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JohnBarry

Recent Purchase with a bad feeling - help in authenticating needed

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Hello everyone,

 

Greetings from the Philippines. I am a collector though I do concentrate on collecting Cold War US and Soviet stuff. Anyway I recently purchased a Shin Gunto I believee to be a type 98. I am an absolute newbie but I can already tell whether a sword is fake or not thanks to this forum. In fact it was research that led me here. However, I may have to rely on more experienced gunto collectors’ knowledge on this particular one. 

 

Several months ago a ukay2x (used clothes) seller showed me a couple of gunto pictures from her mobile phone and offered to sell what she called a “Naval gunto” to me. I immediately jumped on the deal because the koshirae looked real, the tsuka was wrapped in some sort of white cloth, and it had the “age” look on it, especially the leather. And the price wasn’t too expensive.

 

However, when the gunto finally got here I found some things in this sword to be quite odd. The tsuba and spacers are different. The washer is not available. The habaki looks different as well... First time I have seen this kind of habaki. I did see a post on this forum about Unique open work tsuba but this particular tsuba feels different and that it doesn’t have the 4 holes right where it should be. And not only is the nakago ugly there is no signature on too. Although aware that there are shin gunto without signature, I just want your opinion on this one. I hope I don’t have one of those “Collaborator” swords. The sword came directly from Japan. I got this from a  very reputable Japanese surplus/ukay2x (used clothes) store.

 

Can anybody help me ID this sword? 

 

Thanks in Advance, 

 

John Barry N. Nuico

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More pics please. Closer pics of the nakago and kissaki. Close up of the tsuka.
This one is one of those borderline ones. Genuine and messed with....or fake. I can't tell 100% yet. Nakago looks altered and machi moved up.
If it didn't have that wavy shinogi line in the nakago I'd be much more confident.

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Thanks for the reply, Brian. I will upload 3 pictures at a time because the forum only allows me to upload 6mb worth of pics. But I will try to take pictures of the blade when there’s sunlight. I think I’m seeing a faint hamon.

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This is one of those tough ones!  It has the look of age to the metal fittings.  The odd tsuba is known to exist in that form.  Niel (IJASWORDS) has a perfect example, but it's higher quality.  The kabutogane looks old enough, but has slight things that are off.  The same' looks celluloid, but different than I'm used to seeing it.  The white cloth wrap is rare to have, and while I understand your need to remove it to investigate, I'd sure try to get it back on as closely to original as possible, as it is rare to find a gunto with it on.

 

I'm with Brian on the nakago,  It has been re-shaped, but the lines down the sides are ugly, unlike Japanese work.  Is the blade chromed?  The spots near the blade tip, are they rust on steel, or rust through chrome?

 

The snaps heads look odd to me too.  Can you unsnap them and show pics of the saya koiguchi (end cap)? and some of the saya, possibly even the belt hanger (haikan)?

InkedChrome or Steel_LI.jpg

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The fittings look legit. But that nakago....could it be a showato arsenal sword that had the nakago ground down to fit the habaki and tusga, instead of them being fitted to the nakago? I've seen a few examples like that, wartime production rush work. 

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Unfortunately this is a fake, albeit a good one. From your first photos it looked genuine but the finer details of the blade and fittings confirmed that this is not genuine and made recently in China.

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8 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Can you unsnap them and show pics of the saya koiguchi (end cap)? and some of the saya, possibly even the belt hanger (haikan)?

I took these last night. Will take better pics when I get home. 

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The KOSHIRAE might be o.k. but the blade is doubtful. Photo of NAKAGO without HABAKI will perhaps show what it is.

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It has the look of a higher end replica, possibly Paul Chen, Hanwei and a manufacturers signature ground off the tang. The Paul Chen swords were discontinued by 2014 so would be showing some age by now.

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Leather, screws and fittings looks like a shin gunto. Blade looks from the shape good for me. Nakago could be modified with grinder or something else to fit into the tsuka. Overall i think it is authenthic but the nakago looks bad treatend. Maybe it is an older blade? Better pictures from the blade in good light could be help to see the hamon and maybe some hada.

 

The canvas binding in your first picture looks very interesting. Sad that you removed it. Its very rare.

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Sorry but I must adamantly say this is not an original, please look carefully at all the fine details of the blade and fittings:

 

1: crude Nakago consistent with chinese made swords

2: unrefined brass habaki, again consistent with chinese swords

3: Kissaki.....

5: muddy and unrefined details on fittings

5: Tsuba.....

6: Kashira is poorly cast, Sarute is crudely finished. Even late war last ditch examples are more refined.

 

Now granted this is one of the better replicas out there and even has good patina but at the end of the day I believe this is not an original sword and I encourage anyone who has said otherwise to look at genuine pieces in their collections very closely tonight.

 

John I encourage you to seek a refund if you can.

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To John's points,  the details of the kabutogane lean toward fakery.  As we've seen in Trystan's posts about the latest Chinese moves in faking, they ARE getting better.  With the nakago and all the small details, like I've highlighted in the attahced pic, if I had to bet, I'd put a small amount down on "faker."  BUT, we have been learning more and more lately about things that had been called fake for years, and some of them have turned out to have an explanation.   So, if it were mine, depending upon how much you paid, it might be worth preserving.  If I were to re-sell, it would have to come with a caveat about the uncertainties.

 

This comparison of 2 of mine with the one in question.  The fakers really have a hard time getting this bottom edge detail right.  They usually get the rest wrong too, but this one is darn good everywhere else.

kabuComparedinked.jpg

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This is what a late war type 98 kabutogane looks like. It's actually plated iron/steel so it is very late. For me the clincher in the original post was the sharp edge/corner between the sides and the profile rather than the smooth transition on the originals.

 One or two anomalies are passable, but a build up of small faults  are the killer.

 

 

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Edited by Dave R
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I'm almost to the point of giving up commenting on these type of swords. It seems they were produced just to make Japanese military sword enthusiast wonder what exactly in the hell is this...

 

My first reaction is the feeling of something is just not right here. That nakago looks absolutely terrible, the kabuto gane and fuchi are odd looking, not to mention the tsuba. ( Bruce said he thought Neil~IJASWORDS~ has a simular tsuba ) Would like to see a photo if possible? Tsuba shows signs of age also...

 

Then on the other hand, the sword sugata doesn't look too terribly bad, the tsuka ito is tied properly, same' and menuki appear right, the leather on the saya is aged, the seam stitching is separating , beginning to see possible verdigris near ashi,  koiguchi looks old and losing paint .

 

As John has suggested it is a reproduction, but I would have to ask, were they ( Chinese ) or whom ever producing reproductions back as far as this sword appears to be?

 

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I have seen far cruder fittings on genuine swords. FAR cruder. Are we all so quick to forget the Seki sticker swords? Let me see if I can find the thread to jog some memories.

https://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/21190-seki-inspection-tag-on-combat-saya/

(you will have to work with the mix of paper and foil stickers/swords shown and follow a few linked threads. There was a better thread but who knows where that was pre 2016...)

The late war type 98 kabutogane Dave posted should be enough of a reminder that crude fittings are not a decisive factor.

 

 

Having said that, I won't comment on the actual sword in question as it would just be a guess. I really don't know if it is genuine. There will be some to say yes, others to say no, as the division on the already post shows. Good luck deciding if your sword is genuine, but consensus is leaning to no.

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Hello,

          Agree,it’s a fake 100%..The design on the kabutogane is all wrong as is the hole for the sarute...leather looks too thick and new....same has no trapped dirt and looks too clean...

Regards,

              Paul..

                                                  

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Firstly, I have never seen that style of tsuba before, except years ago on a Chinese fake navy Kai Gunto. 

Secondly, the Sarute goes into a barrel, not directly into the Kabutogane as this one does. 

And the first photo showed a Very Rare cloth handle wrap, which has now been removed. That handle wrapping looks just spiral twisted, where originals are also stitched on. And it  is still white, and looks new, and should show signs of age and use.

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23 hours ago, Dave R said:

sharp edge/corner between the sides

I saw that too, Dave, but I have seen legit kabu with squared edges.  Strange paint job, but the quality or the metal-work is clearly legit on this one, as compared to the sloppy work on the item in question.

 

Neil,

Good point on the color of the cloth wrap!

KabuSquarish.jpg

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Personally, I’m leaning towards real. But as mentioned, we need to see more of the blade, especially the nakago. Chinese repro nakago (at least modern ones) are more crude than this. Usually longer, the nakago jiri is usually pointing and the nakago are very straight, with the second mekugi ana placed much closer to the tip. The shape looks legit too. However, that sword has definitely been tempered with. The kissaki was modified (repaired? ) and the little we see of the nakago shows some tempering too.

 

Still, I believe this might beca genuine, maybe rushed later sword.

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As far as fittings, Steve, Neil, and Bruce are a wealth of  knowledge. Can you try capturing the hamon and hada please?

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