Author Topic: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !  (Read 7095 times)

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Offline Janner

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As per the heading, i will put a educational topic here later today.

If, you find a sword, whats its value, is it real, and who made it or owned it are the general
ideas. plus loads of pics of course.
(some of my collection i will include)

A little bit of history too.....

Offline Janner

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 05:33:31 PM »
1.....
Sword Values.

For unmounted, bare blades only, lightly rusted (i.e. in need of a polish) the absolute lowest prices that can legitimately be found are as follows

a) Tanto; USD $1.000 to $3,000; if extraordinary such as signed or HITATSURA (meaning temper line flying all over the blade) then $3,000 to $8,000. Of course, as with all swords, very beautiful works or Tanto with great engraving would be much much over $8,000. I have seen old, Suguha, boring "Kamakura" pieces on sale in Tokyo sword shops for $250,000.
 For example, did you know that all "Appraisal Papers before the year 2000 are INVALID" ??? Reason: "Well, the people at The Sword Museum before were corrupt, and all their papers were bad. You must get new papers for all your swords!!!".

Wow.

Mounted Tanto (that is to say with scabbards, handles, guards, each of which has value or costs money) expect to pay $2,000 to $8,000. This is because you are getting an old Samurai Sword blade, Habaki, scabbard, sword guard, Menuki, Fuchi Kashira, Sageo, handle base, ray skin, silk wrap, and perhaps a fresh new polish.

Some fully mounted Tanto are incredibly beautiful and sell for $10,000 to $80,000

b) Wakizashi: in original Edo condition i.e. lightly rusted, then expect to pay $1,000 to $3,000. For mounted, expect to pay $3,00 to $7,500 . Signed is more than unsigned. Old is more expensive than new. Beautifully mounted is more expensive that simply mounted. A fancy Hamon (temper line) is more expensive than a simple Hamon.

c) Katana: these are defined as long swords, with a length of over 24 inches or 60.67 cm when measured along the BACK of the blade, from the notch or the end of the white polished steel that is shaped as if a triangle had been placed along the back of the blade (i.e. where the Habaki stops - measure in a straight line from this to the tip of the point).

Katana are the most expensive of the three categories, the most desired. Discussing the various values, and the reasons for these values, would require pages, or perhaps a book.

Bare blades: $3,500 to $5,000 for a simple one, more for something nice. Anything under $2,500 is sure to be a oil-tempered WW II blade, re-birthed as a Samurai Sword. These are not folded or hand made, hammered, made from river sand steel as a true Samurai Sword is ... sometimes the tangs have been replaced with an old tang (hell, many Koto Katana have had this trick performed on them.

Offline Janner

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2011, 05:48:15 PM »
This particular Sword was sold for $450,000.
Yep four hundred and fifty thousand dollars !!!!

But these are very rare to find for the common folk like us... ;)

Masamune was japans greatest sword fighter, never lost a fight and always challenged those better than he.


Offline admin

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 08:50:46 PM »
Wow! That's awesome Samurai Sword information!
Thanks!
TW

Offline raquel_lyks

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2011, 09:35:14 AM »
wow... :o that was very amazing and strange sword Jan, when i saw that sword i feel weird feeling.. how much i can touch it in person... nothing to say... thanks Jan..

Raqz ;)
:) : Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together..:)

Offline Janner

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2011, 11:16:43 AM »
Ok, today is about signatures and the "Tangs" of the sword, thats the bit where the handle is..
Removing the handle will expose the "Tangs" and the info on it. (if any at all?)
so......

READING SAMURAI SWORD SIGNATURES The Samurai sword can have a series of markings in the tang(Nakago) area. These markings are known as the signature(MEI). While a large number of swords bear some form of signature, it is important to notice that not all Samurai swords are signed.

TYPES OF SIGNATURES
Most of the signatures are carved into the metal itself. In some of the World War Two period swords the markings are painted. Most of the time in red or white paint.
Some blades will contain both types of signatures, painted and carved/punched.
Additional markings may include arsenal stamps or the Showa (WWII) era stamp.
The blade of the sword is the most valuable part. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that no damage occurs to it. Blades were encased in wooden containers, such as the one illustrated here, as a means of safely storing it. At a later date the blade could be outfitted with military fittings or any other style of accessory to meet the user's needs.

LOCATION OF THE SAMURAI SWORD SIGNATURES
The Samurai swords are signed in the area known as the tang. The tang is covered by the handle of the sword, which is normally secured to the tang via the use of one or two wooden pegs. Once the pegs are removed the handle comes off easily revealing the signatured.

Swords can be signed in one side or in both sides of the tang.

FORGED SIGNATURES
unfortunately some of the signatures in the Samurai sword may be forgeries. The signatures that may be faked are normally those of renowned sword makers.

Some of the forgeries may date back to the time when the master sword maker was alive. In other cases the origin is more modern. The forgeries are normally perpetrated by an individual wanting to increase the value of the sword.

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE SIGNATURE

The information that can be obtained from interpreting the signature in the Samurai sword includes the following: Date, Sword maker's name (Master), City in which the sword was made, etc.

SIGNATURE BASICS
The signature is generally composed of 5 or 7 characters. The following section provides a breakdown of each type.

FIVE CHARACTER SIGNATURE
The following is an example of a tang that has 5 characters in the signature.
Where the five character signature:

HI - Usually Province name
ZEN - Usually Province name
TADA - Usually the title
KUNI - Usually the makers name
SAKU - Usually the makers name

There are examples where more characters than normally expected are found. The signed tang featured here is one of those instances.

One side of the tang has been marked primarily with date related information. The upper section of the inscription refers to the 2,604th year from the foundation of the empire. It was common for the Japanese to refer to years in terms where you had to add two numbers to come up with the proper date.

The other side of the tang includes a small saying: "I gladly give my life". Probably a reference to the willingness of the soldier to commit to battle until death. The next section of the signature bears the name of the maker. What is interesting to note is that "Ikansai" was actually the middle name of the maker. However, it appears that in this case is being used as a first name. His last name was "Kunimori".
The entire set of characters basically states that Kunimori was a resident of Tokyo and he made the sword.

Offline Janner

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2011, 11:39:07 AM »
A very typical WWII Samurai sword as what a soldier would carry, probably a NCO. Definitely not a Officer..
As you can see it is of poor quality and condition, made in the thousands in a factory for the Military.
In a good mood I would offer you about $50 for it..(very low value it has)

Offline Janner

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2011, 12:13:13 PM »
This sword looks like wreck, bad condition and not looked after at all..
but when taken apart it does has a signature on the tang...another lucky find..? ;)
(all items so far are from  my own collection. Just love these swords)

Offline Janner

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2011, 06:25:30 PM »
Some descriptive diagrams for you to learn (if you want) to get to know your sword better..
and a sample of the engraved blade or "Hammon"

Offline admin

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Re: "Samurai Swords". Finding,Valuation,descriptions, and being fooled !
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2011, 09:08:27 PM »
Awesome collection and some great info posted here!
Thanks,
TW