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Everything posted by jlawson

  1. I am sure on the overall percentages it is low but I can say that for the last few years the number has been rising. Also with the exchange rate like it was last year there is quite a bit of money getting exchanged from those visitors. I just don't really understand moving it a full month later regardless.
  2. I have also been told the same dates. Quite a mistake if you ask me as many US collectors will have a rough time getting away the weekend before Thanksgiving. Hadn't heard about a taikai.
  3. Thats correct, however there is a bunch of information there that is very valuable regardless of the photos. I know there is also a digital version of the book (in Japanese) and photos that I have seen as well floating around.
  4. Thanks everyone for pitching in here. Will leave this up till Friday and then send everyone an email for confirmation with numbers and costs etc. We've had a pretty good turnout but certainly could use a few more to help get this translation done. Thanks again for everyone's help.
  5. Not sure what happened to this post as the original post had all of the detail about the translation etc but seems to be missing. Sent a PM to Brian already so will see.
  6. I see your meaning now and I also agree. It will never be as good as it is now, and now isn't as good as it was before.
  7. Sorry to disagree but your statement isn't fact. These are definitely not the good old days in regards to sword availability, price, and trying to make a living buying and selling them for the folks that have that as a vocation.
  8. I am fortunate enough to have another career and this is all just play money for me in my hobby however for those who this is their vocation I can completely understand the escalation of prices for everything but their merchandise and the difficulty in their situation. Swords have gone down in value while the costs and hassle have risen. Additionally the merchandise is getting harder to find and the collectors are getting pickier and more educated. With the rising costs also come the costs of restoration which used to be a good gamble on a great sword, now not so much. If you restore something you better love it because more often than not you are going to be buried in it cost-wise. Remember the good old days of Mark Wahlberg bringing trash cans full of swords to shows and their being incredible swords there and the costs of getting it restored and making a profit when you wanted to move it along? Those days are gone. Now the market is tougher. All is not doom and gloom though if you are a collector. Great deals can be had if you have the cash A great example of this was seen last weekend when a Juyo Ichimonji blade sat unsold on Fred Weisberg's table for 35k. That sword (not long ago) would have brought 50-75k.
  9. Here is another copy of the book as well located on another site http://www.shibuiswords.com/choshutsubaBK.html
  10. Markus Sesko is working on a private translation for a few of us for the Choshu No Tsuba book by Murakami. This is a great book with the school information and lots of info on the lineages of this very large school. Here is a copy of the book also from Grey's site http://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/books/b639-choshu-no-tsuba-murakami If you are interested in getting a copy of this translation and helping to support the translation please reply here or PM me and I will add you to the list. If you attended the NBTHK lecture in Tampa you will recognize several of these pieces as from my collection and if you signed up there I already have you on the list. We are hoping to get enough people to put the translation for $50 but that requires a certain number to join the effort as you know. Thanks.
  11. Marius, I am not aware of any new publications but rather I was referring to many of the discussions we have here on NMB and elsewhere online. In regards to it being copper vs Yamagane I am relatively sure that if one wanted they could patinate copper to look like anything you want it to (if you spent the right amount of time). That deeper color can be achieved by performing multiple processes of what we did but time was a factor and we made some choices on it. Also yes the Chinese fakes are getting better. I have to wonder if part of the reason they are getting better is because we are "educating" them as to why their stuff looks fake. It is a scary world out there for collectors and will continue to get worse.
  12. Brian it also reminds me of Umetada work as well. Very unusual. Someone spent a lot of time with the inlay, for sure.
  13. I had toyed with the idea of resurrecting a show in Texas but after looking more closely at the costs and coordination totally agree Chris that the hobby won't support more than 3 shows annualy very well right now (maybe never). Also agree with your comments about having other activities but in case of Tampa for example, there were multiple activities including archery, lectures etc but it was the same old folks attending the show. Without bringing in different people what happens is just a dealer swap where merchandise is regurgitated from person to person, and show to show.
  14. Mr. Ko-Kinko strikes again...... :-)
  15. Copper but a bit abused. Looks to me goto-esque although not goto of course. Very hard to tell from the photos but could be sanmai construction etc, as I have seen similar in the past. Not much else I can offer based on the photos presented.
  16. Although it is easy to criticize the work of others I have to wonder how much advertising was done for this show to the local public this year. Perhaps there was a lot but, it sure seemed like there was not very many people coming in from the outside this year as compared to prior. (Just my view though) However outside folks do not guarantee sales but it does raise awareness of the hobby and hopefully we can convert one or two of them into students and collectors one day.
  17. Also one other important item that I learned on this journey. For me I have always heard that a trademark etc of Ko-Kinko work was that they were "amateurish" and not what one would expect from later pieces. After going through this process though I am really at odds with that statement. If this was your job day in and day out, your tsuba would not look "amateurish". Mine certainly did because this is my first tsuba but honestly, for a skilled craftsman it does not make sense. These things that pass for Ko-Kinko because they look old and are somewhat crude perhaps they are clever fakes as well or tsuba made by amateurs. It is certainly a scary thought.
  18. Brian, I was really careful on how I worded that and purposeful to not cause embarrassment for anyone who thought it was older.I have a great amount of respect for many of the people I showed it to and would never want to embarrass them. It would be easy to have this thread move to exposing those who think they are experts etc and extolling how they were fooled but that is not the important part nor the intent of this post. Had I not have been the one who produced this tsuba I would have been fooled myself and would have thought it was much older. That is why this lesson is so important to me because I have seen first hand how these things can be manufactured to look much older than they are.
  19. I have seen quite a bit written recently on Ko-Kinko tsuba and judging the quality and age of these tsuba by the color of the material, the oxidation, and the amateur looking work done on them etc. This has really bothered me for some time as classifying things that are Ko-Kinko has elevated their prices and in many case their stature in the collection community. When looking at these pieces the ability for them to be made even today and patination applied is something that is pretty scary to me as a collector and unfortunately easier than one might think. I recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks with Ford Hallam to learn more about patination and tsuba art in general. During the last week of our work together we produced the tsuba you will see below. This was done in a day and half and is a faithful replication of how they were doing the work as well. Everything is hand done including hammering the plate, raising the rim, and the nanako. This piece was done by me ( very much an amateur) and patination, seki-gane, and lead plug added by Ford. I actually was able to show this piece to some of the communities tsuba folks this weekend at Tampa and all but one said it was a very old muromachi tsuba. The point here is that if this can be done as a one off in a day and a half you better believe that an expert working on something like this for a month could be done to deceive and would be very difficult to tell. This whole experience has given me a very new perspective on the dating of items by the way they "look" and feel. This also brings to focus for me that in order for us to tell exactly how old things are we are going to likely have to employ some type of scientific non-destructive testing. I am sure that at some point the sword certification groups are going to have to employ these methods or risk letting things through that are made to deceive.
  20. There are a great many Shinto Juyo pieces. There are also Juyo Shinshinto Pieces.
  21. Sad news. Dr. Ford was the reason I got into swords in the first place as I met him when I bought my first ratty shinto sword and he invited me to come to his house to learn more about it. I remember spending many weekends at his home in Breckenridge over the years with Billie and friends seeing amazing works of art. Dr. Ford gave me so much knowledge freely and asked for nothing in return. A true gentleman and teacher. He will be missed.
  22. Outstanding and very unusual. I like it a lot.
  23. One other thing to understand is that the concept of a collection is subjective at best. Especially in Japan. Your comment about a top level collector must have a Goto piece as an example is applying norms about what you consider a collection to be. I would submit that for some - a collection, even a world class collection might be only a few pieces. I have seen a few of these. This also is core to the mentality of collectors in other fields like stamps, or comic books or whatever. I struggle with this myself as when younger in the field I bought everything and got an enormous amount of things. It is much more gratifying when you move from amassing a sizable collection to amassing a great collection. Size of the collection should matter less than the quality of the pieces contained. In regards to your other question about considering what is better or best, that is the real key to this issue isn't it. I am very glad that we all have different opinions on this as there are a great variety of pieces out there that appeal to different people, otherwise this hobby would become pretty boring. If your search is for the best pieces that is also a subjective stance depending on what you consider best. A great example of this is Tagane. I absolutely love fantastic tagane work and value pieces that are carved in Iron over some soft metal pieces because I can appreciate the level of work it took to carve them. However my bias to an iron dragon is completely subjective to your love of patinated shibuichi where you can see the subtle effects of the rim and the plate. There is no right answer and nor should there be. Everyone has an opinion and therefore a bias about what is "better or best". Study hard, read, appreciate the small things in fittings, and form your own conclusions.
  24. I guess the question of is there a better way is possibly, however I think the better question is why would we need to? Understanding that these craftsmen were extremely talented and could work in multiple styles and techniques often create a pitfall for those who would classify a specific tsuba as exactly "this". There are certainly traits and characteristics afforded to specific schools and indications of specific smiths as well but it is a very dangerous and slippery slope to allocated tsuba to specific boxes with complete absolution . As many of you know as well here for every "rule" in what we know we see fringe pieces that break those rules and call into question our own neat little boxes and definitions. The current system of identifying tsuba based on common traits is about the best we can do today and has worked (in general) for years. Without having a stock number printed on the back of them and everyone having a dictionary of every stock number assigned to each group we have to use what we have. The good news is that ambiguity leads to a fair number of dissention of opinion between experts and causes us to re-examine data based on those challenges and often times allows us to forward the collective knowledge of the hobby by changing what we thought was the "truth".
  25. FYI this works quite well however the tech needed to laser scan the original tang in 3D to make it 100% accurate is expensive. Additionally the "part" depending on the quality of the printer has minute lines in it for all but the most expensive prototyping machines and is not 100% accurate because of these "code lines". But the technology is pretty cool. Ive printed quite a bit from a makerbot but requires knowledge of a 3d mapping program etc. However it is not far off where we will be able to do this.
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