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Shark skin tsuba?

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#1 PacificRim


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:16 AM


I just purchased a type 19 from an online auction. The blade appeared to be a machine made blade but it’s razor sharp. The seller did not know the history of the sword so he cleaned the hilt, which made the patina disappeared. The tsuba is wrapped with a dark smooth material, not sure if it’s shark skin, and the scabbard has two hangers, the lower one is removable. I paid $750 including S&H, is it a good price? Thanks.

Best regards,


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Alex C

#2 Malcolm


    Sai Jo Saku

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:32 AM

Hi Alex,


It may be a typom but Tsuba usually refers to the guard, the hilt is usually referred  to as the Tsuka, but there may be a variant name for the type.


The material looks like a fine rayskin, which is often referred to as sharkskin.


It reminds me of the saya (scabbard) covering of the Naval Type Tachi Gunto of 1937 - 1945 (which is smoothed and then lacquered).


#3 PacificRim


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:41 AM

Thanks Malcolm, I always have the two mixed up, tsuka and tsuba... haha, getting old.
Alex C



    Sai Jo Saku

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:50 AM

These are a bit rarer than the normal samegawa coverings, a premium upgrade perhaps. For $700 you did very well, especially with the double hanger and old style sword knot. The blade is most likely one using the  Murata-To process


#5 ChrisW


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:25 PM

For a nice Kyu Gunto sword, I'd say you did well! And yes, that's shark skin.

Chris W.



#6 PacificRim


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:18 PM

Thanks for all the input!
Alex C

#7 tbonesullivan


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:15 AM

Is that sharkskin or ray skin that has been lacquered and/or sanded down? I've dealt with sharkskin on American and European swords, and it definitely doesn't look like that. I've also seen that kind of pattern on Kai-Gunto scabbards.

David S. - Buried under Guitars, Amps, Trombones, and Edged Weapons.

#8 Brian



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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:12 AM

I think that is indeed shagreen (sharpskin)
See it on custom Shin Gunto saya occasionally too.

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