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Valric

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Valric last won the day on April 9 2019

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About Valric

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    Christopher H.

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  1. Saito: Foremost polisher for Soshu work, this is where Masamune and top work by his students should go. Also highly skilled in Hitatsura work. Dodo: Excellent with Bizen masterpieces, top sashikomi artist, very well suited for swords with Choji. These polishers, especially the top one, will not take just any sword and will need an introduction by someone in the milieu who can vouch for you. You give the sword, you wait, and one day you get the sword back and a bill. And if the sword isn't up to their standards, or you've shown yourself to be insensitive to Japanese norms ("Can you polish this Shimada tanto?" "Can I get a discount because the existing polish is still ok? How about we make the polish this way. I just want hadori work, please. It's been two years, where is my sword?"), you probably will wait five years or more or get your sword back without work done. Add to that, you will need an intermediary to navigate these delicate social waters, who will be risking his own standing within Japanese society by vouching for you. As a more local and less cryptic alternative, I wholeheartedly recommend Ted Tenold as probably the best outside Japan. His abilities are recognized by Japanese experts who comment positively on the quality of his polish on fine swords. These are just broad recommendations, and this topic is vast and deserves an in-depth analysis by someone with in the milieu. The best route is always to ask Tanobe-Sensei what polisher he recommends for the job.
  2. Interesting tangent Kirill, repackage it as its own thread and let's have a go at it. It's not good to let these things sit and simmer in vaguely-related threads where they're unlikely to gather replies, data and counter-arguments. It's a worthy topic.
  3. Thank you Paul for this interesting topic. Michael sets out the big dream. There are a few cut-throat billionaires in Japan who can't even get there and money isn't the problem. It's a strange country. Here we'd just put everything in auction and let them bleed each other out to "price find" the piece. I don't know if this is only with sword because of their special cultural role or say, it extends to pottery and whatnot. Now we also have "quirks" in our aspirations, things which go off the beaten path or things we know just don't fit into the canvas. I'd love one day find a fine exemplar of Nosada's work paired with a Higo koshirae. Which is strange given my collection goals I also would love to find a particularly rustic Ko-Hoki. This one at least makes a bit of sense... I love swords with surprising stories. Discover new swords with great stories attached. It's an open-ended dream...no particular requirements here. Oh, and have many friends living close-by sharing the same passion, so that we can study and share today.
  4. Valric

    Tachi Bringback

    Jumping to conclusions isn't useful here. You should send it to a professional for appraisal, just don't expect it to be free like what we do here. There is no such thing as a "touch-up polish" - the blade either is worth a polish, or it is not. The traditionally-trained polisher will decide the most appropriate course of action, and at the end you get a bill. It's not a menu with options, and those selling menus are not the real thing. Now that being said, I think your ticket is something like this: 0. fatal flaw, no hamon, etc = -1000 EUR 1. shinto kanbun mumei with dressed-up nakago or some Muromachi blade restored with professional polish (~3K) = - ~2000 EUR 2. Ko-Uda, Naminoara, other "countryside" schools, restored with professional polish (~3K) = + ~0$-1000 EUR 3. Chikuzen or Etchu, restored with professional polish (~3K) = + ~1000-10000+$ (entering hard segment to sell, good luck). 4. Chikuzen Sairen, Jitsua, Sa before Masamune, Etchu Norishige, top masters showing O-hada, restored with top polish, new habaki, shirasaya, all the bells and whistle (~6K), pass Juyo, etc = 50'000 EUR+ Now you need to add probabilities to each segment. My guess is that we're squarely looking case 1. I do also think the hamon is strange, could be 0. I think, if any upsides, it's going to be 2. 3 is unlikely but you never know. 4 odds are close to zero. At this stage there is considerable uncertainty and the more photos, measurements, opinions, etc, that you can get, the closer you'll converge to the true probability distribution of your lottery ticket.
  5. Valric

    Tachi Bringback

    Same. initial pics gave me a good koto vibe, now I'm having all sorts of bad Shinto vibes. That lack of sori is causing strong disturbances in the Force. If it's shinto mumei with dress-up nakago you've set your money on fire. I love the vet bring back box though. It's a nice piece of GI history.
  6. The problem with not tossing them in the fire pit is that these floating papers contribute to fraud. There is an aftermarket for green papers. The nakago "scrubbings" of the time aren't exactly distinctive and it's easy to doctor the paper. It's like having an old fake passport. Last I saw you can buy green papers or kicho papers, or even honami origamis, on YJP! These are used to cook-up frauds. I mean sure, go ahead and record the name of the person who submitted it and the year it went in, but that's all that needs to be recorded. These papers are radioactive now, and while it's taking time for everyone to adjust, that's the reality. Whatever is left floating around with a green paper should be considered dubious at best and fraudulent at worst.
  7. Is there something I don't catch in the point you're trying to make? The green paper remains utterly irrelevant regardless if it is proven TRUE or FALSE because the modern NBHTK paper is the certification gold standard and the green paper adds no new information to it in terms of the sword's attribution. Or put in less formal ways, roll in a ball, toss in fireplace Perhaps you could explain a little more your specific scenario? As for NBTHK, NTHK, NPO, etc...it's all contextual. BIG NAME Green paper by itself = hot garbage BIG NAME Green paper + NTHK or NPO certificate in agreement = big suspicions: owner has been "rolling the attribution dice until results convenient" BIG NAME Green paper + NBTHK papers in agreement = never happens because green paper gets rolled and tossed into fireplace Now if it's medium name or small name on a signed sword, it's a different story. Then I trust NPO and NTHK papers because the US Shinsa is very convenient and paying 2K for hauling a blade to Japan to certify muromachi SUKESADA SAKU is just folly. Would you pay Kyomaro price for a Kyomaro with green papers and NTHK-NPO certificate? Probably not. You'd wonder why the owner doesn't like FREE MONEY by sending the sword to Japan and getting NBHTK certification. You'd be right in most cases. Not all, but the vast majority. If the "Kyomaro" comes from a dealer or someone knowledgeable with swords and it feels cheap then shhhh! it's a trap! And this inevitably gets priced in. Lately there are a few NPO "mistakes" that even the Market won't buy - for instance a Wako by Shinkai which went unsold in the infamous auction. 6K, Shinkai Wako. If it had NBHTK paper it would have sold instantly. These guys process a lot of swords with limited time and without weighty references overseas, it's normal mistakes happen. This topic is a dead horse but as we saw with Rich it's good to sometimes beat it up again to make sure it's really DEAD
  8. Forget the kicho paper. Make a dense ball and toss it in the fireplace. If the sword comes back NBTHK Hozon, this is all you need.
  9. You can't just varnish away a mei and assume the NBHTK will look elsewhere and return a papered sword. Imagine what happens when you remove your varnish: sword is both mumei (on paper) and zai (in reality). I don't know where this idea comes from but it's one that needs to go straight to the dustbin. As for this gimei sword, if someone studies the post history of the owner, I'm not even convinced its a real person. Not clear what's going on here, but I have a feeling the fraudulent scheme extends beyond the gimei + green paper combo.
  10. This sort of conversation cannot work without specifying which bracket the advice applies to. One who is fishing on Ebay for nice waks cheaply priced cannot possibly benefit from the same advice as someone hunting in the treacherous mid-range. There is something for everyone in this hobby, and I think its important to qualify where the advice applies otherwise the message is inevitably elitist. Someone can do well in the Ebay hunt, and more power to that person.
  11. For Shinto, blades which are Machi-Okuri cannot pass Juyo (there are certainly some exceedingly rare exceptions to the rule, though). Expect a big chunk of the price being deducted for such a blade. So if it screams "good deal" the Machi-Okuri, however small, is certainly to credit. While I'm sure it wouldn't bother most of us overly, it is however a substantial issue in terms of collectibility for Shinto collectors in Japan. Pristine condition is so important for later periods. It's the first priority. Unadulterated shape. Original Nakago, crisp and legible signature, good patina, these all play a preponderant role in Shinto which certainly eludes most of us and our collecting instincts. The wholesomeness of the form expressed through the pure intention of the smith is paramount in Shinto. Another way to put it is, where the beginner western Shinto collector sees "cheap" the old, hardened Japanese collector sees "ruined". At the end of the day, if its a major smith, and it's machi-okuri, then it's certainly a chance to get a major "discount" and hopefully sell close to the purchase price in the west because it screams bargain and some other western collector will want it, not understanding the gravity that Machi Okuri represents in Japan in terms of collectibility. One just needs to understand what you're getting into. It's treacherous territory. If it's not a major smith, and its Shinto Machi-Okuri, and more than a few hundred bucks I would run away. Keep your money to fight another day. As to why this is? I have a few ideas: It could be that because Shinto work lacks the luster of old koto masterworks, or its intense hataraki, that one needs to look and appreciate other parts of it, such as a fine cursive signature, and revel at the sight of rare type which flows effortlessly on the Nakago. It could also be that there is a natural filter. Collectors who don't mind dinged and beaten pieces will live just happily with Koto works. Those that require emergency aneurysm surgery in response to a mm thin kitae ware on the Shinogi of a great koto masterwork will find refuge in the perfection of Shinto. And finally there are so many shinto blades floating about that one needs a simple algorithm to sort them into the desirability ladder. Wholeness of the form is a simple criteria which filters what goes, and what falls off the ladder.
  12. Look I got a deal for you. First of all it's a worthless blade. It's BAD. No bueno. I can smell the hagire. I mean - not a small hagire, but like, five, or ten? Maybe more Hagire. Ask Jean, he's had five hagire, blade just like yours. You see, it's not worth it. Second you can't push the dosh in. It's like setting your cash on fire. So I'm going to help ya out, okay? I help strangers like that, you know. I like to put my money on fire. I'm like that. I know a polisher in Japan, he's a top guy. I mean really TOP. Big name. He does BIG polishes for BIG people. He's from the Honami clan, he's the real deal. Now, I got a slot with him, you see. One rare slot. It's ten years wait, at least. And you need to know people. I'll put your blade through my slot. I could sell that slot you see, everyone wants a blade polished by HONAMI. So what I'm sayin' is that I'm making you a BIG favor. Now, if the polisher says it's good, you don't need to repay me for the slot okay? I keep the blade, you get the slot for free. Like a favor. If the blade is bad, you cover my costs, that's all, few hundreds, its CHEAP. You see, you only win. You like to win. I can see it. PS: Jokes aside, shape is promising. It's a good lottery ticket you have here. Go with Paul and get some opinions, and in the end you might want to give it a scratch.
  13. Don't touch it with a ten foot pole. Mumei shinto waks can be bought by the kilo in Japan. Koshirae is an absolute gaudy mess. It is not a desirable set, even for a couple hundred dollars. You are better off putting these dollars in the pot and waiting for an opportunity to buy a solid piece on the forum here. For shinto and later, you want UBU (not shortened), signed, papered, and polished. And avoid Waks. Waks no bueno. Waks are a minefield. Go for Katana. In your range a good place to start is http://swordsofjapan.com/ - Ray here will help you find something within your budget which is collectible. Here is a great site to look at what sits at the top and learn: https://yuhindo.com/
  14. I've gone through many Muramasa and I do find this distinctive hamon pattern especially in Ko-Wakizashi. I wish it had its own name. A pattern of three spikes repeating at an interval. "Gunome connected by notare" just doesn't capture it. I do agree that the most characteristic would have more angular elements in place of the spikes, which we are so accustomed to in Muramasa's work. Good exercise!
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