"Shim-bi Tai-Kwan"

Yen to Dollar

Selected Relics of Japanese Art, 20 Volume Set
Photographs and Collotypes by K. Ogawa
Published by Shimbi Shoin
(Nippon Shimbi Kyokwai), 1899~1908

Value of 390 Yen
in 2004 Dollars

According to the Wenckstern bibliography of the Japanese Empire (Volume II), the entire set of 20 volumes was anticipated to sell for 390 yen in the regular edition format.

According to the 1901 edition of Murray's Hand-Book, Japan, the rate of exchange was 50¢ equaled 1 yen.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota has a web page with a consumer price index calculator that goes back to 1913. To visit that web page, click here. When you enter in the cost of $1.00 in goods in 1913 you get $18.90 in 2004 dollars.

Applying the CPI adjusted value of the 1913 dollar to the dollar cost of the set using the 1901 exchange rate, you get $3,402.00 (390 yen = $180 x 18.90) as the cost of the set reflected in 2004 dollars. This assumes the exchange rate remained stable during the 1899-1908 period and I believe that it did. Seems a little goofy but, without a doubt, one has to conclude this was a very expensive set when issued.

To return to the prior page use the back button on your browser or this index:

Index for Selected Relics of Japanese Art, 20 Volume Set
Page #1
Volumes 1-6

Page #2
Volumes 7-13

Page #3
Volumes 14-20

Covers Cases Statistics Woodblocks Descriptions

Available, Purchase Here

Shiiji Tajima (Editor)
Ogawa, K:
Selected Relics of Japanese Art, (20 Volume Set) Nippon Shimbi Kyokwai - Zenkyoan, Kenninji, Shimokyoku - (The Shimbi Shoin), Kyoto/Tokyo, 1899~1908, folio (19 x 13 in - 49 x 34 cm), 20 volumes, double folded leaves (collotypes), bound Japanese style, decorated stiff paper wraps, purple silk threads, two edges gilt (top & bottom), 987 plates (899 black and white collotypes (8 foldout) and 88 color woodcuts), approximately 1782+ pages in total. There is a two page English introduction by Ernest F. Fenollosa in Volume 1. The non-foldout collotype plates are on thin wove rice type paper which is folded over a sheet of thicker backing paper. The foldout collotype plates are on thick paper. Woodcut plates are on thick paper. Each plate (or unit of plates when similar plates were grouped together by the editor) is protected by a tissue guard with text in English and Japanese which describes the art and artist and the source/location of the relic. The art in the first 6 volumes was photographed and collotyped by K. Ogawa (279 plates). Volumes 1-19 were printed at the Tokyo Tsukiji Type Foundry. Each paper wraps volume came with a protective mat finish folding slipcase (grass or grass like covering) with ivory clasps.

The series presents reproductions of Japanese art relics from the earliest times up to the end of the Tokugawa Era from collections in Buddhist Temples in Nara and Kyoto and held in private hands. The entire series was published over the 10 year period from 1898~1908. According to the Wenckstern bibliography of the Japanese Empire (Volume II), the entire set of 20 volumes was anticipated to sell for Y390 in the regular edition format. An edition with silk covers was said to be sold for Y490. This was a very expensive set, even when newly issued. According to my calculations the set would have cost the equivalent of $3,402 in 2004 dollars. To see how I came up with this rather remarkable figure, click here. Wenckstern also contains a comprehensive index (15 pages) of the first 10 volumes of the set.


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