.   The South Korean Mint, Komsco, claims that the switch to the copper-clad aluminum composition has saved the Bank of Korea millions of dollars annually since its introduction.   In making this change to the 10-Won coin, Komsco was also responding to trends in which people had started privately melting 10-Won coins into ingots (which was not illegal in Korea until 2011) as copper prices spiked, or were turning the coins into jewelry and other trinkets for sale.   In 2011, Korean lawmakers made the melting-down of coins, or otherwise damaging coins, a crime punishable by up to a three-year prison sentence, or with a fine equivalent to $30,000 USD.   Despite its 2006 make-over, the new 10-Won coin’s per-unit production cost in 2014 was well over 22 won, if factoring in all manufacturing and distributing costs.   Also adding to the burden of maintaining the use of the low-value 10-Won coin in the currency system is its low collection rate of 3.7% (in 2014), which means that when 100 of the coins are issued into the market, less than four are recovered by the Bank of Korea.

Despite the changes made to the 10-Won coin over the years, it has remained in continuous use longer than any other South Korean coin.

100-Won Coin

First Series (1970 - 1982)   Catalog numbers: KM# 9 / DaeGwang-sa 19-2
First series.

A 100-Won coin (on the left) being compared to a US Quarter Dollar. The US Quarter is a clad copper-nickel coin (a layer of copper sandwiched between two layers of cupro-nickel alloy), as evidenced by the copper color of the edge of the coin. The 100-Won is not a clad coin, instead composed of solid cupro-nickel alloy.
Fourth series.

The first series of 100-Won coin (1970-1982) weighs 5.42 grams and the composition is 75% copper, and 25% nickel. It has a diameter of 24mm, the exact same diameter as the US Quarter Dollar, with a reeded edge of 110 crenellations. It has a thickness of 1.40mm (+0.02, -0.01).   (Click on picture to view larger image)
In an effort to make Korean currency more convenient to use, and as an attempt to reduce currency production costs, the government of the Republic of Korea approved the production of the 100-Won coin on April 3, 1970.   Being the fourth in the “Won”-denominated series of coins issued since 1966, the coin was meant to replace the 100-Won banknote.   The new 100-Won coin was to be an important part of a planned currency restructuring in which larger denomination banknotes would be introduced and coins would substitute for the smaller denomination banknotes.   On August 20, 1970, the Korean government’s Monetary Policy Committee announced the approved design for the new 100-Won coin; a design that they hoped would help prevent counterfeiting and also give the coin a dignified appearance.  
100 Won preliminary design.

Two sketches that were considered during the design phase of the 100-Won coin. The image of King Sejong the Great (left) is quite similar to the one that is featured on the then circulating 100-Won banknote (Pick 38).
The obverse of the coin features an image of the renowned 16th-Century Chosun Dynasty naval commander, Admiral Yi Soon-sin, based on an official portrait painted by Kang Woo-sung in 1952.   On the reverse, an arabesque design surrounds the denomination numeral and year of production.   The Korean minting authority’s lead currency designer, Kang Bak, drafted the design for the coin's reverse, while junior designer, Park Kang-jeong ( 朴康靖 ) drafted the image of Admiral Yi for the coin's obverse.

The previous three “Won” coins issued since 1966 included the English words, “THE BANK OF KOREA” on their reverses, and this was likewise considered for inclusion on the reverse of the 100-Won coin in the design team’s alternative drafts.   As it turned out, the final design featured Korean alphabetic lettering only, and it was the first South Korean coin design to do so since 1945.

Reducing machine.

Until the late 1970s, the Korean mint did not possess equipment necessary to manufacture master dies. To make a master die, a reducing lathe called a pantograph (seen here) is used to engrave the face of a master die (on the left) from the larger plaster disc (on the right) that is created by the mint's design and engraving team. Take a look at this recent video of the South Korean mint (Komsco) using a state-of-the-art reducing lathe to manufacture master dies, which they then use to make the coining dies.
At the time, the Korean minting authority did not have available such equipment as a pantograph to manufacture the master dies, so this work was contracted out to the Osaka Mint in Japan.   Using these imported master dies, the Korean mint was able to make the coining dies.   The mint contracted with domestic manufacturers Poongsan Metals to manufacture the rolled sheets of cupro-nickel coining metal, and Ilsung Industries to punch the initial 2,400,000 coin blanks from this material.   The Bank of Korea released the 100-Won cupro-nickel coin into circulation on November 30, 1970, with an initial production of 1,500,000 coins for that year.

The Bank of Korea planned to manufacture and release the 100-Won coin concurrently with the 50-Won coin in 1970.   The plan included using the same cupro-nickel composition for both coins.   However, after more careful review, the Bank decided to focus production efforts and material expenses on the 100-Won coin first, and to delay the release of the 50-Won until a few years later.   The concern toward production expenses stemmed from the Bank’s previous experience in having a large number of costly cupro-nickel coins manufactured for regular circulation by the US Mint in Philadelphia, only to have the currency, the hwan, demonetized just three years later in the 1962 currency reform.  
Lotus design.

A detail of the arabesque design on the reverse of the 100-Won coin minted from 1970 to 1982. This design feature, partly intended to help prevent counterfeiting, was removed from the design of the second series coin minted since 1983.
This left the Korean government with hundreds of tons of the cupro-nickel 100-Hwan coins that had been revalued to one-tenth of their original face value.   These coins were soon withdrawn from circulation and melted.   Eight years later, the Korean minting authority utilized the material from these old 100-Hwan coins to manufacture the rolled plate-metal for the coin blanks that became the new 100-Won coins.

Approximately 315 metric tons of this metal was used, and the mint spent an estimated 280,000,000 Won (around $900,000 USD) in production costs, making each 100-Won coin cost around 14 won to manufacture:   A much cheaper price than the estimated 30 won per unit if the Koreans had imported the coining metal from overseas.

In any event, the 100-Won coin did not meet the initial expectation of reducing production costs.   In fact, it only cost the mint 1.66 won per unit to manufacture the older 100-Won banknotes compared to the coin’s 14 won per unit cost, and that price would only increase over the years to 58 won by 1998.   Another problem was the extremely low mintage (1.5 million in 1970, and 13 million in 1971) compared to the public demand for this denomination of currency.   As the minting authority was not able to produce larger quantities of the new coin in these first few years, the number of these coins in circulation was nowhere near the amount required to replace the banknotes.   In response to this problem, the Bank of Korea decided to embark upon a test project in a limited market area, in which the 100-Won coin could completely replace the old banknotes.   In 1972, Jeju Island was chosen for this test area. After monitoring its success on Jeju, and with increased production of the 100-Won coin in the following years, the project of substituting the banknotes for coins was expanded to the rest of country in 1974.   By 1980, the 100-Won banknote was officially withdrawn from circulation.

Second Series (1983 - Date)   Catalog numbers: KM# 35.1 and 35.2 / DaeGwang-sa 19-2A
Second series.

The specifications for the second series, minted since 1983, are the same as the first except for a modification to the basic design and an increase in the thickness to 1.75mm. (Click on picture to view larger image)
In January 1982, the Bank of Korea made public its plans to modernize the nation’s currency with a design make over.   Along with the other four circulating coins, the design of the 100-Won coin was changed in order standardize its appearance with the design scheme of the newly introduced 500-Won coin.   The new design would also make the coins more easily accepted in vending machines.   The Bank of Korea released the newly redesigned set of coins on January 15, 1983.   Almost all of the design features of the first type of the 100-Won coin that was introduced in 1970 were retained, the only modifications being the placement of those features and a slight change in their appearance.   The only removal was the arabesque design on the reverse.   Noticeably, the image of Yi Soon-sin was changed, resembling more closely the portrait of the Admiral as painted by the artist Jang Woo-seon in 1975.   Those critical of the 1983 redesign have noted the shallower engraving of the new design, claiming that it gives the coin a weaker appearance than the older design, and an overall impression of lower quality.

50-Won Coin

First Series (1972 - 1982)   Catalog numbers: KM# 20 / DaeGwang-sa 19-3
First series.

The first series of the 50-Won coin weighs 4.16 grams (±0.12 grams), and the composition is 70% copper, 18% zinc, 12% nickel. It has a diameter of 21.60mm with a reeded edge of 109 crenellations, and a thickness of 1.32mm (+0.02, -0.01).   (Click on picture to view larger image)
The Bank of Korea introduced the 50-Won coin in 1972 as part of the Korean government’s planned currency restructuring that introduced both higher denomination banknotes and new coins that would replace the smaller denomination notes.   Producing and releasing the new 50-Won coin was also to be an important test of a new initiative to improve the mechanization of the country’s currency production process at the Korean Mint.   In preliminary planning, the 50-Won coin was to be produced and released along with the new 100-Won coin in 1970.   However, the government wanted to focus its efforts and material resources on getting the 100-Won coin underway first, so the introduction of the 50-Won was delayed by two years.   By July 1971, the Bank of Korea had issued a study on the specifications and production of the 50-Won coin, and had requested that the Korean minting authority prepare operations at the mint for an impending production start of the new coin.   As the 50-Won coin was to be South Korea’s entry in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (F.A.O.) “Money and Medals” program, the design team at the Korean Mint sketched out examples that featured rice and wheat.   The Mint’s principal currency designer, Kang Bak, drafted the obverse for the chosen design with help from fellow design-team member, Oh Dong-Hwan, while Jo Byung-soo was responsible for the reverse design.

Fifty won compared to Japanese coins with holes.

The 50-Won coin (on the left) was originally planned as a coin with a hole in the center, like the Japanese 50-Yen coin (far right) and Five-Yen coin (center). To differentiate the 50-Won's rice stalk design from the Japanese Five-Yen's rice stalk, the Koreans designed the 50-Won with two more kernels of rice than the Japanese coin.
The obverse design features a stylized image of an ear of rice.   To differentiate the 50-Won from the Japanese Five-Yen coin, which also features an ear of rice, the Korean designers drew twenty-nine kernels on the image of the rice stalk versus the Five-Yen coin’s twenty-seven kernels.   Similar to the 100-Won coin that preceded it, the 50 Won coin’s reverse design does not include the English words, “THE BANK OF KOREA.” At 21.6 millimeters in diameter, the 50-Won coin was designed to be 20% smaller than the 100-Won, but still larger than the Five-Won.   Purposefully creating a challenge for the mechanical tolerances of the Korean mint’s production process, the reeded edge of the coin was to be made with 109 crenellations;  a subtle difference that is one fewer than the 110 crenellations of the 100-Won coin.   Initially, the 50-Won coin was planned as an annular coin, much like the contemporary Japanese 50-Yen coin.   However, the idea was scrapped as the Korean Mint did not have the minting technology at the time to produce such coins, and so the coin was produced as an ordinary won-hyeong (round type) coin.   The new coin was also to be made in the same cupro-nickel composition as the 100-Won coin, but it was changed to a cheaper, but still highly durable 70% copper, 18% zinc, 12% nickel composition.   The mint contracted with Ilsung industries to manufacture the coining metal in 86 X 1500 millimeter sheets that the mint would use to punch the coin blanks.   On March 31, 1972, the Korean government approved the final design and production plans for the 50-Won coin, and like they had for the 100-Won coin, the government informed the minting authority to request the master dies from the Osaka Mint in Japan.   Both the Korean Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Policy Committee issued their approval for the introduction of the coin by November of that year, and soon the public was notified of the impending currency change from the 50-Won note to the new coin.   Production was planned to start on August 15th, but having to import the master dies from Japan created a delay in the start date, which took place on December 1, 1972.

Second Series (1983 - Date)   Catalog numbers: KM# 34 / DaeGwang-sa 19-3A
Second series.

The second series, minted since 1983, retains most of the specifications of the first series, except for an increase in the coin’s thickness, to 1.60mm, and a slight modification of its design.   (Click on picture to view larger image)
Production of the first series of 50-Won coin ran for a decade until the 1982 introduction of the new 500-Won coin, which sparked a complete redesign of all five of South Korea’s circulating coins.   The second series of the 50-Won coin was introduced on January 15, 1983.   Although conforming to the design scheme of the new 500-Won coin, the new 50-Won coin’s design was not a big change from the previous one.   However, former currency designer, Jo Byung-soo, has criticized the second series’ rice-stalk design as an “unnatural” depiction, and as an overall lowering of the quality of the image.

500-Won Coin

(1982 - Date)   Catalog numbers: KM# 27 / DaeGwang-sa 19-1
First series.

The 500-Won coin (1982-present) weighs 7.70 grams (±0.23) and the composition is 75% copper (±1%), and 25% nickel (±1%). It has a diameter of 26.50 millimeters (±0.07) with a reeded edge of 120 crenellations. It has a thickness of 1.92 millimeters.   (Click on picture to view a larger image)

The 500-Won coin was the last of six coins that were introduced during a two-decade period of banknote-to-coin currency conversion in the Republic of Korea.   As larger denomination banknotes were introduced in the 1970s, and as the first and second series of coins were finally starting to phase out the banknotes they were meant to replace, the 500-Won became the lowest denomination banknote in the currency system.   As Korea’s economy expanded and inflation set in, the 500-Won note also came under consideration for replacement with a coin.   Other factors were considered, such as the increasing popularity of vending machine use, and the obvious advantages in cost savings by utilizing more durable, longer-lasting coins versus the constant reprinting of heavily used banknotes.   As a result, on January 21, 1982, the Korean government’s Monetary Policy Committee decided on the introduction of a new 500-Won coin, one that would be made of the same durable cupro-nickel composition as the 100-Won coin, but 2.5 millimeters larger in diameter.


Two preliminary design sketches for the 500-Won coin featuring a Silla-Dynasty era stoneware funerary vessel, and the famous "Emile" bell that stands in the Gyeongju National Museum.
By 1982, Korea’s long-standing coin design triumvirate of Kang Bak, Oh Dong-hwan and Jo Byung-soo had dissolved:   Jo Byung-soo left in 1973 to join the Bank of Korea’s banknote design department, while lead designer Kang Bak died in 1981 at the age of 53.   Only Oh Dong-hwan remained on the design team as a senior designer alongside a group of newer designers who had joined the team as the Korean Mint expanded its workforce in the 1970s and 1980s.   It was this new design team that drafted several different preliminary designs based on various Korean themes for the new 500-Won coin.   Among the obverse designs considered were images of Silla-Dynasty era stoneware vessels, decorative roof tiles, the large cast-iron bell of King Seongdeok, the Korean national flower, and an image of King Sejong the Great.   Many more idea sketches were produced during the design phase of this new coin than any previous circulation coin.  

Some of the other idea sketches for the 500-Won coin's obverse design.
The final chosen obverse design was an unprecedented one for Korean coinage:   It features a crane with open wings, rising in mid-flight, with the outstretched head and legs of the bird creating a left-to-right diagonal line across the face of the coin, suggestive of forward rising movement.   Representing longevity, the ascending crane image was meant to be symbolic of long-term prosperity for the Korean nation.   The 500-Won coin went into production on June 12, 1982 with an initial mintage of 15,000,000 for that year.

Coin production

The 500-Won coin being produced at the Korean mint.
The 500-Won coin was also the very first South Korean coin made for regular circulation that utilized domestically-produced master dies, whereas the master dies of the other five previously-released coins were manufactured in Britain (1966) and in Japan (1970, 1972).   The introduction of this coin also brought about higher standards for quality at the Korean Mint, including close inspection of seventeen items of coin specifications, random sampling for quality control, and tighter measurement tolerances for the new coin.   When the Bank of Korea announced the introduction of the 500-Won coin in January 1982, they also made public their plan to replace the three different design schemes for the country’s other circulating coins.   The new 500-Won coin’s design scheme would serve as the template to redesign the One-Won, Five-Won, 10-Won, 50-Won and 100-Won coins.   The obverse design themes would be maintained, but modified, and the lettering and denomination numerals would be readjusted to match the 500-Won coin’s design, including the removal of the English words, “THE BANK OF KOREA.”   These newly redesigned coins were released on January 15, 1983.   After thirteen years of annual production in the millions, cost-saving measures at the Mint due to the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s severely curtailed production of the 500-Won coin in 1998:   Only eight thousand 500-Won coins were produced, appearing exclusively in 1998 Bank of Korea mint sets.


A Korean comic poking fun at the 500-Yen counterfeiters.
Real 500-Yen coin, and 500-Won slug

This South Korean 500-Won coin (right), has been altered by drilling into the surface of the coin in order to approximate the weight of a Japanese 500-Yen coin (left) for illegal use in vending machines in Japan.
The 500-Won coin is approximately one-tenth of the value of the 500-Yen coin. Due to the close geographic proximity of the two countries, the 500-Won coin was involved in the counterfeiting efforts of Japanese criminals.

The 500-Won coin was released in the same year that the 500-Yen coin was introduced in neighboring Japan.   Both coins were the exact same size (26.5mm) and of the same cupro-nickel composition, the only difference being that the 500-Won coin was .48 grams heavier.   Soon, counterfeiters figured out that they could easily modify the 500-Won coin by drilling or scraping off its surface to equal the exact weight of the 500-Yen coin.   As the 500-Won coin was roughly one-tenth the value of the 500-Yen coin, a profit could be produced by inserting these modified Korean coins into Japanese vending machines and then pushing the coin-return button to steal “returned” (and very real) 500-Yen coins.   Japanese police seized around 820,000 modified 500-Won coins in 1999, and in the following year an additional 600,000 were discovered by Korean police prior to their illegal export to Japan.   These counterfeiting efforts forced the Japanese mint to modify the weight and design of its 500-Yen coin in August 2000.

The design of the 500-Won coin received scathing criticism from former coin designer, Jo Byung-soo.   He believed that the research behind the design was poorly done, as the features of the crane depicted on the obverse do not match the species of Manchurian Crane that it is supposed to be.   He also questioned the choice of this generic crane for the obverse design, citing the many other Korean-themed design options that were available, and further insinuated that the idea of featuring a crane on the coin was taken from two versions of the Japanese 1,000-Yen banknote, which also featured cranes.

Known Die Varieties of Korean Won Coins

There is not a lot of easily accessible information about South Korean die varieties.   The yearly issues of Krause Publications’ Standard Catalog of World Coins lists 50-Won and 100-Won die varieties, but the book does not further explain these varieties.   The Korean Daegwangsa coin catalog does not even include much information about die varieties.   The Krause catalog also does not mention a few varieties that are known to numismatists in Korea.

5 Won varieties

Five-Won Die Variety (1969)   The Krause Catalog does not mention this variety of the 1969 Five-Won coin.   The intervals between the numerals have wider spacing on one variety versus another.   Perhaps these are examples of "Wide Date" and "Narrow Date" varieties?

1977 Doubled Die Variety

1977 100-Won Doubled Die   Korean numismatists have found at least one example of a doubled die variety. This coins’ doubling was obviously the result of a misaligned hubbing in the making of the master die, and not from loose parts in the coining press (which results in “machine doubling”).   The “notching” that is requisite for a true doubled die is clearly visible in the 백 character, but also in all of the characters in the legend, 한국은행.

1980 100 won variety” vspace= Catalog varieties

100-Won Die Varieties (1974, 1975, 1980)
The Krause Catalog mentions die varieties of 100-Won coins minted in 1974 and 1975.   The author has not discovered what these die varieties are, and the people behind the Standard Catalog of World Coins do not explain the claims in their catalogue.   However, there are 100-Won coins minted in the 1970s that exhibit a lower-relief "7" compared to the other numerals in the date; perhaps this “soft seven” is a die variety?

Korean numismatists also mention 1980 die varieties involving the strike depth of the hat-band immediately above Admiral Lee´s forehead.

50 Won Varieties?

The Krause Catalog also mentions die varieties in existence for the 50-Won coin, KM# 34 (Korean DaeGwangSa catalog ID: 19-3A).   These coins are the 1983 and later-dated 50-Won coins.   Again, the author is not aware of these varieties, but will post that information if and when it comes to light.

50 Won Varieties?  Catalog varieties

10 Won Varieties The Krause Catalog gives a separate catalog identifier (KM# 33.2) to 10-Won varieties of the 1991, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 coins.   The Daegwangsa catalog and most Korean numismatists don't distinguish a separate variety.   Krause explains the reasoning for this variety in four words: "Thick numbers in denomination", or as the 39th edition of the catalog says: "Thicker value below date".   The author of this article is dubious.   The readers can take a look at the images here and judge for themselves.

Rotated Die Errors
Korean numismatists have also noted three major rotated die errors:  1987-dated 10-Won coins;  1998-dated 50-Won coins;  and 2010-dated 500-Won coins.   While normally struck in "coin alignment," South Korean coins with this error can exhibit rotation of only a few degrees to a full 180-degree rotation.

South Korea's Coin Designers

Kang Bak (강 박).

Kang Bak ( 강 박 / 姜 博 ) was the principal designer of many of South Korea’s banknotes and coins during an important two-decade period in Korea’s currency history.   The designs of the first Korean-made circulation coins (1966), including the 100-Won coin (1970) and 50-Won coin (1972), are mostly the result of his work.   Mr. Kang started with the Korean Mint in the late 1950s, designing many of South Korea’s postage stamps, government bonds and Christmas and Easter seals.   His work can also be seen on the late-series Hwan banknotes and the first Won notes of the early 1960s.   He was a graduate of Seoul National University’s Engineering School, having majored in architecture.   He was the lead designer for Komsco’s currency design team in Seoul throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and had a hand in every commemorative coin design of the 1970s.   Diminutive in stature and of mild temperament, Mr. Kang suffered from poor health, which at one time required the partial removal of one of his lungs.   He was known for his love of cigarettes and coffee, and he got along well with his fellow designers.   He performed precise and detailed design work, but was criticized for not doing more to nurture the junior designers’ craft, instead doing much of the design work on projects by himself.   Near the end of his career, he was replaced as design-team leader by a government appointee who had a background in the Korean army, but not in design.   Within a few years of his replacement, Mr Kang passed away in 1981 at the age of 53.

Jo Byung-soo (조병수).

Jo Byung-soo ( 조병수 / 曺秉須 ) is a graduate of Seoul National Univerity’s Art College, having majored in Applied Arts, and later attended Graduate School at Hanyang University in Seoul.   He was among the second group of artists that the Korean Mint hired in 1965 as it began expanding its operations to include the production of new domestically-produced banknotes and coins.   He landed the job on his own merits through the formal hiring process; not the easiest of feats in Korea in the 1960s, where finding such work often depended on one’s personal connections as much as on one’s talent and skill.   Mr. Jo worked on the Mint’s design team during the production of the first Korean-produced coins (1966) and helped design the 100-Won and 50-Won coins (1970-1972), as well as helping to design the gold and silver coins that were produced in 1970 to commemorate 5,000 years of Korean history.   In 1973, he left the coin design team to become a researcher and designer for the Bank of Korea, helping to produce the images on the 1970s series of the 10,000-Won, 5,000-Won and 500-Won banknotes.   He would later return to the coin design team to work on the designs of the 30th Anniversary of Liberation commemorative 100-Won coin in 1975, the 1978 Shooting Championships commemoratives, and to advise on the 24th Olympic Summer Games commemoratives.   During this time, Mr. Jo lectured at various universities’ design schools in Seoul, and after his mandatory retirement from the Korean Mint, worked as an adjunct lecturer at Hanyang University’s Design College in the 1990s.   He is credited with authoring three Korean-language books on currency design: The Story of Money (1995), Korean Commemorative Coins (2006), and Korean Banknotes (2010).

Oh Dong-hwan (오동환).

Oh Dong-hwan ( 오동환 / 吳東煥 ) graduated from Joongang University’s Art College, majoring in Applied Fine Arts.   Hired in the 1960s around the same time as his colleague, Jo Byung-soo, Mr. Oh was on the currency design team during the production of the first domestically-made coins in South Korea (1966).   He also participated in the designs of the 100-Won coin (1970), 50-Won coin (1972), and most of the rest of the commemoratives minted in the 1970s.   Known for his diligent personality, Mr. Oh had a uncommon talent for creating realistic, color depictions of plants and animals for stamps and banknotes.   After lead designer Kang Pak passed away in 1981, Mr. Oh was involved in most of the subsequent coin designs, including receiving credit as the main coin designer of many of the 24th Olympic Summer Games commemoratives.  

Mint State examples of every South Korean circulation coin, and Korean coin collector values

10-WON (collector prices in 2011)

(The KRW to USD exchange rate normally hovers around 1,000 Won = 1 USD)
Year Population Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
1966 10,600,000 ₩500,000 $175.00 ₩200,000 $75.00 ₩70,000 $1.50
1967 22,500,000 ₩350,000 $200.00 ₩180,000 $90.00 ₩50,000 $1.50
1968 35,000,000 ₩230,000 $75.00 ₩100,000 $35.00 ₩40,000 $1.50
1969 46,500,000 ₩900,000 $250.00 ₩300,000 $100.00 ₩120,000 $1.50
157,000,000 ₩1,400,000 $350.00 ₩700,000 $150.00 ₩350,000 $1.50
included above ₩300,000 $120.00 ₩110,000 $40.00 ₩50,000 $1.25
1971 220,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $0.50
1972 270,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $0.50
1973 30,000,000 ₩100,000 $30.00 ₩60,000 $15.00 ₩25,000 $0.35
1974 15,000,000 ₩12,000 $3.00 ₩8,000 $2.00 ₩4,000 $0.50
1975 20,000,000 ₩300,000 $150.00 ₩150,000 $45.00 ₩50,000 $0.50
1977 1,000,000 ₩3,000 $8.00 ₩2,000 $3.50 ₩1,000 $0.35
1978 80,000,000 ₩1,500 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.25 ₩1,000 $0.15
1979 200,000,000 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩700 $0.55 ₩500 $0.10
1980 150,000,000 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩700 $0.55 ₩500 $0.10
1981 100,000 ₩8,000 $10.00 ₩5,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $0.75
1982 20,000,000 ₩700 $1.10 ₩400 $0.60 ₩200 $0.10
1983 8,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1985 65,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1986 195,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1987 155,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1988 189,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1989 310,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1990 395,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1991 300,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩500 $0.35 ₩200 $0.10
1992 150,000,000 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,500 $1.00 ₩1,000 $0.50
1993 110,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $1.50 ₩1,000 $0.75
1994 300,000,000 ₩600 $0.50 ₩300 $0.35 ₩100 $0.10
1995 380,000,000 ₩600 $0.50 ₩300 $0.35 ₩100 $0.10
1996 290,000,000 ₩400 $0.50 ₩300 $0.35 ₩100 $0.10
1997 177,000,000 ₩400 $0.50 ₩300 $0.35 ₩100 $0.10
1998 65,000,000 ₩2,000 $0.50 ₩1,500 $0.35 ₩700 $0.10
1999 377,000,000 ₩1,000 $0.50 ₩700 $0.35 ₩500 $0.10
2000 335,000,000 ₩200 $0.50 ₩100 $0.35 ₩50 $0.10

FIVE-WON (collector prices in 2011)

(The KRW to USD exchange rate normally hovers around 1,000 Won = 1 USD)
Year Population Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
1966 4,500,000 ₩200,000 $100.00 ₩120,000 $50.00 ₩50,000 $1.50
1967 22,500,000 ₩350,000 $120.00 ₩180,000 $60.00 ₩50,000 $1.00
1968 20,500,000 ₩120,000 $60.00 ₩45,000 $30.00 ₩25,000 $1.00
1969 25,000,000 ₩40,000 $20.00 ₩15,000 $10.00 ₩10,000 $0.25
50,000,000 ₩60,000 $25.00 ₩30,000 $12.00 ₩15,000 $0.25
included above ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1971 64,000,000 ₩500 $0.50 ₩300 $0.25 ₩100 $---
1972 60,000,000 ₩500 $0.50 ₩300 $0.25 ₩100 $---
1977 1,000,000 ₩500 $0.50 ₩400 $0.65 ₩200 $0.10
1978 1,000,000 ₩500 $1.00 ₩300 $0.65 ₩200 $0.10
1979 1,000,000 ₩500 $1.00 ₩400 $0.65 ₩200 $0.10
1980 100,000 ₩2,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $2.25 ₩500 $0.50
1981 100,000 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.50 ₩500 $0.50
1982 100,000 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.50 ₩500 $0.50
1983 6,000,000 ₩200 $0.30 ₩100 $0.20 ₩50 $0.10
1987 1,000,000 ₩600 $0.60 ₩300 $0.30 ₩100 $0.10
1988 500,000 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.50
1989 500,000 ₩700 $0.70 ₩500 $0.50 ₩200 $0.20
1990 500,000 ₩700 $0.70 ₩500 $0.50 ₩200 $0.20
1991 500,000 ₩1,000 $0.30 ₩700 $0.20 ₩300 $0.10
1995 15,000 Online price (in NGC slab [MS-65]):
Online price (raw):
Mint set price
$0.30(?)* --- $0.20(?)* --- $0.10(?)*
1996 15,000 Online price:
(similar to above)
Mint set price
$0.30(?)* --- $0.20(?)* --- $0.10(?)*
1997 15,000 Online price:
(probably similar to above)
Mint set price
$0.30(?)* --- $0.20(?)* --- $0.10(?)*
1999 10,000 Online price:
(probably similar to above)
Mint set price
(but actually sold for much less in 2011)
$0.30(?)* --- $0.20(?)* --- $0.10(?)*
2000 30,000 Online price:
(Probably similar to above)
Mint set price
(but actually sold for much less in 2011)
$0.30(?)* --- $0.20(?)* --- $0.10(?)*
*Krause prices clearly do not reflect market prices in this case.

ONE-WON (collector prices in 2011)

(The KRW to USD exchange rate normally hovers around 1,000 Won = 1 USD)
Year Population Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
7,000,000 ₩150,000 $20.00 ₩80,000 $9.00 ₩40,000 $2.00
1967 48,500,000 ₩7,000 $5.00 ₩4,000 $2.00 ₩3,000 $1.00
66,500,000 ₩30,000 $3.50 ₩15,000 $2.00 ₩7,000 $1.00
1969 85,000,000 ₩9,000 $3.00 ₩3,500 $1.00 ₩2,000 $0.50
1970 45,000,000 ₩5,000 $3.00 ₩1,500 $1.00 ₩1,000 $0.50
1974 12,000,000 ₩15,000 $6.00 ₩8,000 $3.00 ₩4,000 $1.00
1975 10,000,000 ₩9,000 $4.00 ₩4,000 $1.50 ₩3,000 $0.75
1976 20,000,000 ₩1,000 $1.75 ₩500 $1.00 ₩300 $0.20
1977 30,000,000 ₩500 $1.75 ₩300 $1.00 ₩200 $0.20
1978 30,000,000 ₩300 $0.30 ₩200 $0.20 ₩100 $0.10
1979 30,000,000 ₩300 $0.30 ₩200 $0.20 ₩100 $0.10
1980 20,000,000 ₩300 $0.30 ₩200 $0.20 ₩100 $0.10
1981 20,000,000 ₩300 $0.30 ₩200 $0.20 ₩100 $0.10
1982 30,000,000 ₩300 $0.30 ₩200 $0.20 ₩100 $0.10
1983 40,000,000 ₩200 $0.25 ₩150 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1984 20,000,000 ₩200 $0.25 ₩150 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1985 10,000,000 ₩300 $0.25 ₩200 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1987 10,000,000 ₩300 $0.25 ₩200 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1988 6,500,000 ₩300 $0.25 ₩200 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1989 10,000,000 ₩300 $0.25 ₩200 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1990 6,000,000 ₩300 $0.25 ₩200 $0.15 ₩100 $---
1991 5,000,000 ₩700 $0.50 ₩400 $0.25 ₩200 $0.15
1995 15,000 Online price (raw):
$0.25(?)* --- $0.15(?)* --- ---
1996 15,000 Online price (raw):
$0.25(?)* --- $0.15(?)* --- ---
1997 15,000 Online price:
(probably similar to above,
or higher)
$0.25(?)* --- $0.15(?)* --- ---
2000 30,000 Online price:
(Probably similar to above,
or higher)
$0.25(?)* --- $0.15(?)* --- ---
*Krause prices clearly do not reflect market prices in this case.

100-Won (collector prices in 2011)

(The KRW to USD exchange rate normally hovers around 1,000 Won = 1 USD)
Year Population Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
1970 1,500,000 ₩250,000 $70.00 ₩80,000 $30.00 ₩30,000 $15.00
1971 13,000,000 ₩200,000 $75.00 ₩100,000 $35.00 ₩40,000 $20.00
1972 20,000,000 ₩160,000 $75.00 ₩70,000 $35.00 ₩40,000 $20.00
1973 80,000,000 ₩18,000 $9.00 ₩10,000 $5.00 ₩6,000 $3.00
1974 50,000,000 ₩300,000 $120.00 ₩120,000 $50.00 ₩70,000 $20.00
1975 70,000,000 ₩28,000 $20.00 ₩20,000 $10.00 ₩14,000 $6.00
1977 30,000,000 ₩100,000 $35.00 ₩40,000 $12.00 ₩10,000 $5.00
1978 50,000,000 ₩12,000 $6.00 ₩8,000 $4.00 ₩5,000 $2.00
1979 130,000,000 ₩8,000 $4.00 ₩4,000 $2.50 ₩3,000 $1.50
1980 60,000,000 ₩20,000 $10.00 ₩10,000 $5.00 ₩8,000 $3.00
1981 100,000 ₩12,000 $6.00 ₩7,000 $4.00 ₩5,000 $2.00
1982 70,000,000 ₩5,000 $3.50 ₩3,000 $2.00 ₩2,000 $1.00
1983 130,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1984 40,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1985 16,000,000 ₩40,000 $40.00 ₩25,000 $25.00 ₩10,000 $10.00
1986 131,000,000 ₩5,000 $5.00 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $2.00
1987 170,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1988 298,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1989 250,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1990 185,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1991 400,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1992 425,000,000 ₩6,000 $6.00 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩3,000 $3.00
1993 185,000,000 ₩50,000 $25.00 ₩20,000 $10.00 ₩7,000 $7.00
1994 401,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
1995 228,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩100 $1.00
1996 290,000,000 ₩400 $0.50 ₩300 $0.35 ₩100 $0.10
1997 447,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,500 $1.50 ₩500 $0.50
1998 5,008,000 ₩35,000 $30.50 ₩10,000 $10.00 ₩5,000 $5.00
1999 332,000,000 ₩5,000 $5.00 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00
2000 423,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.50

50-Won (collector prices in 2011)

(The KRW to USD exchange rate normally hovers around 1,000 Won = 1 USD)
Year Population Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
1972 6,000,000 ₩300,000 $100.00 ₩160,000 $50.00 ₩50,000 $1.00
1973 40,000,000 ₩120,000 $50.00 ₩50,000 $20.00 ₩20,000 $25.00
1974 25,000,000 ₩4,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $1.50 ₩1,000 $0.25
1977 1,000,000 ₩5,000 $10.00 ₩2,000 $5.00 ₩1,000 $0.25
1978 15,000,000 ₩5,000 $5.00 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $0.25
1979 20,000,000 ₩5,000 $4.00 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $0.25
1980 10,000,000 ₩10,000 $10.00 ₩5,000 $5.00 ₩3,000 $0.20
1981 25,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $0.20
1982 40,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $0.20
1983 50,000,000 ₩2,500 $2.50 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1984 40,000,000 ₩2,500 $2.50 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1985 4,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $0.10
1987 32,000,000 ₩2,500 $2.50 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1988 53,000,000 ₩2,500 $2.50 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1989 70,000,000 ₩2,500 $2.50 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1990 85,000,000 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $2.00 ₩1,000 $0.10
1991 80,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1992 50,000,000 ₩8,000 $8.00 ₩4,000 $4.00 ₩2,000 $0.10
1993 5,000,000 ₩25,000 $45.00 ₩12,000 $25.00 ₩8,000 $0.10
1994 102,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1995 98,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1996 52,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1997 129,000,000 ₩3,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
1998 5,008,000 ₩10,000 $5.00 ₩5,000 $3.00 ₩2,000 $0.10
1999 15,000,000 ₩4,000 $3.00 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.10
2000 86,000,000 ₩1,000 $1.00 ₩500 $0.50 ₩300 $0.10

500-Won (collector prices in 2011)

(The KRW to USD exchange rate normally hovers around 1,000 Won = 1 USD)
Year Population Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
Korean Price
Krause Price
1982 15,000,000 ₩20,000 $8.00 ₩15,000 $3.75 ₩10,000 $1.00
1983 64,000,000 ₩25,000 $5.00 ₩16,000 $2.50 ₩10,000 $1.00
1984 70,000,000 ₩30,000 $5.00 ₩16,000 $2.50 ₩10,000 $1.00
1987 1,000,000 ₩230,000 $12.00 ₩100,000 $5.00 ₩50,000 $2.00
1988 27,000,000 ₩18,000 $5.00 ₩12,000 $2.50 ₩7,000 $1.00
1989 25,000,000 ₩75,000 $5.00 ₩35,000 $2.50 ₩15,000 $1.00
1990 60,000,000 ₩30,000 $5.00 ₩12,000 $2.50 ₩5,000 $1.00
1991 90,000,000 ₩30,000 $5.00 ₩12,000 $2.50 ₩5,000 $1.00
1992 105,000,000 ₩30,000 $5.00 ₩12,000 $2.50 ₩4,000 $1.00
1993 32,000,000 ₩30,000 $5.00 ₩12,000 $2.50 ₩8,000 $1.00
1994 50,600,000 ₩55,000 $5.00 ₩25,000 $2.50 ₩7,000 $1.00
1995 87,000,000 ₩10,000 $5.00 ₩5,000 $2.50 ₩3,000 $1.00
1996 122,000,000 ₩8,000 $5.00 ₩5,000 $2.50 ₩3,000 $1.00
1997 62,000,000 ₩8,000 $5.00 ₩4,000 $2.50 ₩2,000 $1.00
1998 8,000
mint set only
mint set price
--- --- --- Online price:
(graded AU-55 by NGC)
sold in 2011.
(graded MS-67 by NGC)
sold in 2012.
1999 22,000,000 ₩30,000 $3.00 ₩12,000 $1.00 ₩4,000 $0.10
2000 128,000,000 ₩4,000 $1.00 ₩2,000 $0.50 ₩1,000 $0.10
1998 500 Won coin.

This NGC certified 1998 500-Won coin sold for around $1,250.00 in 2012.

Type Set Collection

Research for this webpage by Mark Lovmo (2011)