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NCO sword - matching and non-matching serial # value impacts

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Hello all -  

I am curious to everyone's general thoughts and opinions regarding matching serial numbers on NCO swords.  It's a topic Bruce P. and I recently chatted about.   Here is my go at the topic -     

 

For most common variations of swords, there are enough of them on the market that I believe matching serial numbers is the way to go for the serious collector.  Mis-matched serial numbers significantly impacts value.  

 

That said -  What about mis-matched serial #s on swords that are much less common? ... like coppers and the (dawson) variation 3 side-latch NCO swords?... especially if the serial numbers are close (within range of 100 or 200 digits?).     It's probably a very obvious point that matching serial numbers on rare variations are the preferred way to go and a safer investment,  but if a serial number is mis-matched on a rare sword, I can't help but think that marriage between saya and sword was likely done in period, likely at arsenal.   Does that impact value? - I am thinking YES, but not nearly as much as the more common variations of swords.   

 

I am wondering if our other forum members have other (or similar) thoughts on this matter?    (Note: if this has been previously been discussed on a thread I am overlooking, please point me that way  :glee: )  

 

I hope everyone had a Happy New Years Day ! !     

 

Dan 

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Pretty basic thoughts from me, Dan. Matched is always best! I'd always be looking to upgrade from a mismatched sword to a complete one.

 

However, as you rightly point out, if a sword is rare enough, whether it matches or not is little concern... then apply point 1.

 

Having AN example is better than not, but matching swords are hardly uncommon, so if I was starting a collection, I'd look for matched, unadulterated, neat examples and happily pay a little more for the value and quality.

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Dan, Steve answered your question perfectly. One of my copper handles has mismatched numbers, but it is entirely original in all respects. I got the sword from the relative of an Australian soldier who souvenired it in New Guinea. It was collected with mismatched numbers, so either the Japanese soldier needed a repair, or the Aussie soldier made a good sword from two. Either way, it is original to the time. So mismatched or not, I love it, and value it as a good example of a rare copper handle. 

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Neil has also hit on a very rare exception. If you know, without a shadow of doubt, the sword was brought back mismatched, I'd consider that the same worth as a matching one in collecting value. You know it wasn't a post war replacement, a dealer swap or some other shenanigans.

 

Of course, as we often say around here, a story is worth nothing without tangible proof. Now, Please don't be upset, Neil. I'm not even suggesting you made that up (know you're a completely stand up type), but any future buyer would lose the 'value' imparted by knowing. As a sword passes on, it loses history and becomes heresy to any new buyer without proof.

 

I know the island sword I posted is original, the finding of the sword, a bit of history... to me that makes the sword incredibly valuable as a verified 'genuine' example of a sword with such questionable peers... but if I sold it (not mine to sell and I never would if it was), then it just becomes a 'previous owner said' with absolutely nothing to back it up, making it just another questionable sword from a questionable group of swords littered with fakes and who knows what.

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Steve, again you are correct in your assessment. I think you looked at this sword about 5 years ago when it came up for sale in Victoria. The seller provided me with his relatives war records in New Guinea. It was from a deceased estate sale, who new nothing about swords, and not a dealer. So I am relying on the families memories of the sword and their knowledge of its history. They didn't know it was a copper handle. So this word of mouth is all I have to go by. But it is all original. 

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Dan, there is no published price list for swords. Just an expectation of price or value based on recent transactions. You will see on the for sale section, swords pegged at a price (sellers expectation) and gradually reduce to meet buyers expectations. 

This applies to NCOs as well. I have paid over the odds on occasion for something I really wanted. Also picked up some bargains, matching and mismatched. 

Price/value  is dictated by the prevailing market. 

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Dan, there is no published price list for swords. Just an expectation of price or value based on recent transactions. You will see on the for sale section, swords pegged at a price (sellers expectation) and gradually reduce to meet buyers expectations. 

This applies to NCOs as well. I have paid over the odds on occasion for something I really wanted. Also picked up some bargains, matching and mismatched. 

Price/value  is dictated by the prevailing market.

 

Ha! Two times I've paid TWICE the market value on something I REALLY WANTED!

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Overpaying now usually works out in a couple of years as prices rise anyway.

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You guys have summed it up pretty good, so i'll just add that from what i've seen, Matched swords are the 'Norm'.

I'd have to go digging to get a more accurate figure, but i'd say only 20-25% of swords are mismatched.

So when sellers try to use the fact that its matching, hence, rarer, don't fall for the sales pitch.

 

BTW-

Neil, i thought one of your coppers looked familiar, and now that you mention that story.... it's the one with the beautiful chocolate brown patina on the handle? One of the nicest IMO.

I went to look at it for a fellow who lives in NSW, the deceased estate was in Sydney, but for some reason the sword was being sold in Melbourne (so i went to see it in hand). It was mismatched with scabbard being 1719. It sticks in my memory because i have a matching 1721, only 2 numbers away!  Blade was covered in cosmoline.  He ended up being the second highest bidder and missed out.

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Gents - 

Thanks for sharing your stories and opinions on this topic -  I value your thoughts for sure.   Cool stories on the copper!  I have decent, matched copper but no provenance ... that Steve and Bruce helped me purchase.   Having the history is really cool!  

  
I think another factor is $$$.   A person buys what one can afford.   I also collect other types of militaria and I notice some folks go for an item with some damage, or repairs, etc... simply because it falls within their own realm of affordability ...and I respect that.   

 

Just FYI -  I was looking for a variation 3 similar to the one on the link below, but I have decided that time (patience) and money is on my side, so I am avoiding (I ignore the garbage knot, etc... attached to it and focused on the sword).  It's a mis-matched sword, but serial range isn't too far off.  The serial number on sword is 202173, and serial number on scabbard is 202043.   

 

Just sharing for awareness:https://www.ebay.com...0?ul_noapp=true

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In any given collecting arena I approach pricing collectable items in this manner;

  1. Fair market pricing
    A price range as dictated by the market, (as noted by Neil).  The focus item should be a condition of being correct as originally produced for use.  accompanying attachments and components may or may not be original to the item,( serial numbers may or may not match), but are correct in design model and production run of the focus item.  Focus Item may or may not show wear consistant for its age and use.
  2. Premium pricing
    A price range at the top, or high end of market value.  The focus item should be in exemplary condition as originally produced for use.  accompanying attachments and components are desired be original to the focus item,(matching serial numbers), but may not be original,(non-matching serial numbers) are exemplary condition and again are correct in design model and production run of the focus item.  Focus item, attachments, and associated components show minimal wear.
  3. Discounted pricing
    A price range at the bottom,( or slightly below), market value.  The focus item should be a condition of being correct as originally produced for use.  focus item may or may not be missing accompanying attachments and or components.  accompanying attachments and components may be correct to design, but incorrect to model and or production run of focus item.  Focus item and or accompanying attachments and components show heavy wear and or slight damage.  and of course no expectation of matching serial numbers.
  4. "Junk" pricing
    An amount I am willing to toss down a hole and walk away... The core of the focus item and or just the attachments and components being correct as originally produced for use.  However, the focus item and or  accompanying attachments and components, (if any), are of such misused and damaged condition as to render them unserviceable.  The condition and construction of the focus item and accompanying attachments and components are such a bastardized amalgam as to not be representative of any definable model or design.   "Why would I buy anything in this condition....sometimes I just want to put the poor thing out of its misery, give it a decent burial in a box where no one will ever look apon it again."

    And then there is:
  5. Madonna pricing
    There is no justification for the price.  The market value doesn't matter... I am going to have the focus item.  You can see the fever glaze in my eyes and see the shaking of my hand as I quickly pay the money I can't afford for the item which I scoop up so gently and hold so lovingly that my love/wife becomes jealous...  An item of exquisite pristine all original as produced condition.  Or an item of such historical note or rarity as to be either a one of a kind, or one of only a few known to exist.  An item I readily and proudly display with such flushed excitement that everytime I start going on about it my love/wife rolls her eyes and leaves the room.... and I don't even notice she has gone...
     
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If the price is correct, why not. But I recent

y saw what I think was a real copper handle but with a wrong saya. The guy wanted $1800 if I remember correctly. For one in original condition, maybe, but for a frankensword, no way, sir!

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