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Hi,

must have read about a thousand posts so far really enjoy being here.

 

Question I have is what to look for when buying my next sword? I realise one persons opinion my differ to another ,I know that 

a. a loverly blade is the first point to me the better the condition the better in my view,

b.would like them in original polish and not shortened.

c.. would like original fittings with it no new fittings but don't mind them in shirasasa.

 

Then we come to the Mei now this bit is confusing me as when I came here I would have automatically said signed but now that the vast majority seam to be gimme or not sure? I'm not know sure, obviously paped swords would be better but there dosent seem to many available in the uk and are they always correct?

 

So what period is the best in peoples opinion,

 

what recommended sellers are there in the uk looked at most online dealers but a lot have such lousy photos there impossible to judge.

 

Sword I would really like belongs to a neighbour that there father brought back but it will never be for sale.

Mark

 

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What’s your budget?

 

That’s really going to determine the mix of characteristics available to you. 
 

As for period, I believe that every collector should have some Koto if possible. 
 

As for UK dealers, Pablo Kuntz of Unique Japan is now based in the UK. 
 

But other dealers outside of the UK, many of whom are on this board, would be happy to work with you I am sure. 
 

With a budget in mind we can make more specific recommendations. 
 

Good luck. 

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B) unless gendaito/shinsakuto, very very difficult to get, look for ububa swords. But I prefer them in pristine polish, rather than in their original polish (Being interested in koto swords)

C) Fittings original to the blade is a goal difficult to obtain as tastes change over the centuries.

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We can't really answer this question for you since everyone has its own personal tastes.

 

I can only talk about my (limited) personal experience which should still help answer your questions.

 

I haven't been exposed to a lot of swords because opportunities to see them in France are quite limited (a couple behind a glass pane in a museum, some antique sellers in Paris, a token once in a while (when it doesn't get cancelled because of **** COVID), etc). I thought I knew what I liked (that is old swords) until I got to buy an amazing gendaito via NMB and this truly opened my eyes: gendaito which are (kind of) frowned upon by nihonto collectors can be truly amazing ! Then I started collecting wartime blades, something which would have never crossed my mind before this experience. 

 

Likewise I thought that what I liked was the sword itself so I didn't mind having them in a shirasaya until I bought a couple of shin-gunto and realized "Oh man, those shin-gunto on my sword rack are so beautiful" :Drool: So now, if I had the choice I would rather buy the sword with a koshirae than in a shirasaya alone. 

 

I think you have those questions because you still haven't been exposed to enough swords to know what you really like so my advice would be to meet collectors (if possible) and determine what your tastes are: you will see things that you didn't know existed and you will think "THIS is what I want in my collection"

 

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Hi Mark ,

 

if you are not a member  of the Token Society yet , that would be my advice , as you will get all the advice and more.

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Condition 1st. Everything else can be improved or altered later. Modern or antique fittings...all second to condition. Make sure it is in good enough polish to appreciate. That is something that you cannot do yourself or have done economically and most novices will probably not have a sword professionally polished. So look for good polish/condition of the blade. That is going to stay that way for many years. Bad flaws or polish will soon bug you forever.
After that, you can be fussy about mei, era, fittings etc.

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the problem i have is your asking for somthing that is hard   because alot of swords have been shortend one way or another   Either had it's mune-machi and ha-machi  raised  or has been cut  and  Signature wise you have to  look because there are alot of them and that also depends your price as for  Original mounts that is very rare for them to  Survive for the  original sword it is almost  Impossible  and if you are asking that you want the sword in it's  Original Polish that's pretty rare also your asking quite a bit here at this point it is gonna be way over 10k. Micah

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You would be lucky to come across good quality fittings put together for a sword pre 1900, most you see have been messed with or cobbled together later. Tsuba swapped out, re-wrap, mismatched seppa etc.

 

Also in UK, expect to see out of polish and bad polish. Not to say all polishers here do bad work.

 

Dont expect to see many papered swords in the UK, especially from a dealer high up the google charts.

 

Study blades and get to know what you like before you buy and work out a budget, then take it from there. Otherwise, buyers remorse maybe.

 

Some good swords can be bought quite reasonably but expect to compromise on a lower budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

Didn't mean original fittings back to when the blade was made just fittings that it was last mounted in, did look at a pair of swords at unique Japan but they had gone before I could find the funds locking back they would have been a better buy than numerous single swords, will enjoy looking at all the threads on here in the meantime.

Thanks Mark

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Look through the dealers sites above, Aoi art, e-sword etc and get familiar with swords from each era and their differences. Look long enough and you will get to know what you like, wont take long, i expect.

 

And as always, buy the starter books before you buy.

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1 hour ago, Alex A said:

And as always, buy the starter books before you buy.

:clap:   Yes, of course, buy books, & study like crazy. I can't think of any field where details are so important.

 

No matter what you choose today, it's bound to change as you gather more experience/exposure. What I started collecting 30+ years ago, doesn't appeal to me at all today.

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Hi,got 3 books 

Connoisseur,

military swords 

modern Japanese swordsmiths 

and facts and fundamentals on the way,

Any more I should be looking at.

Thanks Mark

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Do you have -

The Samurai Sword by Yumoto?

The Japanese Sword by Sato?

Best start there if not,

-t

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An age old question!

I would say:

Your criteria right now are something reasonable collector would not typically abide by (original polish specifically). Its not a problem, it always tend to start this way.

Nevertheless, select what you really like. If you have this option, first look at 100, 500,1000 swords.

Ask around if its worth the money.

Buy it.

In any case either x years down the road you'll develop a somewhat or more than different taste. Or you drop the subject and maybe keep one sword as a conversation starter.

 

Unfortunately swords in most books look like meh spots of something white on something black. Books are really useful when you already know how to read oshigata of specific schools.

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Hi,

looking at the on forum dealer pages must admit I'm very tempted by one sword from the US ,but rather scared to do it  ,have imported various things over the years and anything from the USA always seems to get slaughtered by customs?

 What cost am I looking at by the time a sword gets here per £1000 spent and is it the same from wherever they come from, 

Mark

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Mark

 

You could also get in touch with Igor (https://www.hochmajer.uk/fine-art-Japanese-sword-gallery/) or Ian Chapman ( https://nihonto.uk) both of who can steer you how to become a member of the ToKen Society of GB (https://to-ken.uk) and also give you some personal advice or potentially even sell you something. 

 

if I were you, I would leave behind the concepts of original polish (really only feasible for gendaito, showato, gunto, etc) or fittings (unless you are aiming at a very high end blade with high end fittings, which are probably papered themselves). As others have said - focus on learning first and do that by digesting the more accessible texts first (Yumoto’s starter book is priceless for that). As a beginner, you will struggle with F&F or Connoisseur’s as they are for  the intermediate / advanced student. Some of the Compton collection books, which are rich in colored photos and glossaries and introductory text should also work as a starter. 
 

Importing antiques over 100 years old in the UK attracts only 5% import VAT. There is no excise or import duty but the items needs to be declared properly. 
 

This is a long and fascinating subject. Welcome to the minefield. 
 

 

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To be honest I've only purchased a hand full of Nihonto's so far and I've had really good luck. Don't be afraid to take a chance I know for me it's made me money and put a few nice katanas on the wall everyone is skittish "SCARED MONEY DON'T MAKE NO MONEY".

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