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tokashikibob

From $40 To 55K

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Well, he trained with Shintogo Kunimitsu, worked in late Kamakura, one of his blades is kokuho, and it appears to have a Hon'ami kantei assigning a value of 100 yen.  Having said all of that, yes, this is a crazy amount to pay without high level bullet proof NBTHK papers already!  

 

http://www.sho-shin.com/sag3.html

 

 

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Perhaps one of the most beautiful blades I have ever had the privilege to hold and examine was a Tokubestsu Juyo tanto attributed to Yukimitsu. It was suriage  with a shumei. It came from the Compton collection with a juyo certificate and the later owner submitted to tokuju and it passed. I have often said if the owner had offered it to me in exchange for my entire collection I would have been very tempted to say yes!. 

I think when it sold at the Compton sale it made around $120k. After re-papering I am guessing it would have a value nearer $200K or maybe even more.

This one has a mei. If it is right and polishes it will prove to be one of the best bargains bought online. Someone (more than one) obviously thought it right and restorable. 

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My bet is on shoshin. It has all the signs. People wouldn't have bid that high without having looked at it in hand, and without decent knowledge.
I think someone got a score. Maybe I'm wrong...but I don't think so. If that blade was on a higher level auction, it would have gotten double or triple that amount imho.
 

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An example for becoming a treasure from $20 to much more.   :)

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Agreed Brian...buyer has lots of room for profit. Why o why cant i run into something like that at a yard sale...LOL

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This is not as much a gamble as it seems. I'd bet shoshin and there's a small part of the kissaki that looks like you could get a good look at the hada/hamon in hand. Notice the internet bidders stopped at $2k so the two (or more) who pushed it up to $55k were most likely in the room and would of been able to take a much better look.

 

Worst case scenario (other than having a hagire or being only shintetsu left which is the risk you take with anything out of polish) it looks easily Kamakura so even if gimei only the better smiths/schools were making tanto like this for the bakufu making it a juyo candidate. Then the upside I think Paul eloquently eluded to.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if the new owner was a member here.

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As fickle as the shinsa process, and especially the juyo shinsa process, seems to be, this is still a huge risk.  If it doesn't paper at NBTHK, it would be a unmitigated disaster for the new owner.  For the sake of the courageous person who bought it, I really hope that it papers and goes Tokuju!  You notice that the auction house starting bid was 20 bucks.  If it is shoshin (and I do agree that there is a good chance it is), then thank goodness they advertised well and it didn't go for just $20.  If it had, it might have ended up being used to cut sushi!

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I don't think the Juyo process is fickle. However the likelihood of something passing is effected by the number of works by the same smith/school submitted to a given shinsa. So if you are submitting a Hizen Tadayoshi blade it is quite possible there will be several others and one or more may be a better example than the one you submit. As a result they will pass yours won't. In the case of a Yukimitsu they are so  highly regarded (justifiably) I think if this is authentic it would almost certainly pass. The other point to remember is that many if not all tanto of this period were of single piece construction so there is no core steel to show through when the blade is polished. Some years ago there was blade posted here that was so polished down on one side that it looked off-set to the nakago but it was still perfectly healthy with no sign of shintetsu. I would guess that would be true of this blade too.

So all in all not such a great risk for polish or if right getting through high level shinsa.

Having said all that someone still had to have the confidence and the funds to risk 50K+. If they are right they have made a great buy if not they stand the chance of loosing 70 or 80% of their investment.

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I don't disagree with anything you said Paul, especially the last line.  You did point out one of the ways that juyo shinsa can be fickle though!  I am hoping that the person who bought it is a member or participant on NMB and comes forward once they have papers, if not sooner.  Cheers Bob

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Guest Rayhan

There is a legendary, luminary, sensei and brilliant school behind that tanto (if proven to be authentic). That's the 200k tanto. Art has no boundaries.

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Hi Bob

I think the only disagreement is in the use of the word fickle. To me rightly or wrongly it suggests unreliable, inconsistent or without order. What I was trying to suggest is that there is some reasoning and logic behind how it is done even though the methodology does introduce an element of luck with regard to timing of submission.

 

Jeremiah

the 200K was a number off the top of my head but I don't think it is an exaggeration, in fact if it is right there is no reason for it not to go higher. As Ray says art knows no boundaries and if you think that this represents the equivalent of a Rembrandt, Vermeer or Van Gogh of the sword world and is actually much rarer than works by these masters, then 200k is actually quite a bargain!! 

(still beyond the range of us mere mortals though :( )

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That is fair enough Paul.  Your analogy to painting masters is good, and to carry it forward, one would have to have a lot of confidence to buy a painting signed Rembrandt or Picasso without authentication or a great deal of personal knowledge and certainty.  Assuming it papers, then the buyer has my great admiration.  Cheers, Bob

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It's always good to keep things in perspective.  $55k to some folks is like you taking a risk for a few grand for an on-line Tadayoshi that didn't paper :)  I don't mean any offense, because I have to remind myself all the time.

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However, usually the folks who can afford to take such a “bet” do not normally hang around in regional auctions or on the web, scouting for bargains. They normally go directly to Iida Koendo, Sokkendo, Darcy etc where they buy papered and verified examples of top smiths.

So, this goes deeper than the surface. Probably the bidders indeed studied the blade at length, discussed it with experts, examined the mei and the hada, checked out the sayagaki handwriting etc

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I agree Michael.  Or else they are dealers from either the US or Japan.  

 

A dealer was my first thought, this reminds me of a story Darcy mentioned a while ago about a gimei Masamune he bought at Christies. Everyone thought it was gimei iirc which made them hesitant to bid on something that turned out to be a Sadamune or another high level smith. Although I think it is probably Shoshin I get the feeling the downside is at most ~$30k and there's terrific upside.

 

I don't shop at anywhere near this level so take it with a grain of salt...

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