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To Buy Or Not To Buy


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#1 Jean

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:50 PM

Suppose you have a certain amount of money to buy a sword . Taking into account the number of swords available at this price (or under) and the fact that tomorrow there will be more swords available at this price, question: when to buy? What will be your triggering factor and why?

That is a question a collector must ask himself if he does not want to have regrets...
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#2 BulletSprinkler

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:27 AM

The way I see it is, buy it now, and if something better comes along later, buy the new one and sell the old one.


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#3 Vermithrax16

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:45 AM

I actually struggle with this. I am still getting just what I want figured out, yet tempted to buy right now because I love these swords. Trying to slow down and focus, but then a new listing comes up  :)


Jeremiah L.

 

"I wonder if we're being drawn into an ambush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. We have to do this. We've already bought tickets for the last dance. And it's going to be a real gala event."  - Robopocalypse 

#4 BulletSprinkler

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:00 AM

First world problems amirite?


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#5 Vermithrax16

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:33 AM

First world problems amirite?

Haha yes 1st world problem for sure!

 

But still a problem. I do have a set amount of money set aside and I want to add 2 swords by year end, yet I continue to get pulled in so many directions (schools, eras, papers, etc) I lose focus on what I find is valuable to me. 

 

I think Jean's question is an important one and I do hope this thread does not die out. The long timers must be tired of this sort of discussion, but as a newer member I can say it's vital. The search function for debate type threads is not so great in function.

 

It's easy to say "only buy NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Paper or higher for a real quality sword, and this era and school is best" but two problems:

1. Maybe I don't have 12-20k in disposable cash around to put into one sword

2. Maybe I don't even like that sword

 

Hope there are active responses to this thread, I find it very helpful.


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Jeremiah L.

 

"I wonder if we're being drawn into an ambush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. We have to do this. We've already bought tickets for the last dance. And it's going to be a real gala event."  - Robopocalypse 

#6 Michaelr

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:44 AM

I have been a US Military collector for over 50 years but just became interested in Japanese Swords. I was always told " buy the best that you can afford" " don't buy junk" " condition isn't always everything but it can be" "be the most informed buyer that you can" "most books cost less than your first mistake"BUT WE WILL ALL MAKE SOME. But most of all " Buy What YOU Like And What Makes YOU Happy" If you do that you can always sell to upgrade but at least you will always be happy with what you have. Just the Words of Wisdom that I collect by. Hope that maybe something works for you.

Mike R
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#7 Jussi Ekholm

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:48 AM

For me the answer is easy, not to buy. In the last few days I have realized I will now change the way how I collect and it will be many many years before I will think about buying again. Instead the focus will be fully on just seeing stuff.

For the last 5-10 years, I've had a top list of items which I follow that I have sorted by desirability & pricing. List has been constantly evolving as stuff gets sold, new items pop up etc. Unfortunately I've seen that my list is getting heavier and heavier and items become unobtainable to me.

I've realized I will learn much more with my new decision than by trying to buy swords for myself. With my current small income level I won't be able to collect at the level I want to collect. So I will fully focus on increasing my knowledge and having fun. :)
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#8 GARY WORTHAM

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 04:01 AM

Ok, I'll bite;

 

I focus on one new fully mounted sword a year. Papers preferred, and hopefully koto. Yet, the exception of an other era may over ride.

 

Better that the previous years purchase; but the exceptional and great deal may again over ride the purchase.

 

I look for the reality of the purchase, a true samurai sword in mounts; not a court sword or a " Frankenstein of mixed mounts ".

 

Cost ??; each year is a bigger budget with better financial planning for the future.

 

My taste knows it when it sees it !!!


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#9 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:52 AM

I think Jussis approach has alot of merit, I want to be sure the sword will be right for me many years down the track, not just right now. 


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#10 paulb

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:36 AM

I fhnd it difficult to follow a set plan. I work to a basic set of rules as a start:

1. I have to like what I am buying

2. It should be the best example of what it is that I can afford.

3. It is better to have fewer good peices than many mediocre.

4. Dont set buying targets (one,two three a year etc) there are always swords be ready for when one you really like appears.

 

Having said all the above sometimes something comes along that shakes those principals and I know I just need to buy it.

To answer Jeans Question more precisely is the trigger for me to buy tends to be purely emotional. When the hair on the back of my neck rises when I look at it and my pulse quickens  it is a pretty good indicator .


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#11 Shamsy

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:12 AM

Know exactly what I want before I buy it. If I find it, buy without regret. Maybe something better comes along, but when I look back on past experiences, it's the ones I let get away I remember, not those that weren't perfect.
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#12 Jean

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:00 AM

Jeremiah,

Believe me, long timers are still facing this dilemna.

I am going to tell you how I have solved this problem. I fixed me a goal, the gokaden. Now, I was on a limited budget each time. So it was a question of waiting for the "Deal" in each school. I found opportunities through Darcy's website and thanks to him and his kindness, I found my Soshu tradition (Tametsugu) and my Mino tradition (Naoe Shizu). My Bizen sword (ubu Yasumitsu) was found in Japan. I saw it on display, alone. Early Kamakura sugata with Ko Kissaki, incredible fumbari. A friend negociated it for me, I got a 10% discount. How many ubu tachi from Yasumitsu in this style one can see? I don't know but I have never seen its like. My Yamato sword, it was very difficult, all that were available through the years had defaults, including the available Juyo ones. Then my friend Bob H at a DTI had a printed list of on consignement swords (not on display). Among them, there was a non papered Yamato one with two sayagaki, one by Honma Junji and on the ura by Tanobe sama. The blade was fantastic, no kizu, pristine and furthermore reasonably priced. I could not resist. I bought it (I got a reasonable discount from Bob) and put it to shinsa, came back as Tegai Kanekiyo, late Kamakura. For my Yamashiro blade (Ryokai), Bob was there and found it for me with a good discount :) Bob H is a lovely guy, so friendly. He can find almost everything you want at very competitive price. I almost never negotiate with him, I ask him what is the best price he can give me and it is always in my budget.

So the swords came to me on their right time but I had made up my mind from the start and did not jump on the first passing by. It took me years :)

Since Gokaden were completed, I bought two tanto. A yoroi doshi (1cm thick), I always wanted one and a Kamakura signed Yamato Senju'in tanto by Sukemitsu (http://www.militaria...kantei-for-fun/), this one was for me, late Kamakura Yamato tanto are very rare, but a signed one by a Jo saku smith, it is the Holy Graal.
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#13 Alex A

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:10 AM

Its a good question Jean.

 

When I first started collecting I was impulsive and that did lead to one or two regrets.

 

I'm at a stage now where I find buying swords difficult and look for reasons not to.

 

Ive looked at hundreds of swords over the last few years and always found a reason not to buy.

 

I suppose the triggering factor for me now is finding the "keeper" that you guys seem to go on about.

 

Funnily enough, one sword came very very close yesterday, but I'm a slow mover when it comes to buying :laughing: 


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#14 Guido Schiller

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:26 AM

Bob H is a lovely guy, so friendly. He can find almost everything you want at very competitive price. I almost never negotiate with him, I ask him what is the best price he can give me and it is always in my budget.

 

So true. That's why I'm in this love-hate-relationship with him ... ;-)  :laughing:


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#15 Vermithrax16

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 01:42 PM

Great responses so far. Awesome thread.

Jeremiah L.

 

"I wonder if we're being drawn into an ambush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. We have to do this. We've already bought tickets for the last dance. And it's going to be a real gala event."  - Robopocalypse 

#16 Dr Fox

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:10 PM

Not being compulsive by nature, I shop where quality will be found.

I am not in the buy/sell business, so my purchases are keepers.

So its:

A. Do I like what I see?.

B. Can I afford to tie up the cost?.

 

If the answer to both is yes then my fate is sealed.

Up to now its served me well.


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#17 Gakusee

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:06 PM

I am somewhere in between what has been said by others. Firstly, I have narrowed my field, so that I stay focused - Bizen (even though that could be pretty wide in itself) and preferably Koto or Ko-Bizen. Would love a good Heian blade, or a beautiful Yamashiro or Soshu, but funds are limited so need to stay focused. Similarly to Denis, I tend to buy and keep. As I also aim to buy among the best I can afford, I cannot buy many blades and it is less than one a year for me. Having been discussed on the board previously, focusing one's collecting field usually yields thorough learning, discipline and purpose, and minimises temptations.
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#18 Vermithrax16

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:11 AM

From the great responses in this thread (and I really thank you all, it's great for a newer member to get this kind of feedback) I have summary:

1. Who is Bob H?  :)

2. Bizen school is the go to target (not a question really, universal it seems)

3. The patience many have mastered is amazing

 

Great group here!


Jeremiah L.

 

"I wonder if we're being drawn into an ambush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. We have to do this. We've already bought tickets for the last dance. And it's going to be a real gala event."  - Robopocalypse 

#19 Vermithrax16

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:15 AM

Know exactly what I want before I buy it. If I find it, buy without regret. Maybe something better comes along, but when I look back on past experiences, it's the ones I let get away I remember, not those that weren't perfect.

Just like poker; I can't remember when my aces won or A-K held, or when 8-8 won a crappy table, but I can tell you the time my ace high full house (I had AA)  was beat by 4 sevens (A-7-10-7)


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Jeremiah L.

 

"I wonder if we're being drawn into an ambush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. We have to do this. We've already bought tickets for the last dance. And it's going to be a real gala event."  - Robopocalypse 

#20 raymondsinger

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:29 AM

I would debate that point. There is no doubt that top quality Bizen works are wonderful, but would not necessarily place them above all other traditions in terms of skill or desirability. I feel it is more a question of which direction your own tastes develop.

2. Bizen school is the go to target (not a question really, universal it seems)


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#21 raymondsinger

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:32 AM

Bob H = Robert Hughes, and yes he is highly recommended.

http://www.keichodo....background.html
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Ray Singer

 

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#22 Vermithrax16

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:45 AM

Thank you Raymond!


Jeremiah L.

 

"I wonder if we're being drawn into an ambush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. We have to do this. We've already bought tickets for the last dance. And it's going to be a real gala event."  - Robopocalypse 

#23 Verity

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:55 AM

I just sort of follow blades that speak to me. I have my favored schools and eras, but a beautiful blade that speaks to me outside that is fair game. ;)

I recently got a piece I am truly delighted in. An Osafune Masamitsu (Bizen) daito from Nambokucho. I truly love it.
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#24 Stephen

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 04:24 AM

No thought needed, do i have the means?, nope!, well i guess im not  buying.

 

yes old folk who leave alone talk to themselves. 


                                  Stephen C.

                      USMC      DEC 63      APR 73

              


#25 SwordGuyJoe

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 05:49 AM

Good topic! It's always fun to get an inside view to fellow collectors thought! I suppose in many of these responses, there seems to be a nearly universal theme: the buying decision is an emotional one. Sure, everyone has their own flavor, but the trigger is pulled when a sword moves them or evokes a. Emotional response. I am no difference. I'll provide some details below, but assuming that the check boxes are ticked, I'll likely pull the trigger, sometimes against the logical part in my brain trying to convince the emotional part, "Relax. Another blade will come along at a better time. You can't own them all!" To which, the thoughtful response in my very emotional brain is, "Uh uh! This one is special and I may not be able to own all of the swords I want, but I can try!"

So assuming I have money sitting around waiting for a sword, here is what I think:

1. Does it fit with what I'm trying to do? Limiting/focusing my collection has really helped here! Unfortunately, I've limited to a very expensive group. If not, pass! If so:

2. How does it compare to the other swords in the collection? Is it as good or better? Is the sword unique comparatively speaking. The Shigemasa blade with horimono that I purchased is a good example of the former. The Osaraku tanto by Shigemasa from Ray a while back is a good example of the latter - I've never seen one of those by Shigemasa, so while it's not the best blade in the collection - but still very good, that and the rarity of the type of blade made it a winner.

3. Is it a smith that is tough to find? There's only a couple smith's that I look for that are truly hard to find. I will likely make sacrifices above and just buy it because the chance won't come along again quickly.

4. Is the style of the blade something I like? I prefer Soshu and soden-bizen. I'd snap those up pretty quickly when compared to a bizen work that ticks the boxes above. Mike Y. had a gorgeous Shigemasa with horimono that weighed in at about 31". Of course with this sword came a pretty steep price tag, which I wouldn't mind spending if it was near perfection. But it was bizen den so I passed.

If a blade somehow meets 3 of these or strongly meets 2, then I'm sunk. My impulse will win every time regardless of logic.
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#26 estcrh

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 08:30 AM

Bob H = Robert Hughes, and yes he is highly recommended.

http://www.keichodo....background.html

Is it just me or does his website dead end? http://www.keichodo.com/



#27 Jean

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 09:12 AM

Yes, it is a dead end :) Bob only gives his background and how to contact him, he does not need anything else, his fame/reputation is well established among seasonned collectors. He is the only foreigner who holds a stand at DTI ....:)

See Guido's comments above. When you know Guido, it says it all :)

Almost all of his deals are not public. His prices are hardly competed due to the fact that he has a job and does not need Nihonto business, this side activity simply helps him keep contact with collectors and Martial Artists.

BTW, he must be the only foreign member of the Japanese nihonto antiques dealers association; this allows him to take part in private Japanese dealers'auctions.

A great friend to have.
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#28 estcrh

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 05:34 PM

Yes, it is a dead end :) Bob only gives his background and how to contact him, he does not need anything else, his fame/reputation is well established among seasonned collectors. He is the only foreigner who holds a stand at DTI .... :)

See Guido's comments above. When you know Guido, it says it all :)

Almost all of his deals are not public. His prices are hardly competed due to the fact that he has a job and does not need Nihonto business, this side activity simply helps him keep contact with collectors and Martial Artists.

BTW, he must be the only foreign member of the Japanese nihonto antiques dealers association; this allows him to take part in private Japanese dealers'auctions.

A great friend to have.

Jean,thanks for the explanation, yes his reputation is stellar, I just never tried to check out his website and could not figure out if it was working properly or not.

#29 Greg F

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 05:32 PM

While reading through this thread a documentary came on tv about addiction, we are all screwed lol.


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#30 SwordGuyJoe

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 10:13 PM

Ha! Damn straight.




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