Jump to content

Advice Requested by a new collector really into this topic but lacking guidance


Recommended Posts

I have been fascinated by swords for a long time. As a young boy, I purchased my first metal sword in Epcot at the Chinese feature...gentlemen working the counter told me in the early to mid 1980's "use this only to defend your family". I know, I know, might sound corny, but it really captivated me as a young child and we mailed it back home after our trip to Florida. 

 

In any event, I have been interested in Japanese swords for a long time...it wasn't until my early 20's that I realized that some of the vet bring backs were signed and older than WW2; having already had an interest in military collectibles. It wasn't until this year that I found two locally: a type 98 with family mon and a Gendaitō which was signed. 

 

I am in my later 30's and do not have any friends or local experts I can call on who share this same interest. I know I will probably not ever have the best or whatever, but I would have interest in learning more and buying a few more this year. I truly had no idea how expansive the topic is.

 

One of my questions is, given that I have no local collector group, would it be best for me to watch the sales ads here and when there is positive feedback, along with me appreciating the item, to purchase here? It seems to this total novice that the auction site sellers are all over the map and I do not know if I am comfortable spending $2K, $3K, $4K and above without having some guidance.

 

Is it within the scope and good faith / gesture if I have a question, to ask the group about an item; be it here or elsewhere? 

 

Thank you

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Charles!  Welcome!

 

Part of your answer lies in determining how you want to collect.  Like, will it be just old Nihonto, or WWII gunto, or a sampling of both?  When you know how you want to collect, then your place for searching might be affected.  The NMB sales section is a great place to buy because you're not going to see any fakes being sold, and prices are going to be respectful.  When I was collecting, I often found that what I was looking for simply wasn't being offered on NMB at the time, so I'd go to fleabay and/or dealers.  It really pays, literally, to know your stuff before shopping with either, but I've been successful at filling out my WWII collection from multiple sources.

 

Even buying books, like Michael said, can be driven by your taste -- books on Nihonto?  Books on WWII gunto?  Both?  I agree, though, getting educated is your first investment.

I don't know how much research you've begun, but for starters:

The Japanese Sword Index

 

Ohumra Study

 

Both are free and full of a massive amount of vital information.  There are other sites guys might want to give some links to.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From one newbie to another:

1. Don’t buy anything without papers. At least don’t spend serious money on anything without papers.

2. Buy the best. You will want to sell the items someday. High quality items almost sell themselves. Mediocre items can be work. It can be hard to give away junk.

3. Establish a business relationship with a respected dealer. Stick with them. Patronage has benefits.

 

good luck!

harry

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles,

Please post where you are located, besides USA. Some of us are passionate enough to drive a few hours, just to discuss our our interests.

 

I highly recommend Grey Doffin and Mark Jones. Most of their items are papered, and they are BOTH well respected in the nihonto community.

 

Grey's website https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/Swords

 

Mark's email nixe@bright.net

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the welcome and advice. It is a long journey to understand this hobby, which is great. Since the first of the year, I am getting the basic vernacular down, when I can find time between work and family time. I am trying to read a little bit each day and expect to be more active on here in the future.

 

I am located in greater Chicago-land. There may be shows around me, but as mentioned, I do not have anyone I know that is a collector who could help direct me. There is one local-ish show I found via Google, but it is not scheduled again until next year. I guess they did have it this year, but I missed it!!! Frustrating because it was not too long ago.

 

I guess right now my philosophy is that I have two ears and one mouth, so I plan to listen and take advise more than prove how much of a newbie I am. :glee:

 

General thought is to continue to read here, make a donation this week to the forum (over the weekend), and continue to study. I'd like to buy a few more pieces for the collection this year and I have a feeling this is a slippery slope, because I can tell I am already hooked...

 

My other hobbies just aren't as interesting to me right now and I am excited to learn.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Charles.  I have been collecting since the 80s, and would be happy to get together some time in downtown Chicago for coffee or lunch to talk about the subject with you.  You can PM me and we will take it from there.  I am not a dealer, and when I sell swords, I usually give them to dealers to sell.  I usually attend the Chicago show unless I am away due to work.  Cheers, Bob

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If someone was planning to set aside around $10K, what would be the best bang for the buck, so-to-speak?

 

Would you go "all in" on a very nice katana or prescribe to the thought of more is better? Thanks in advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Winchester said:

If someone was planning to set aside around $10K, what would be the best bang for the buck, so-to-speak?

 

Would you go "all in" on a very nice katana or prescribe to the thought of more is better? Thanks in advance.


Quality over quantity, always. 
 

Quality offers more to study and learn from and will hold its value better, meaning you can trade up with greater ease. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles/Winchester,

 

 A thought is that $10k on a blade in shirasaya will give you more bang for your buck bladewise that spending $10k on a blade with koshirae.  I have no hesitation in collecting a good koshirae without a blade equally as much as collecting a good blade in shirasaya.  Not all my friends in collecting think the same way, so you may want to reflect on that...

 

BaZZa.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Charles,

Of course every good or better Nihonto is unique and there are no absolutes so, in theory, this is what I think you can do with $10K.  That should buy a quite good quality katana or tanto with Tokubetsu Hozon paper, signed and made by a well respected, near important, smith and mounted in shirasaya and/or nice but not great koshirae.  A wakizashi of the same level would be maybe 1 or 2 K less expensive.  This is meant to give a rough idea.  As you are a relative beginner make sure you get good advise and deal with someone you can trust.

Ask lots of questions (feel free to drive your seller nuts) and have fun.  Grey

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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..

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...