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Merry friends of "Y! Auction".

Yasaka Azuma

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:laughing: I think they used much better technology than the old picture! They are made of steel rather than iron but they do pop up in copper and brass. That one with a fukurin is the first I have seen. I have one myself with an inlaid silver 'Moon' and a hitsu-ana cut in, so there may have been some embellishing going on as well - 'gold' overlay etc.

my goto (2).jpg

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We have discussed commemorative paperweights before [ like that below ] but one has turned up in a combined auction. i-img640x360-1552603114upjw6k4676.jpg



I think this is how some tsuba copies get confused with what they start out as, this auction does not mention the storage box that would have come with the paperweight, so that subsequent owners have no reference to what they really have. I am not criticizing the estimates by the auction house in this case, the okimono alone may be worth the estimate, but there is a lack of relevant provenance on the tsuba paperweight.

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It's true that when the new owner, who doesn't know the situation, puts it up, it suddenly looks solemn, like a real icon or cross. I won't severely criticize that metal plate, lest I incur the wrath of Christians.:quiet:


This is off the topic, but it is reported in Japan that there is a huge cicada outbreak in the eastern states of the U.S. Mito Eizui's cicadas also appear repeatedly in all seasons. And someone buys it at an undeservedly high price.



蝉図小柄 フェイク&龍池軒英随.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...


The staple products.









It is difficult to tell from the image, but the gold coloration is unnatural. Also, the fact that the back side is filled with resin is also artificial.
However, the front side looks good at first glance, so you may be tempted to bid on it.


I have seen Ishiguro schools with the same design but slightly different details in online auctions. However, all of them do not look authentic.
This time, it came out clad in a label from a famous auction house.



This is the new world of Natuo, finished with paint. If you read the year as "kanotou", it might be 2011 instead of 1831 or 1891.


The price is fixed at 181,000JPY, but it is a cast product as you can see. In addition, the pipe hole is visible.


As stated in the product description, the paper does not match the actual item. This is an example of how paper in the Showa era was either bullshit or suspected to be counterfeit.


These two are low-end mass-produced products that are often found. On search sites, you can find many tsuba with the same design. A thorough comparison and inspection should be done on all of them to see if they should be avoided.



This month we have seen some tsuba titled Higo. This is what the seller claims to be Nishigaki School, but the certificate doesn't even say Higo.
The inlaying skill that is characteristic of Higo school is not seen, and there are still round traces.


If you lobby an author or editor to include them in a book, these may be called "Higo's masterpieces.







9竹笹図鍔 銘 時正作.jpg


2獅子図目貫 際端銘 白原清十郎.jpg

3猛禽狙猿図鍔 銘 石黒政美(花押).jpg

4飛蝗鈴虫図鍔 銘 辛卯秋日夏雄(花押).jpg


7合戦来迎図鍔 銘 藻柄子入道宗典製.jpg

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Hi Yas I have just been doing some research on a book I am about to publish on the Cleveland Museum of Art tsuba collection,  and I came across this auction from 2012 

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20190/lot/10/?category=list&length=12&page=1  There is a guard that is almost identical to the Bonhams auction one in the Cleveland Museum [number 1919.422]  The only real difference is the Bonhams is a total fake!  Zoom in on the hitsu-ana and it is a dead set giveaway. I feel sorry for the person who paid so much, I have a theory that many of these fakes are copied directly from museum collections on-line, in some cases the museums only show the omote side and the forgeries have to resort to a made up design on the ura.

bonhams copy.jpg

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Dale, it's exactly as you said. This makes your discovery the third, no doubt about it that someone is making a mold from a picture.
Buyers can buy a file that removes burrs, and then they can complete their tsuba and enjoy the self-satisfaction of owning a museum piece and the same type product. If it is made in Japan, it will be repeatedly found in online auctions. Maybe it is made in a foreign country?

Bonhams 2020 & Marcus B.1912 Hawkshaw coll 1910.jpg

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Likely middlemen. It's for sale for X in Japan, so they list it at a much higher price, hoping if someone falls for it, they purchase it and sell for a profit.
Not illegal, but not exactly honorable either.

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  • 3 weeks later...


The staple products.










Isn't Mimi's darkening of skin a trace of electrodes?



I'm not sure if Showa's kiwame of being Nagatune's early name is correct. However, there are cracks in the casting defect on the back side that is not worn.


Yin and Yang Kon remains perfect without Chikara-gane. Is there a Ko-Goto that hasn't worn out even a single Dragon's Scale ?
Isn't this a casting burr or soot? There are many doubts. But looking at the NBTHK paper, I have no choice but to silence.


At least in the case of the Goto school head family, the direction of the dragon swallowing the sword is fixed except in rare cases. It is often the case in modern replicas that they are turned upside down.



A clever piece of casting with chisel added to the recent casting, as usual, comes with paper. I criticize not whether it is a period Mito-kinko or not, but a technique.
A slight amount of paint sticks out, and that smoothes the casting mold with a brush. These are difficult to find without a magnified image.


Not punched nanako, unengraved dragons and clouds, but good at casting. Also, the finer the work, the more difficult it is to paint every corner.



It is not clear from the image alone whether it is assembled by brazing or casting. However, I hesitate to make a successful bid for such a tube-marked item for more than $ 1,000.
He might say "Just stay out of my business!" However, it is a relatively common design and is sold at specialty stores for about half the price.


reference sample



Mito-kinko bamboo and tiger big tsuba. It weighs nearly 10 ounces and seems to have never been fitted to a sword. Buyers may be able to impress someone.










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Dear Yas san

Thank you for your efforts to teach us the tricks used by people who caste tsuba and other fittings. You have opened people's eyes. I must admit that the 3rd, 4th and 7th items shown would have caught me. I have enjoyed the journey that you took us on. I hope that some time in the future you will continue this trip.

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I also enjoy them, although I don't comment much. Feel free to add anything you see or would like to. People are taking notice, and if anything...it is showing how scary things are getting. I would fall for a lot of these.
Thanks for your efforts!

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Thank you!


Your reports have clearly pointed out the minefield that is out there. Interestingly, some of the items have fetched high prices in the auctions. 


Please continue to add suspected items, so that we (me) can continue to train our (my) eyes and brain. 


Best Björn


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  • 1 month later...
On 2/28/2021 at 2:24 AM, Yasaka Azuma said:

For Feb.

The staple products.








This maker, Hosono Sozaemon Masamori, he is known as an expert of fine line engraving and flat inlay.




reference sample
鴨河原図鐔 細野惣左衛門政守



Although it is a modern mass-produced product, it sells at a high monthly price of 470 to 570 USD. It is a breadwinner.





In another flea market, it was clearly marked as a replica of the showa era and sold. The body and semegane are integrated, as is often the case with castings.


The laminated pattern cannot be seen in the images on the back and sides.



Kozuka on the left has collected a lot of bids for hidden reasons. Seeing that, a similar product appears.



The gold color of the clothes may have the paint sticking out or left unpainted.



The Toryusai school "kuchi beni" is made by fitting and shaping and decorating. It simply poured melted copper.



reference sample



Crushing around nakago-hitu with chisel is a characteristic of the middle Muromachi period. However, the drills and file marks that open the slogan are modern.


Is my search inadequate? The metalworker Goto-norisuke is not on the list I can read. This kind of cursive style is rare for Junjo's signature.


It was revealed that the failure of the casting process was a casting work. It is also characteristic that the edge of seppa-dai is slightly raised.



1a風景人物図縁頭 銘 細野惣左衛門.jpg

1b鴨河原図鐔 細野惣左衛門政守 .jpg


3波虎図鍔 銘 宝真斎寿景.jpg


5秋草文と春画小柄 銘 不読 猪図と春画小柄.jpg

6劉備檀渓渡河図縁頭 銘 大森英秀(花押)2.jpg

7梅樹龍虎図鍔 銘 東龍斎清寿 嘉永二年丁未月夕.jpg

8滅却心頭火自涼 刀匠鍔.jpg

9流水沢潟図小柄二組 金象嵌銘 後藤乗佐花押 後藤順乗花押2.jpg

10波濤透鍔 銘 武州住正種.jpg

Dear Yasaka san, I have found this post of yours and am very hopeful you will clarify if you suggest the shown pieces signed and attributed to Hosono Sozaemon Masamori are actually modern reproductions/fakes. i just happened to be the buyer of the F/K shown above and of another set attributed to the very same maker. Will greatly appreciate your honest opinion on both! Many thanks







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