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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/18/2021 in Posts

  1. 11 points
    When I first started collecting (mainly gendai), I would buy at dealer prices. For the past few years, my thought strategy is to pay only what I could recover if I sold it. And if I buy a sword out of polish, I factor in the cost to polish. I have sold quite a few swords on NMB in the past year, and all get snapped up within a day. The reason, realistic prices, I always leave "a bit in it for the next owner". Only an observation, but many shinsakuto swords that have been listed on the NMB, never resell for the price the owner paid, and you see reduction after another, or withdraw from sale. Unless you buy really well, swords are not a good investment, you buy what gives you pleasure, enjoy it, and sell it for the current market price.
  2. 11 points
    Item No. 63 Iron tsuba with gold inlay - 8.13 cm x 72.4 cm x 0.47 cm Modern made tsuba by Ford Hallam , about 14 years ago , subject of Orchids against a textured background , reminiscent of Natsuo style. A few views under different lighting conditions.
  3. 10 points
    So! You are browsing tsuba and one catches your eye, it's got a bit of a Higo vibe. It's not much money and you are thinking of taking a shot but something about the seppa dai seems off so you can it. It pops back up at half the money and on a bit of reflection you reckon the seppa dai has seen some use but for what it costs it's worth it for a look see. You place a minimum bid, sit back and wait. Lo and behold you win. The package arrives and as you take it from the postie you can hear the tsuba rattling around inside it's box. You open the package and see that it is in a deluxe tsuba box so that's a win whatever happens to the tsuba. But the sender has sealed the box with duct tape. You manage to get the duct tape off without damaging the box And the tsuba is genuine, what's more it is better in hand than the photos. I'm sure we all know the feeling but thought you might enjoy this one. All the best.
  4. 10 points
    Where do we start to camp out for the $60k Masamune? Can the line start after me? This line about there being $60k Hozon, Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that will lose their status, I think is begging to see some tangible examples. As for handling many of them, I don't know where you are going that you can poke around in a drawer full of inappropriately papered Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune. Here is why you cannot price such a thing at $60k: 1. if it has so many issues and is so full of doubt, it is not worth $60k and nobody is likely to buy it 2. if it is not with that doubt, it will not be priced at $60k or if it were, that would last for a few picoseconds until someone picks it up and resells it at a price the market supports Consider a simple gold coin. If it is a real one ounce gold coin and you put it on ebay at $200 it will be gone in that same picosecond, to be sold for the price that gold fetches in the market every day and the lucky person will have themselves a profit. If it looks like it is made of copper rather than gold (i.e. so full of doubt) then nobody will pay $200 for it. We see this of course every day with the green papered Masamune that are constantly on Yahoo auctions. The sellers are not stupid, so they float them at zero so the speculators will bid to whatever the price of speculation will drive them. Or, they will price them at the price the market will pay for a Masamune. To price them at 20% of the price of a real Masamune is literally "neither here nor there." It is low enough to cause suspicion and it is high enough to cause suspicion. It is so low that the speculators will take pause. It is so high that the speculators will take pause. It is so low that the legitimate collectors will take pause. It is so high that the legitimate collectors will take pause. The market is not necessarily rational but it sure is very efficient. If you are encountering "many" of these by your own words, and were not impressed, you are implying that the NBTHK is cranking out Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune with great frequency. It's like saying you went into someone's house and saw "many" cockroaches. If you saw one only, it implies the existence of a good number you can't see. If you saw a good number, then there are many. If you saw many then there are a very large number. If there is a very large number, or even if there are many, then others of us will also be encountering them in person or online. Japanese well understand that green papers are garbage and yet there is still some kind of a speculation market on Yahoo auctions for green papered "Masamune". A modern Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune one can buy for $60k regardless of the impression level a foreigner may have for the blade, will not matter because of market efficiency. These items will be snatched up and find their way to major auctioneers or to Yahoo auctions at the bare minimum. If nobody has seen any except for one person who claims to have seen many, then there is some difficulty in explaining this phenomenon if we are to take it at face value. Because honestly there are enough low end dealers that would be able to lay their hands on those and turn them over for big prices on Yahoo auctions that they would simply appear there. Yet they don't. The idea that rather instead they are laying around in drawers inactive in the market, at low prices that would be blown through on an auction site, is far fetched. Everyone would speculate on such pieces and believe them to be easy Juyo. We have seen already on Sotheby's a Tokubetsu Hozon Norishige fetch more than this likely with this kind of speculation. Should such a "Masamune-prime" exist, it would have as well to have so many attestations and historical reasons to be a Masamune that it could go to Tokubetsu Hozon and yet, be so, so very wrong that it cannot approach the standards for Juyo, that again, it would be something that would fail to have any value. As you increase the level of the smith involved you increase the stakes dramatically. The higher you stake that claim on day one, the less room you give yourself to maneuver later. If the NBTHK were in the habit of tossing around Hozon for fake Masamune like used kleenex, the damage it causes to the organization as a whole is substantial. You are entering fraud lawsuit areas that you don't enter when you mix up Bungo Bingo Bongo. There is no point to stick your neck out at Hozon and Tokubetsu Hozon for Masamune when there is a great chance you will get your head cut off at Juyo. This is instead where you stick your neck out as den Yukimitsu and then give yourself another chance to reconsider at Juyo with more people and more attention. There are so very few reasons to paper something to Tokubetsu Hozon as Masamune that cannot go higher, you can count them on one hand. Those are that the condition is so very poor there is no chance, but the blade is legitimate. In which case, someone with knowledge should still find areas in it to be impressed, but to simply feel sad that the blade is worn away; or that the blade is retempered, and in which case the blade is going to have to have status as a famous old piece or else it will lack the exact dimension necessary in which to pass as Masamune (the best quality nie); or that the attribution is so very, very unreliable that the work cannot even classify as one of the better Soshu smiths for which there may be major to minor overlap with Masamune (in which case it does not have the standing to get to Hozon as Masamune, but it will simply be denied if under kinzogan or papered to whatever it is thought to be regardless of stacks of old paper). There is only a major disaster for all parties involved in generating drawers full of Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that cannot impress a foreigner and do not have the capability to pass Juyo. Furthermore, there just lacks a reason for this to happen other than offering up that the people doing building such a situation are completely without credibility. I point you to an alternative to explain the phenomenon you have noted, if indeed it is real as nobody else has testified to it. That is in this same thread you have maligned the reputation of Honami Kochu and held his papers to be without merit, failing to impress you and so easily faked that they are indistinguishable from the real thing. A drawer full of $60k Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that are not impressive in the least has such a simple easy explanation attached to it and Occam's razor applies. I've written elsewhere the slow pace at which consideration for Masamune is given. I have not, myself, encountered these large quantities of inexpensive and unimpressive yet faithfully papered Masamune in all of my experience in Japan nor has anyone offered up any links to them in Yahoo auctions in the last 25 years that I recall. I am aware of very, very tired Masamune that are correctly executed and still pass Juyo. There are those that pass Juyo with notes in the setsumei about how the attribution has doubts and even with that the market price on such things are quite high. It is very easy to write "to kinzogan mei ga aru" on papers, or to do den Yukimitsu at Tokubetsu Hozon so you can change that to Masamune and explain in detail at Juyo because it is still, outside of the Masamune attribution, a sword with Juyo features that can stand as such on its own. And if it doesn't, then no reason to do this outside of not knowing your material. I have had in my hands famous pieces from the Kyoho Meibutsucho, and Juyo and Tokuju, Juyo Bunkazai Masamune, and those with no papers and no reputation but still exhibiting enough attributes that I would say Masamune and try to pay a lot for them. I have been able to buy three legitimate ones in my life and I had opportunities to buy unpapered ones at high prices... in such cases I turned one down out of being gutless and saw it after this go all the way to Tokubetsu Juyo. I wish to say I could have handled a Kokuho one, but I have not, I have only had one Kokuho in my hands and it was not a Masamune. But many times with Juyo Bunkazai up to Sadamune and Masamune and so forth from daimyo families and Hideyoshi's personal item that went to Ieyasu and various shoguns beloved pieces. But, I have not encountered a drawer full of Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that failed to impress me to date. If they are legitimately papered, the line starts after me please at $60k and I will take my chances with any particular foreigner not being impressed. Lastly the proof of NBTHK papers it to look up the serial numbers. Also, the proof of an old Honami Kochu paper can often be verified by looking at the records of collections from whence it came. The best proof though is the eyeball test. Knowing what you are looking at substantiates the paper more than the paper should be used to substantiate the thing you are looking at. If you are routinely looking at junk swords of the highest attribution possible without the capability of passing Juyo you are probably in some kind of strange, uncharted waters that are dangerous to be in.
  5. 8 points
    Hi all, Just another update, the website is now up and running. Being nearly illiterate at this kind of thing it was a bit of a struggle but being a fighter I didn't quit. There are still things to work out, but for the most part it is working. My first priority is to get the sword page up and all previously offered blades relisted. Additionally, I have 23 new swords, most high end Gendaito to list which is very time consuming. Thank you all for your support. Ed Yakiba.com
  6. 7 points
    Item No. 66 - Kozuka in shakudo and gold with copper and silver Subject - New Year with a Buriburi on wheels and wakamisu scene on reverse ( first drawn water of New Year ) Superior quality all round with miniature nanako , inlays on the Buriburi etc. Signed Akichika , with kao ( Kono school ) - as a student of Haruaki Hogen ( famed for his incredible attention to detail ) the level of workmanship is , perhaps , not surprising. From a European auction about 4 years ago Scale on close up pictures of nanako is in millimetres
  7. 7 points
    Nihonto should never be seen as an investment. Besides the very high end, enjoy being a caretaker and love learning.
  8. 6 points
    Dear All, As restrictions on movement start to be lifted I am hoping to start to have the chance to study some more swords. In the meantime the pool is becoming somewhat limited so this may be the last kantei I can post for a little while. It is also possible that the blade here is familiar to some of you. Normally when doing kantei the blade should be ubu or at least have the mei intact and have been authenticated. It should also be a piece that exhibits the traits of a given school or smith. This is not always possible. In this case we are looking at a naginata-naoshi which has been substantially modified from it's original form and is mumei. Therefore to reach a conclusion one needs to focus on such dimensions as are original (nagasa and thickness) and more particularly on the hada and hamon. Description: The blade is a Naginata Naoshi wakizashi. Nagasa: The blade is 17.6 inches. The Kasane is 8mm. the blade is Mitsu-mune. There are classic Naginata hi which are well cut and in excellent condition. The shape is a classic Naginata sugata . Hada: The blade is a combination of itame and Nagare hada covered in thick and bright Ji-nie with chickei mixed in. As the hada approaches the hamon it tends more towards masame. Hamon: The Hamon is Suguha with deep Nioi and thick, bright nie. There is Nijuba and Sunagashi. There is clear mune-yaki. Boshi: Yakitsume with considerable hakikake. Nakago: O-suriage Mumei. Beautiful colour and well maintained.
  9. 6 points
    Item No. 65 - Menuki in shakudo Subject - Views of Mount Fuji with clouds and sailing boats in the foreground With signature Furakawa Mototaka - according to Sesko's Genealogies , Oyama/Sekijoken School ( Mito ) Nicely made , unfussy pair of Menuki Bought from Japanese Dealer 10 years ago.
  10. 6 points
    Item No. 64 Large Iron Tsuba with Gold 8.47 cm x 7.86 cm x 0.50 cm Subject of Sukashi Dragons in a field of gold key pattern inlay , unsigned. The inlay continues around the mimi , dragons' eyes are gold . Unknown age or school , described by Auction House as dating to approx 1780 , ie 240 years old... Bought a few years ago at a European Auction.
  11. 6 points
    There was indeed a gendaitō 現代刀 swordsmith with the name of 西山・勝進 [Nishiyama Katsuyuki] who signed his blades with 肥前國西光 [Hizen no kuni Saikō]. He lived in 長崎県北高来郡森山村 [Nagasaki-ken Kitatakaki-gun Moriyama-mura] as of 1937. Many thanks for sharing pictures of your sword.
  12. 6 points
    Peter We all started digressing into 'is gendaito better than shinsakuto?', 'oh, why, my god, why is my mass produced WW2 blade priced where it is?' and our pet loves and interests, and ignored your question. I shall provide my humble views: 1) at the moment, from a macroeconomic perspective, globally there is a heck of a lot of loose monetary policy being practised by central banks and reserves; this means, in layman's terms, than they require banks to hold lower currency reserves (thus relieving retail banks of the requirement to have reserves centrally and encouraging them to lend the excess more) and the government institutions deploy central funds to purchase debt obligations thus increasing money supply in the economy. When there is a lot of something, its price comes down. In our case, the value of money goes down through the inflation mechanism - inflation rates are high, money buys less, etc. That is why you are seeing so many people fleeing to alternative assets to fiat (i.e. normal ) money - be it gold, bitcoin/ethereum, non-fiat-token digital assets, art. Normal money costs less (you can view the interest rate in the bank as its value increment and inflation as its decrement = the net change is negative as inflation is much higher that interest rates and real GDP growth) 2) so, investing in alternative assets when money is abundant makes diversification sense - be it real estate (you know it, its price is up too!), art collections, value depository assets (gold, diamonds, platinum, silver). Now, you need to be careful with the so called commodities and precious metals as their value is influenced by industrial usage as well as financial operations (the so called forward and futures prices, derivatives, etc) 3) zooming into art more precisely, as an alternative asset class in addition to a source of personal gratification and aesthetic enjoyment, it is booming (for the reasons above plus the additional wealth created in emerging real economies such as China or the Middle East or Russia or digital economies - think of the Bitcoin and Ethereum billionaires and multimillionaires who lucked it out). It could be digital art (https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2021/03/11/beeple-art-sells-for-693-million-becoming-most-expensive-nft-ever/) or antique art (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/disarming-new-findings-on-leonardos-salvator-mundi). 4) are antique weapons merely a historic artefact or art? That is a tricky question. Are Japanese swords works of art? It merits its own treatise. A-ha! It exists! Please refer to my friend, Paul's, interesting article on the subject https://to-ken.uk/onewebmedia/why article.pdf 5) so, having established that there is demand for alternative assets and art in particular, then we need to analyse whether our Japanese swords are really art, and, if so, high or fine art. Are they mass/machine produced swords, of which there are many tens of thousands, all look similar, etc or are they unique, beautiful, old (so there is the historic/antique element). What is the state of preservation? Is there historic provenance (daimyo ownership)? Is there evidence they were cherished, appreciated, etc? I suppose one could read another friend of mine's blog posts here : https://blog.yuhindo.com/what-i-learned-from-you/#more-124. and https://blog.yuhindo.com/fungible/ They sort of conclude that people like differentiated, quality items, which store/reserve their value. There is more there too (about a specialist collection, about high vs low/wide) etc and Guido has also written on that topic separately. So, Peter, I would conclude (my wife is calling me for lunch!) by saying: - there is plenty of disposable wealth and money around - it is looking for art and Japanese swords too (I know several guys in their 30s with remarkable Juyo and TJ collections at the topmost level) - however, with the plethora of available (mostly digital) information, that wealth is 'better informed' and 'smarter'. It is no longer the golden era of the Japanese or Militaria arms fair or show in the airport hotel of the 1970s-1990s where people were buying unprepared and myths were being perpetuated about Juyo swords, about what certain words in sayagaki meant, etc - to attract those buyers, or even just knowledgeable buyers, if you are selling a top item, there should not be an issue. - if you are selling an average item, then you need to be able to swallow the loss of the dealer premium you paid when you bought your sword. That premium could range from 0 to 100%. I know US dealers who tend to put 30-40% premiums, European dealers who put 50-80% premiums, Japanese, who put around 25-30%, etc. Of course I could go much further into the topic (was an item bought at the exclusive/secretive Japanese dealer auction or not, was it bought directly from a Japanese collector, and how was it subsequently priced by the Occidental dealer?) but it is unwise to discuss trade secrets . Leon T above explains well why there is a dealer premium. - if, however, you bought from a dealer, and then upgraded a certificate, then you can make money. Unfortunately the ladder theory (https://blog.yuhindo.com/ladder-theory/) works in sword pricing. I have been fortunate to upgrade swords bought from dealers and made money, but do not count on it. It is not common. - one final thought: do not sell as a collection if you can avoid it. Anecdotally I have observed through the dispersal of several collections, that it is better to 'trickle' the swords into the market, finding the right buyer for the right sword rather than flooding the market with self-competing swords
  13. 6 points
    Just chiming in here, as a long time nihonto person but new member. Regarding the "Million yen" swordsmith, that valuation is due to a mistranslation commonly used both by many dealers and collectors. The original Japanese is 1 Man (or mon), carelessly abreviated to 1M and erroneously taken to mean 1 Million. In fact the Man /Mon unit means 10.000. (This is also the same for the Chinese Unit) So your Million Yen swordsmith actually means 10,000 Yen - which makes a lot more sense, and was still a very significant amount of money , (say 10,000 silver yen pieces) back then whenever written. Secondly look at some of the better dealers websites. You pay (and they get) a significant premium price above what you can sell for , because of: 1) Their reputation (i,.e you know they won't cheat you and will accept returns if there is a problem 2) The nice presentation- which includes a printable article with researched information about the smith, historical context , discussion about the blade etc 3) They have usually taken the time and trouble (which can be substantial) to paper the blade, which takes it to another level of authenticity and desirability 4) Usually included with the deal are professional photographs of the blade, koshirae etc which you can use to display or advertise your blade to sell in the future. 5) The blade when sold will be archived; you can always refer back to it on the website when studying it, showing friends or a future customer ! 6) Guarantees about shipping, etc - I don't have to deal with the details, insurance etc. 7) Wider and established and richer customer base. You as a private individual will simply not have that exposure. Speaking for myself, I would gladly pay 25-50% above the price of the same blade that I would pay a private unknown individual, even if I was reasonably confident of your trustworthiness, authenticity etc. IF the above factors came into play. But of course, for most blades and equipment, the "For Sale & Trade" forum on NMBs does provide an invaluable avenue to sell and buy for members at a reasonable and fair price, without having to pay the $ premiums mentioned above. And I do realize that most members here are knowledgeable and experienced, and so will be more equipped to strike out on their own and less inclined to pay those premiums. So, if you think your sword is undervalued, if you can provide the above factors, then that will be one way to increase the market value and what you can get for it. If you can't or won't, the next best step may be to consign to a better dealer and agree on the price you are willing to sell at. You may be suprised - he may be able to get the price you could not. Big Auctions sites have pros and cons. Yes, they have a much bigger audience and occasionally can sell at inflated prices, but they simply do not or have have the time to take care of it and fully research and do a write up of your few blades and they charge very expensive commissions and fees that can add up t0 40% (!) of the actual sale price. As to price comparisons between say "shinsakuto vs gendaito" I completely agree, but it does depend on current interests and fads. As an amateur historian myself, there is definately a panache or thrill factor about gendaito that appeals to that group of collector , especially among the younger ones. Why else would mass produced WW1 and WW2 helmets with almost zero artistic value go for $thousands? Also , one thing I have noticed, is that there is an increasing trove of veriable information about gendaito, along with the possibility of new discoveries that makes that area fascinating. In comparison the amount of complicated knowledge that Nihonto requires to be reasonably competent does seem a bit daunting. I understand that John's price comparison is for items somewhat comparable (such as same Yasukuni smith, different years) . Well, it's even crazier for things not directly comparable. I am of the age where I think it silly for someone to pay $1000 for a pair of collectable sneakers ; however that person would think me nuts for paying the same amount for a fine & rare whisky. My wife would think both us were crazy! But its all good. The market is what it is. Those new gendaito collectors may move on to nihonto in the future, and provide new blood and a customer base to buy our old stuff! Cheers, Leon
  14. 6 points
  15. 6 points
    You have 2 very nice blades. And will be awesome if it will have sayagaki, and will be nice to see the paper too. Now on for the discussion about Ōmiya school and Morishige. This is just a personal view and might not be correct but I have tried to follow multiple sources. The Sukemori (助盛) tachi that was featured in Nihontō Kōza that Jacques posted earlier was attributed to Bizen Ōmiya in Jūyō 11 but has been further researched and reattributed as Ko-Bizen Sukemori from Early Kamakura period at Tokubetsu Jūyō 14. For Moritsugu (盛継) I have so far found 3 items. There are Jūyō Bijutsuhin tachi and naoshi that are both signed, and I believe he is generally thought as late Kamakura smith. There is also signed naginata in Jūyō 21, he is identified as Ko-Ōmiya Moritsugu in the entry. Morisuke (盛助) is most likely also a late Kamakura to early Nanbokuchō smith. I do have only tachi and 1 orikaeshi-mei for him. I know there is second Jūyō orikaeshi-mei in session 43 but I don't yet have the book, the item comes with specification Ōmiya & late Kamakura. The tachi I have only found in very old Tōken Bijutsu magazine, and it states Late Kamakura to Nanbokuchō in the text. Similar as it does for the orikaeshi-mei in Jūyō 21. Then for the Morikage (盛景) there are tons of items to research. So far I have found range from 1360 to 1402 in dated items. As we come to Morishige (盛重) I do believe it would be Late Nanbokuchō to Ōei for him. I do know there are most likely dated pieces by 1st gen from Ōan to Kakyō (1368 - 1389) as that information is listed in many sources, yet so far I haven't personally seen such a date on a Morishige item. So far the range for dated pieces I've found and have references for are from 1414 to 1433. For mumei pieces that NBTHK attribute to Morishige I have seen Ōmiya Morishige (大宮盛重) and Osafune Morishige (長船盛重). The tachi currently at Aoi Art that John posted earlier has been so far the only NBTHK verified item for him I have seen that has specification for late Nanbokuchō in brackets (granted I do not have too many signed non dated items for him as reference). Lastly for Morokage (師景) I have found so far date range of 1415 to 1442 for dated items. There are some very less known Ōmiya smiths by whom I might have so far found only a single sword or two so I don't include them here. And of course my own research is always evolving if I do uncover items previously unknown to me but those above are based on the items I currently have information on.
  16. 5 points
    Dear All, with no further suggestions since Monday I believe this has run it's course. answer and explanation listed below: The blade has been attributed to the Shikkake School of the late Kamakura/early Nambokucho period. It was awarded a Juyo attribution in the 46th session. Congratulations to those who took part and got the correct answer. I think it is reasonable to say that Naginata Naoshi are not normally found with Juyo certification. In line with the NBTHK definitions the blade has to be of high quality workmanship and in line with the characteristics of the school. So why was this mumei, much altered, blade awarded this level of certificate? I hope the following may offer some explanation Shape: Allowing that the shape of the blade has been changed the naginata retains the elegant, almost gentle sugata associated with blades produced in the Kamakura period. As the Nambokucho progressed swords generally became more robust and larger. In the case of Naginata they became longer, broader and the curve at the kissaki deepened. They just got a lot bigger! So the shape points towards the Kamakura period. Hada and Hamon: As said above the workmanship is clearly visible and of very high quality. When compared to the descriptions of what one should expect of the Shikkake School this sword exhibits every listed feature and they are all clearly visible in hada, hamon and boshi. Having established it to be the work of the Shikkake School, further examination pin-points it more precisely. Established references confirm that the quality of later Shikkake work falls off. This manifests itself as a reduction in activity in the hamon, much less Ji-nie and more open hada. Taking these points into account this sword can only be the work of the earlier Shikkake School, thus supporting the opinion already expressed based on the shape of the sword. The Yamato tradition offers a lot of challenges in kantei, not least that so few of their blades were signed. I think they also have a reputation for being utilitarian and lacking the artistry of other schools. I think this is unfair especially when looking at the early works of the Tiama school, Tegai Kanenaga and Shikkake Norinaga. The problem I think is that as with so many schools quality reduced as time progressed and most blades we see, which tend to be late Tegai work, do not reflect the quality of earlier pieces. Also the differences in the schools can be very subtle. We have all seen examples of blades being papered to one school and then on resubmission to another. One needs to look at the fine detail and try and come to a judgement which is what I believe the Shinsa panel did with this work. It had all the features they expected to see in a Shikkake blade and the level of quality to place it at the earlier period of the school’s production.
  17. 5 points
    Further to the tanto mentioned by Geraint above. I first became acquainted with it when it was exhibited in a ToKen exhibition in Oxford way back. When it reappeared for sale I managed to purchase it for the Royal Armouries collection. A bit of digging has revealed the following: Both the English and Dutch 'factories' in Japan were based on the island of Hirado during the early 17th century. The two groups were to some extent rivals, and there were some altercations between them, but somehow they rubbed along. The British finally closed their base in 1623 when Tokugawa Iemitsu became Shogun, in the main because the textiles they were trying to sell were of little interest to the Japanese and the principle trader, Cox or Cocks, was in reality more interested in trading with China. They did however managed to sell quite a number of decorated guns (none of which, nor any part of one, appears to have survived). The Dutch in contrast did quite well, trading in goods the Japanese did want. Whilst Tokugawa Ieyasu and his son Hidetada were tolerant of the foreigners, Iemitsu was less so, at first confining the Catholic Portuguese to the artificial island of Dejima in Nagasaki harbour, and then finally expelling them altogether. He then transferred the Dutch to Dejima so they could be more closely controlled and limited the number of ships they were allowed each year. On leaving Hirado, the Dutch presented the Matsura daimyo with a gift that included at least two pikeman's armours (that Matsura Hoin had made into a Japanese armour that is now in Hirado Museum) and at least one sword from the blade of which the above tanto was made. It appears to have been originally a cavalry sword with a blade made in Solingen in the early 17th century. The blade is dated and inscribed with the maker's name in the fuller, but the inscription is partially removed through polishing. Matsura Hoin had it cut down, shaped into a tanto and given a yakiba. The scabbard is covered in Dutch leather and the mounts decorated with the Matsura kamon appear to be solid gold. Ian Bottomley, Curator Emeritus, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds.
  18. 5 points
  19. 5 points
    I attach a photo and thank you very much for your help with the translation. Jiri
  20. 5 points
    I personally would take Tanobe San's opinion over some groups offering their opinion at shinsa in the U.S.A.
  21. 5 points
    Non sword guys find it hard to accept the whole gimei/false signature thing. The fact is that the Japanese have been adding false signatures to swords hundreds and hundreds of years ago. It is said there are more false signatures than real ones. That just means that often the guy whose name is on it, is often not the smith. It doesn't make a sword a bad one, or a fake one....just a real sword with a false signature. It doesn't mean it is badly made either. Many fine swords with gimei signatures on them. I say all the above to explain that we don't know if he really did make it, or if the signature is false. That can only be determined through a very expensive process of polishing and papering. Most of the time, not worth the expense. But the sword looks to have a few hundred years on it. So what you have is a genuine Japanese sword, signed: made by Yukihiro of Bungo province. It may or may not be by him. It has a long kissaki which I think many find appealing. For now, you need to keep it oiled to prevent further rust. Oil...wipe with tissue...oil, wipe...leave a very thin film of oil on it....wipe lightly. No excess oil to remain. It may be a case of keeping it as is until a future generation can afford the few thou to have it polished.
  22. 5 points
    Gentlemen, The reality is you are debating a 30 year time window i.e. 1360 to 1392 from 700 years ago. Allowing for fluctuation in style and changes in form overtime are you not being a little optimistic trying to be so precise?
  23. 4 points
    Hey all! So I built a katana tansu, thought I’d share:
  24. 4 points
    Hi Brian, There are gobs of sword terms in Japanese; witness this book: https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/books/b103-1100-Japanese-sword-terms-and-400-named-blades but you don't need to know any where near that many to get started. Yumoto's The Samurai Sword: https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/books/b771-samurai-sword-handbook-yumoto or Sato's The Japanese Sword: https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/books/b138-Japanese-sword-kanzan-sato will cover the basics and that's enough to begin. Keep reading, studying, & looking at good swords; you'll be pleased with your progress. Grey
  25. 4 points
    Looks like 備州三原貝正行 - Bishu Mihara Kai Masayuki.
  26. 4 points
    Hey, Jacques, I see you are ready for some verbal dueling, and I am endorsing it warmly. As mentioned elsewhere, deeper debate and scholarship have abated somewhat on the NMB, so we should do our best to educate people who are now setting on the path we have trodden down some way further. Firstly, the nioiguchi is not the same as hamon. The nioiguchi is the border of the hamon (which is the outline and shape of the ha). Refer to the handy definitions crib sheet below (photo 79F…..) Secondly, when people speak of ‘activities’ (i.e. hataraki) and ‘active’ with regard to the hamon, they refer to the presence of hataraki. Of course, every hamon has some activities but that does not make every hamon ‘active’. A comparison I can draw is that every person has some fat in his/her body, but that does not make every person fat. Even though I am eventually getting there with all this Covid sitting on my posterior and imbibing alcohol! Thirdly, I do not engage in debates for the sake of debates and being argumentative. When I make statements here, which is not often, they are capable of corroboration. So, I attach excerpts from two Japanese books which talk about hamon being ‘active’: —>The Japanese Sword (written by numerous authors - refer to photos B6…, E9…., 58FB…., 322CA attached herein). The part I wish to draw the readers’ attention to is the amazing ubu zaimei kokuho Rai Kunitoshi (and I knew people would be interested in the blade, so I attached an image of it). In that paragraph the author talks about the ‘active suguha’ of the Rai master smiths and then goes into the ‘active koshiba‘ of the illustrated kokuho tachi. —>Tanto (by Suzuki) I enclose both the Japanese text and the English translation - again, please read for yourself. Now, this text imputes a slightly different meaning to the word ‘active’ and associates it more with flamboyance and variegation in the shape of the ha. But, wait a second, that is called hamon (per the first argument in this response)!! So, again the hamon is described as active. Personally, I subscribe to the former approach, which centres more around the number and type of hataraki to describe the ha as active, as opposed to the mere shape or outline not being a straight line (i.e. suguha) per the latter approach. Simply, I have seen numerous active suguha blades, be they Rai, Awataguchi or Shintogo. Sometimes the hataraki are tiny but they are there and impressive. Therefore, yes, a suguha blade can be active, as you yourself say, and The Japanese Sword posits, but that also does not make every suguha active (which is a fallacious argument you are making above).
  27. 4 points
    Hi Stan, To have the sword polished and mounted with new shirasaya and habaki, if necessary, by properly trained artisans will cost at least $2,000. To have it polished by an amateur would be foolish. I recommend a light coat of machine oil to stabilize the rust and not much more at the present. Take some time to learn about Japanese swords and what your options are; with better understanding you can make an informed decision. Maybe, someday, you'll decide to have a polish done but, you may also decide you're not that serious about collecting Japanese swords and you'll be happy you don't have way more into this one than you can ever recover by selling. No need to hurry. I'm willing to take a call and answer questions, if you like. Grey 218-726-0395 central time.
  28. 4 points
    There is a lot of appetite on the market for masterworks at the moment. Look at online dealers, they're running out of masterworks. It's becoming harder and harder to find them, due to whales in Japan accumulating and buyers in the west sniping what passes through their nets. The danger zone is right in the middle though, be careful there. As Michael so eloquently put it, macro-economics trends and new wealth means there is demand for art of all kind as both a diversification strategy and a hobby. Kirill please open a business for those 60K hozon Masamune! Let's not kid ourselves here and give beginners a false sense of hope. If its a beater Masamune that wouldn't pass Juyo, it wouldn't get Masamune attribution in the first place because the condition would preclude any such conclusions from being reached. Even a Masamune with no Boshi left is going to be an automatic Juyo - and any remaining Hozon exists solely to give the Japanese owner discretion. "Not that rare" - well, in its existence the NBHTK has allowed 33 Masamune Katanas counting Juyo and Tokuju together, with half of them having issues (To mei Ga Aru, Soshu Joko No Saku, etc) and attributed to Masamune out of respect for the great edo judges with big glowing red disclaimers in the Setsumei saying in a Japanese way that its unlikely to be Masamune. That leaves about 15-20 legit Katanas with supporting setsumei that can be bought and exported outside Japan. Out of these 15-20 Katanas, more than half are locked into museums and whales collections such as the Sano Museum or the Sawaguchi collection. Now you're left with maybe 5-8 legit katanas that could ever surface on the market and the pie is shrinking fast. Every few years, one might change hands discreetly in Japan and if you're lucky you might hear about it in hushed tones from Japanese dealers. So yeah, they are as rare as rare can be. And no, you won't find a Hozon Masamune for hozon bargain price. That game stops working at the topmost level. And to return to the original question, when stocks run dry it's the best time to sell on consignment, and now is such a time.
  29. 4 points
    Obviously up to Steve or whoever to answer how they wish but i feel he’s given the general flavor of the content and context. I think most would agree that the spirit of a free translation section is to keep requests down to a fairly minimal amount of text. However, I am sympathetic to the desire to have large sections of text translated. Forgive me for not using the search function but has it been discussed where on might go to have a lets say a large detailed older origami or an arms length sayagaki? I believe I’ve heard there are fee-for-service outlets just cant remember if they’ve been discussed. Again, not wanting to make anyone feel bad but just want make sure that we are not abusing what is a very gracious and much appreciated service offered by a few of our valued members. Doug
  30. 4 points
    鶏図 usually reads Kei-zu or Tori-zu. For 赤銅 (Shakudo), Ref. Shakudō - Wikipedia
  31. 4 points
    Inside the red disc, radiating out from the center, are the names of several important shintō shrines 金比羅神社 Konpira jinja 多賀神社 Taga jinja 南宮神社 Nangū jinja 熱田神社 Atsuta jinja 豊川稲荷大明神 Toyokawa Inari Daimyōjin On the very top of the flag is a brief narrative of a Japanese platoon's incursion into Xingtang, China. There are some platoon names listed on the flag. I don't see a dedication to a particular person, and I don't see any names. So I don't know that I would call this a good luck flag, but rather its a kind of war diary.
  32. 4 points
    Darkon, John, all good questions. An appraisal book just wouldn't work however. For example, I have 2 EMURA'S both signed the same, both in good outfits. Put the 2 together and you could get USD3500 for one, and USD2500 for the other. They are chalk and cheese in regard to workmanship, every sword is different, and appeals to collectors in different ways. In regard to "gendai-to nonsense" as you call it, the WW2 stuff even if "beat up" appeals to both nihonto and militaria collectors. There is a certain "aura" a WW2 gendai-to has, in so much it was made was a weapon, like the Samurai swords of old, and not a piece of art for arts sake. The price is what people are prepared to pay at a particular time.
  33. 4 points
    I did say this has meaning to me. When the previous head of the NBTHK takes the time to take a good look at the sword ( often over a few days ) and then form an opinion and write everything he believes to be relevant to the sword on the saya it is important to me. In a shinsa they will often look at 100's of swords and are pressed for time so it's no guarantee of increased accuracy. I value Mr. Tanobe's opinion more than a Shinsa but that's just me. Even in sayagaki they often state there is a disagreement and the attribution given is a result of that and it's open to further study.
  34. 4 points
    Chiming in. The pic below is actually what is left of pure translation work, and that is for all the remaining volumes. All I need, and it sounds so stupid, is to find a good slot to get through everything with Grey and Barry and then finalize the layout and we are all set. Have planned to forward the next installments to Grey and Barry coming week (just cleared another project last week I was working on for two years).
  35. 3 points
    So, just looking at the Juyo Zufu, and going by the fact that where there is nengo, they always show both sides of the nakago and the setsumei explicitly mentions the nengo, there are numerous Yasumitsu examples with naga mei and no nengo mentioned. Some of these swords were sold in various DTI fairs, so we have some photos in the DTI catalogues. So, as the Juyo setsumei does NOT mention the nengo (it always DOES when there is such) by extrapolation, there is no nengo. Two Juyo examples attached from the DTI catalogues.
  36. 3 points
    http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14376583 BEST
  37. 3 points
    Tachi and Tachi mounts NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Papered to 1st generation Omiya Morishige O suriage 75.7 cm Hi , 9mm thick at mune . Very healthy with lots of activity
  38. 3 points
    To quote Darcy from Feb 2014: About: nagamei on Oei Bizen with no date. Juyo 19 has a tachi signed "Bishu Osafune Yasumitsu" with no nengo. Juyo 21 has the same. Juyo 29 has the same (example included). Juyo 38 has the same. Juyo 42 has two tachi like this. Juyo 18 has a signed "Bishu Osafune Morimitsu" tachi with no nengo. Juyo 32 has the same. Juyo 13 has a tachi signed "Bishu Osafune Moromitsu" with no nengo. Juyo 56 has the same. There are others. Additional facts: There are tachi with nijimei and no date. There are tachi with nagamei and date. There are no tachi that I can recall that have nijimei and date. There are numerous katana, wakizashi and tanto with nagamei and date. There are tanto with nijimei and no date. There may be other configurations, this is off the top of my head for what I've seen. My conclusion: 1. obviously nagamei with no date is an accepted signature form for Oei Bizen and is not to be ruled out. 2. the accepted examples all seem to be tachi and rather large examples as almost all are slightly suriage, so it may be restricted to this form and one would have to look at a katana in this configuration skeptically. 3. it's possible that these were dated below the signature but it does not seem to be the case from these examples and the positions of the signatures, and I didn't see any that did follow this pattern, though I have seen it on Aoe. But without anything solid it is just speculation.
  39. 3 points
    Hello Thomas, I still have it and the number is 510. Regards, Paul
  40. 3 points
    Very private opinions. On scythian gold: the posts and thickening of plate on items shown would make me abstain from any purchase of the kind. The richest people in Ukraine, i.e. the country where all Scythian artifacts were "mined" in the past three decades tend not to own a single all original and fully mounted akinakes. There are a few of those in really old collections, but that's about all one can find in private hands. Had opportunity to buy just a scabbard from one of those 15 years ago and regret not jumping on it. The fakes are numerous, and mostly smaller items, and usually of quite poor/obvious quality. On Masamune - TH Masamune basically means it was submitted, at which point it got Juyo Kaneuji or, more likely, worse name. Otherwise it would have Juyo papers attached at the minimum. More prominent Masamune collectors tend to argue that Masamune below TJ are problematic and probably not worth having. I handled quite a few in my hands and was NOT impressed as a rule. Many/Most museum examples do not have NBTHK attributions, but are considered "valid" of sorts, some with ministry's papers, some without. It is the most contentious/erroneous attribution in the history of nihonto and best dealt with extreme care. You want the first grade Soshu work? Buy good Sadamune tanto (tachi can be iffy). Buy good Go tachi. Norishige. The attribution in 99% of cases will not change. The valuation will not disappear. Signed ubu Sanjo Munechika is RARE. Anything that is attributed at will, in accordance to vaguely stated criteria - not really. Will never match ubu-signed-early-rare type of thing. I never understood the extreme reverence for the early papers like Honami Kochu. Of all Honami, his work was extremely often faked even in Edo period, sometimes with great skill, indistinguishable today from the originals. He was responsible for very many Masamune attributions to blades which might or might not be such. He is loved by the dealers since he produced a lot of attributions overall, the first Honami to do so. Not always spot on, but often is, very many involving early good blades. On selling collections right now - decent time. Strong inflation expectations with modest expectation that the economy will yet continue to grow. A year ago was a rush on some items, things are more calm right now, but solid demand. Aoe Art prices have one interesting consequence - for a lot of people they act as price guide. Which means you are arguing today sword is worth the same as 20 years ago. That's how many percentage points cut compared to inflation and stock market? Anyone who sells "masterpieces" and says its a great investment should probably give examples of people buying a masterpiece from him, fully papered, and selling then for more. Otherwise one is welcome to look at the prices of Compton auction. Great blades. Quite a few were re-sold in the past decade for a fraction of what they were sold at the auction, never mind the decades that passed. Antique market certainly has periods when its profitable, but those are often off-set by the decades when prices sort of stand in place. I personally will admit not being able to make money beyond certain level. I make money far more often than loose on dumpster diving (no papers is the best by far, second is modern papers to some attributions that appear weak against the blade, third is green). Buying at Tokyo Retail, worse off - from dealers who buy at Tokyo Retail prices. That's 30-50% loss of resale potential the moment you get it out the door. In good market, you might gain it back with appreciation in maybe 6-7 years, but unless you repaper to higher level....
  41. 3 points
    Dear Peter. One here, https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-54908.html All the best.
  42. 3 points
    陰陽根 = in this case I think it is read as "in'yō kon" and it refers to the pegs on the inside of the menuki. For menuki with in'yō kon, there should be a male peg, and a female peg. 右は當協會に於て審査の結果保存刀装具と鑑定しこれを証する Upon examination by this organization, the item mentioned herein has been appraised "tosogu worthy of presentation", which judgment is hereby certified. Note this isn't the only possible translation. I have kept a bit of the formal legalese of the original document. The key point is that the paper certifies the results of the judgment. In the Japanese original they refer to "the item on the right", which is a linguistic device that doesn't sound too natural to me - so I would claim a bit of translator's license to just refer to the item as "this item" or "the item mentioned herein". (It is obvious which item the certificate is validating).
  43. 3 points
    1. 容彫 陰陽根   2. 右は當協會に於て審査の結果保存刀装具と鑑定しこれを証する Migi wa tō kyōkai ni oite shinsa no kekka hozon tôsôgu to kantei shi kore o shōsuru  3. 財團法人 日本美術刀剣保存協會 The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords I wouldn't bother trying to find a word-for-word English translation of 財團法人 日本美術刀剣保存協會. While it is true that 財団法人 is a type of incorporation structure that has some tax and operational advantages, there isn't really an exact counterpart in English, and I think it is fine to simply refer to it as a foundation. However, even the NBTHK doesn't use the word "foundation" on their English website, and they themselves just call themselves "The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords" If you are interested, I would probably tweak your English wording of the #2 above as well, but you have captured the essence of it. 4. Oops one more 二十四日 = nijūyokka.
  44. 3 points
    I just want to share what a great experience I had during my meeting with Brian. Respectful, on time and just all around stand up person. I highly recommend him! The blade is now sold! Protect it in good health Brian! Kind regards John
  45. 3 points
    Kanteisho are only written opinion, a sayagaki by Tanobe sensei (who is considered in Japan as the greatest living expert of Japanese swords) can be worth any kanteisho issued by any organization.
  46. 3 points
    Ed, So glad to see you back up and running! For anyone who doesn’t know Yakiba/Ed, I had a great experience purchasing from him and would recommend him without hesitation.
  47. 3 points
    Ammad, I consider ALL WWII gunto collectable. They are a valuable piece of probably the most terrible time our world has ever experienced, and the men that served their families and nations (on all sides) deserve to be honored and remembered. I would care for that sword as carefully as I would a National Treasure sword.
  48. 3 points
    興亜一心満鉄作之 昭和庚辰春 Kōa Isshin Mantetsu saku kore Shōwa kanoe-tatsu, haru Spring, 1940 On the spine: リ三二八 No deep meaning, just a manufacturing number. Bruce may know more.
  49. 3 points
    Hi David, This is certainly a good buy as kawashima tadayoshi (both shodai and nidai) are excellent smiths. Attach pictures of my katana made by shodai tadayoshi, his picture ( person in the middle) and oshigata for your reference. regards Ronnie
  50. 3 points
    I'm not debating just stating what it's papered to. You are free to disagree with the paper. It's papered to a specific smith and not a school so convention would dictate it would match his recognized working period. I am not knowledgeable enough to argue one way or the other.
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