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Minatogawa Shrine Swords


Ed
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Looking for input/opinions on Minotogawa swords.  

 

Having spoken to a couple of members privately, I thought I would post this publicly and get as many opinions as people are willing to give.  

 

I understand that they are more rare than other war time gendaito such as Yasukuni-To, and they sell for premium prices of 8-10K or more these days. 

 

Yet, I can't help but wonder:

 

1. Are people actively seeking them at these prices?

 

2. Would you purchase one at these prices?

For sake of this inquiry, I am referring to pristine pieces or as pristine as they can be in all original war time condition ie; excellent koshirae with proper tassel, kikusui habaki, ubu, signed along with kikusui mon, and dated.

 

3. What makes them so valuable or not in "your" opinion and why?

 

4. Which of these smith's do "you" consider to be the "best" and why?

 

Thanks for your opinion.

Ed

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The value of a Minatogawa is basically what some one wants to pay. The market for a WW2 sword at 8-10K  is quite small and specialist. To the right buyer, it is the market value at the moment. 

But beware of counterfeit copies, I have heard of a couple, and at these prices, it makes counterfeiting an attractive proposition. 

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Gassan weren't Minatogawa smiths.  The list of Smiths, are as follows: Masatada; Masataka; Masaaki; Masanao and Masakiyo. 

However, Gassan Sadakatsu was commissioned by the Minatogawa Shrine, in 1933, to make Six presentation swords.  Each had the Kikusui mon engraved on the blade, as well as som Kanji (see p.26 Herman Wallinger, Gendaito made at the Minatogawa shrine).  I am fortunate to own one of these Sadakatsu,  which is in Japan at the moment, being polished.

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Michimasa was a shrine smith too.

 

These swords are so rare and hard to find (for me).

 

I didn't find much pictures to look at. Here are two on my HD for my personal information. I collect every little piece. The most swords i saw in the last times where fakes.

 

post-3496-0-05182400-1547742128_thumb.jpgpost-3496-0-31923700-1547742139_thumb.jpg

 

The owners of a sword of these smiths that herman wallinga is describing in his book could be really proud to have such a sword. My copy of the book is hard used.

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Of the swords that were for sale in Tampa, the Masanao was far better than the others and was the one my good friend bought from the seller. The blade had a beautiful hamon with deep, wide ashi.

 

 

The list of Smiths, are as follows: Masatada; Masataka; Masaaki; Masanao and Masakiyo. 

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I’ve seen a few of these blades at shows and more online. Just my opinion, but the price and reputation outpaces the quality - pretty handedly. Don’t get me wrong, on average, I’d say it’s better than your run of the mill gendaito, but not by a large margin. Pay $10k for a sword that has the quality of most $5k swords without a kikusui mon? Pass. They are rare. That is the one quality that I would acknowledge that rightfully drives the cost up.

 

Again, just my opinion. Feel free to ridicule ;-)

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I agree with Joe, about the relative values.  I believe Yasukuni blades should also be grouped here.  The average Yasukunito, is about 60% more than a compareable quality non Yasukuni.  What makes them more expensive?  Desireability!  As well as Nihonto/Gendaito collectors,  these swords are highly prized,  by militaria collectors.  I believe, that it is the Latter, which have driven the prices to be what they are.

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About quality and flaws of minatogawa swords. Thats not really fits in my opinion. Yasukunito and Minotogawa sword must not pass any external quality check what i have in mind. They got never in Tamahagene shortage. And the smiths at these shrines where very skillfull.

 

If there is a shrine sword with flaws i would check the signature very carefully. A Ferrari with the quality of a Lada dont fit. The blade must fit to the signature.

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The most star stamped gendaito is see are flawless or mostly flawless and from high quality. I'm a little shocked to hear that yasukunito and minotogawa shrine swords with authentic may should have forging flaws. These jinja were the most meaningfull forgeries in Japan during the Japanese time of nationalism. I would really see some of these shrine swords with flaws.

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Thanks for everyones input.  As far as quality, flaws or being a masterpiece, it is the same with all sword-smiths.  Not all of their works are masterpieces, quality varies. Sword making was not, is not based on a perfect formula when dealing with pattern welded steel, which is essentially what Japanese swords are/were in english terms.  You can never be certain that all imperfections have been removed from a billet.  That is why you occasionally see a blister or fukure become evident during polish.

 

As far as what was released with the shrines blessing may have changed towards the end when resources where scarce and weapons were needed.  That could explain why there are some examples with flaws.

 

You must remember that not everything was set in stone, rules were made to be broken.

 

To me the only feasible explanation for today's value of the Minotogawa swords is related to their rarity.  There were less smiths forging these than the Yasukuni-To, and many of them ended up on the ocean floor. 

 

For example there was a nice Masataka post war commemorative sword in shirasaya which just sold for a little over $4000

 

Make no mistake, some of them are beautiful swords, but 10K.  I suppose it is personal preference.

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At the end of the day the price is what you are willing to pay to have some thing. And not always what you can re-sell it for. There is a cost of ownership to you. If you value your cost of ownership at $4K, great, likewise $10K also great, it is an individuals prerogative. Their own value judgement. And Ed you are correct, personal preference rules.       

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Neil has hit it on the head, the value really is in the overall history and context of the blade. Kai Gunto in general command higher prices than Shin Gunto chiefly due to the relative rarity of them. You are adding rarity onto rarity for Minatogawa Shrine swords with original mounts, I think without the mounts some of the importance and history is lost. 

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Kai Gunto in general command higher prices than Shin Gunto chiefly due to the relative rarity of them. 

I don't think so John. The blade is the key not the koshirae. The most Kai Gunto are Showa-to. Blades from good smith has thier value. 

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Not with Gendaito or Antique.  Example, my Sadakatsu doesn't have Koshirae.  In fact, it came in a Shirasaya and I believe it hadn't been mounted.  As said earlier, this is one of six special order swords for the Minatogawa Shrine.   How has this lost it's historical value?

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This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one, unless your post is really relevant and adds to the topic..

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