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Everything posted by Bryce

  1. G'day Mal, I have had most success with DHL lately. The only downside is, it is very expensive. Items that have been sent via USPS sit around for a month or so, before being returned to sender. Cheers, Bryce
  2. G'day Guys, For completeness I am including some photos of the boxed tanto made in 1942 using steel smelted by the Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry Company here. I found these images in the sold section of a Japanese site. It was discussed over in the translation thread. Cheers, Bryce
  3. Thanks for sharing this Stegel. I had read about these advertisements on Darcy's Yuhindo site, but it is good to see this firsthand. Has anyone translated Mr Venizelos' letter? Cheers, Bryce
  4. Thanks Steve, The boxed swords/tanto Gassan Sadakatsu made to commemorate the birth of Prince Akihito in 1933 are packaged the same way. They obviously weren't commissioned by an individual, but were marketed by Sadakatsu as a clever sales gimic. I am beginning to think that these Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry Company swords were marketed by Sadakatsu in the same way, rather than being commissioned by the company. Cheers, Bryce
  5. On closer inspection, the date is definitely 1942. Cheers, Bryce
  6. G'day Guys, Unfortunately this isn't mine. I found the images on the net. Cheers, Bryce
  7. G'day Guys, I have come across this tanto, made by Gassan Sadakatsu using steel smelted by the Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry company. It is dated on the box either 1941 or possibly 1942. What I am trying to find out is if there is anything in the writing on the box, which gives some clue as to whether these was commissioned by the company as gifts, or were they just made by Gassan Sadakatsu using this new special steel. Cheers, Bryce
  8. G'day Guys, Just realised I had doubled up one of the kao's in the above photo. Here is an updated collage comparing kao's from five other blades forged between 1940 and 1943 with the suspect one. Cheers, Bryce
  9. G'day John, The kao is close, but it isn't right. If you look at the blade as a whole, the only thing that looks remotely Gassan is the kao. I think the Gassan signed blades that don't have a kao are the ones made by his students. They look different from all the others with his kao. Here is a collage of Gassan Sadakatsu's kao's from around the same time, with the suspect one in the bottom right.
  10. Here is a side by side comparison with my blade. Both blades were supposedly made in 1940, so there is no chance that the differences can be attributed to Gassan Sadakatsu changing his style over time. Cheers, Bryce
  11. G'day Guys, I think I have found a gimei example of one of these Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry Company swords. Everything about this blade is off. What do you guys think? Cheers, Bryce
  12. G'day Dave, I have only looked at his long blades, not wakizashi or tanto. About 60% of his blades are signed katana-mei and 40% tachi-mei. It almost looks random, there is no pattern to it that I can see. I have only come across 4 examples without his kao. Two of these are star stamped. There are very few examples to look at, but in general they don't look as good as his blades with a kao. Cheers, Bryce
  13. G'day Guys, I have a database of 53 of his long blades that I have found on the net. His most common hada is ayasugi, followed by masame, followed by soshu in the ratio of 4:2:1. Then there is the odd example of other styles such as koitame. Cheers, Bryce
  14. Bryce

    The Gassan Habaki

    G'day Guys, A particular style of habaki is associated with the Gassan smiths. There are several variations of this style, but it consists of roundish bare patches within a cat-scratch background. The bare patches are arranged in lines. These habaki can be found in silver foil, gold foil, solid silver, silver gilt and possibly solid gold. I have been doing some research into the origins and symbolism of this design, but haven't got very far. The design seems to have originated with Gassan Sadakatsu. Gassan Sadakazu's blades aren't found with this style of habaki, except perhaps towards the end of his life when Sadakatsu was thought to have been making his blades. Here are some shots of my silver gilt example from 1940. Can anybody shed any more light on this subject? Cheers, Bryce
  15. G'day Bob, It is definitely a pattern favoured by the Gassan smiths. There are different variations of it, but it consists, of a series of bare patches within a cat-scratch background, arranged in lines. Here is my silver gilt, Gassan Sadakatsu habaki. Does any one know what this pattern represents or how it came about? Cheers, Bryce
  16. G'day Guys, Here is a closeup of the habaki. You can see it is actually gold foil, identical to the AOIJapan example above. Cheers, Bryce
  17. G'day Guys, Here is another one that AOIJapan had last year. John, this is Sadakatsu's soshu style hada. It sort of resembles a mix of his masame and ayasugi. As with all of his hada, he made different versions, some with very fine layers and some with thick layers like this example. I don't think this example can be gimei. It must just be the poor quality photos which make both the nakago jiri and his kao look odd. Cheers, Bryce
  18. G'day Guys, Just as an aside, that habaki is probably silver gilt rather than solid gold. The patination suggests this as well. Solid gold Gassan habakis are very, very rare. The photos of the nakago aren't very clear, but the nakago jiri is very unusual for Sadakatsu. I am not crying gimei, especially with such low res photos, but I guess this just highlights the variation you can get in these features. Cheers, Bryce
  19. G'day Guys, So far I have identified 53 examples of Gassan Sadakatsu katana from the net. This looks like it may be about as far as I can go without more help. Here are a couple of extra things I have picked up. The average length of his blades is 68.0cm with the shortest being 64cm and longest 72.7cm. All, but a handful are signed with his kao. Of these with no kao, two are star stamped. As a general rule, those without a kao, don't seem to be quite as good as his kao'd blades. I have only found two star stamped examples, both made in 1943. I have found only six kogarasu examples. Of these, three were made with steel smelted by the Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry Company. It almost seems as if he set out to make a blade in every style he knew to see how they would turn out using this new steel. Or perhaps he was commissioned by the company to do this, although there is no mention of this in the company history. Cheers, Bryce
  20. G'day Stephen, I have a mumei shinshinto katana with what looks like similar hada and hamon. I have always thought I would love to find a gunto with a beautiful blade like that and guess what, you have beaten me to it! Look forward to some more photos of the blade. Cheers, Bryce
  21. G'day Guys, I have been putting together a database of Gassan Sadakatsu long blades that I have found on the net. So far I have documented 48 examples. Some interesting stats that have come out of this are: - 60% signed katana-mei vs 40% tachi-mei. Almost seems to be random. - Ayasugi is the most common style followed by masame and soshu in the ratio 4:2:1 - Kogarasu-maru examples are very rare. So far I have found only five, three of which are these Japan Iron Sand Steel Company examples. - I have found 6 examples made in 1933 to commemorate the birth of Crown Prince Akihito. Unlike the Japan Iron Sand Steel Company examples these are all identical shinogi zukuri, signed katana-mei and done in ayasugi. If anyone has an example in their possession I would love it if you could pm me with the details of your sword such as form, year, mei, nagasa other details etc. Cheers, Bryce
  22. G'day John, I think it may be just a fancier option. The normal chuso button is also a sakura, just not as flashy. Cheers, Bryce
  23. G'day Mike, As others have said there is a very good chance it will turn up again. I have had similar things happen to me on several occasions now and in all cases the swords did eventually get to me. I once had a sword disappear off tracking for 6 months, before turning up again. Cheers, Bryce
  24. G'day Guys, Here is my 1940 Gassan Sadakatsu made with steel smelted by the Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry Company. Beautiful tight masame hada. Cheers, Bryce
  25. G'day Guys, Below is a summary of everything I have learned about the company from the 40 year history. The company was formed in 1934 as the Japan Iron Sand Industry Company. Its aim was to mine iron sand and manufacture vanadium steel and titanium oxide. Although it was able to extract vanadium from iron sand and manufacture vanadium steel, it struggled to smelt iron sand profitably. This all changed in 1938 when the rotary kiln method of producing sponge iron from iron sand was introduced. In February 1940 the company changed its name to the Japan Iron Sand Steel Industry Company to better reflect its status as an industrial steel manufacturer. In 1940 it also completed construction of a new factory in Hachinohe to complement the existing one at Takasago. By this stage it was producing sponge iron, vanadium, titanium oxide, ordinary steel stock, shaped steel and a range of special steels such as vanadium steel. It was also manufacturing a range of tools such as drill bits and saw blades form the specialty steels it produced. At the time, it was the only Japanese industrial steel manufacturer using iron sand as the base ore. Cheers, Bryce
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