The Yokohama Specie Bank series of China Foreign Banks in the World Currency contains 177 distinct entries.
The Yokohama Specie Bank (YOK) was established in 1879 and opened its doors on 28 February 1880 in Yokohama, Japan. After the defeat of China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1885, the Yokohama Specie Bank expanded into the Manchurian grain trade, while during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - 1905 it shifted its activities northward, following the advance of the Japanese army. Branches were opened throughout northern and eastern China, and eventually also in Honolulu, Hawaii and Vladivostok, Russia. It had previously opened a Shanghai branch in 1893, whose imposing building on the Bund, built in 1913 to house its new headquarters, was taken over by the Central Bank of China (B3001) at the end of World War II. Yokohama Specie Bank was active in underwriting Manchurian railroad loans, particularly those of the South Manchurian Railway. After the 1917 Russian Revolution and the subsequent collapse of Russian political influence in Manchuria, the Yokohama Specie Bank expanded its economic influence in the area.
The Yokohama Specie Bank served principally the Japanese population living in China, and was frequently boycotted by the Chinese. After the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 and the outbreak of hostilities in World War II, the Yokohama Specie Bank took over the handling of Maritime Customs Revenue from its British predecessor. It also served as the sole issuer of Japanese military notes in China.
Upon the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Yokohama Specie Bank was permanently closed, its assets transferred to the Bank of Tokyo (now MUFG Bank) in 1946, and the old headquarters building in Yokohama became the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History.
Due to tight management and near total redemption, very few notes remain on the collectors’ market.
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