The following post was lost in the database restore, and is important enough to quote here. It was posted by Darcy:
There is no way to know if it is lesser work of Shizu or not because there is no time machine. Shizu is a classification of quality as well as workmanship.
This kind of style + the best quality = Shizu. This kind of style + 2nd grade quality = Naoe Shizu. This is the logic. Kinju exists between Shizu and Naoe Shizu but closer to Naoe Shizu.
Many Shizu have passed Tokubetsu Juyo, Juyo Bijutsuhin, Juyo Bunkazai, but Naoe Shizu and Kinju almost none. Those that did pass at high levels tend to be signed. Because if the mumei were that good in that style it would be attributed to Shizu.
Case in point: the only Naoe Shizu Juyo Token that passed Tokuju got reattributed to Shizu when it passed Tokuju. Absolutely rightfully so. This can happen if the Juyo was early session and the blade came with some history, sometimes Honma sensei put into the setsumei that the attribution needs further study but will be accepted for now.
Oshigata of this one is attached. I think it is very clearly above the Naoe Shizu general designation and the graceful shape is more likely to be found in a late Kamakura blade than a mid to late Nanbokucho blade.
On the subject of flaws in blades:
1395 it is early Muromachi and people say don't get it, mumei Muromachi you can get something better.
1385 it is ubu Nanbokucho, rare as anything, grab that deal.
Do we know for sure which 10 years plus or minus it was made? Nope. It shouldn't matter as much for stuff from the first half of Oei as it does. Not so many Muromachi blades made at 82cm. So, some actual thinking needs to be applied in these cases about what someone means when they say Muromachi and Nanbokucho and you should not be tied directly to labels if you understand the subject matter well.
The flaws are nothing, the blade is not top quality but the price is not top dollar. It is more than fair.
Another side note, this kind of blade if photographed with traditional techniques becomes a nightmare because the small roughness in the hada catches and reflects the light so stands out as hotspots. The scanner technique used by Aoe makes those more subdued as the light is coming head on. So the angled shots make the jihada look a lot worse than the profile scans.
If you see one first before the other, your brain makes a conclusion differently than it otherwise would. First impressions and all.
Now it is difficult in the $6k range to buy great art that will stand with the best of things, and one should be in my opinion looking at one's budget and buying few things, but the best things you can buy. If $6k is the highest you would ever spend and you will end up with 3-4 swords in your collection, there is no problem with buying this particular sword.
If you intend one day on owning a $20k sword then you keep the $6k in your pocket and you don't buy these. You buy 1-4 $20k swords in your life in that case.
Those I think are the ways of making yourself the best collection. If you end up in the situation where you own 3 $20k swords and one $6k sword, the $6k sword has to be something that you really lucked out on and has the same interest level as the more expensive blades. If it doesn't, it becomes an orphan within your collection. Candidate for pruning.
I tell people that there are a lot of pretty girls in the bar, but that doesn't make them all candidates for dating, and even fewer for marrying (preferably no more than one, divorce is expensive sometimes). Some things are better for looking at and flirting with than actually getting involved with.
Primarily you need to keep in mind that for everyone, this is true: what distracts your interest should be *below* the level required to take your money. Some people get involved in spending their money on everything that distracts their interest, and you end up in a state of mediocrity that way. Your spending band has to be firmly set above the level of things that interest you and below the level of things you dream about but preferably as close to the top end of that band as is financially possible.
If you do that you will never run out of satisfaction with your own items. Nor will others.
This blade to me is interesting because it is quite large and ubu. The attribution is one of these also-ran buckets that means third or fourth tier quality koto so you can't get too much into looking up the school and assigning the period with 100% certainty from that.
Ubu is one thing that is hard to restore to a blade via polish.
Always keep in mind that health is not from rough or rugged or unsophisticated country style forging. Health is from brightness of hamon which indicates a good deal of martensite on the blade and a clear distinction between a softer more resilient pearlite based ji. Brightness of hamon tells you then that you can put a good edge on it, and the rest of it will resist bending and breaking.
Health then relates directly to how effective this thing is as a weapon. When a blade is tired, it has lost its effectiveness as a weapon: there is not enough hard steel left on the edge to take and retain sharpness and/or it is questionable that there is enough left to it that it won't bend or break.
There are Tokuju and Juyo Bunkazai that a lot of westerners would say it's not healthy, but it is just a cosmetic state to the jihada that is either part of the construction method or it is a cosmetic state that a talented polisher can resolve. Unlike ubu, which nobody can resolve.
I am not saying rush out to buy this particular sword, I am just laying down parts of the thought process.
When you spend $6,000 there is a large and confusing array of things that you can get with it. If you were spending $60k actually your choices diminish rapidly and it becomes a lot easier. With $6k you have more flexibility to get what you like and worry less about other things though.
The answer to the initial question is, no, the condition is not something that makes this a bad purchase. However, yes, at $6k there are many options available to you, some of which you may like more, and long term as I said, consider and plan your goals for your collecting and spend within that plan. If this fits, it's fine, if it doesn't fit, it's not.