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Koto sword recently won on eBay any feedback appreciated

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Dear George.


To take this back to the original thread if I may, your seller, whom I don't know and as far as I remember have never dealt with, has very magnanimously stated that he will take the sword back so that remains your option but there are some things to think about going forward.  It is not my intention to criticise anybody or to stir up anything but here are some thoughts.


Major UK auction houses refuse to allow their normal conditions of sale to apply to Japanese swords; they recognise that they don't have the expertise to guarantee what they say.  In other words if you buy a sword they have described as Koto and Japanese shinsa ascribes it to Shinto you have no come back.  If you turned up and said that a few people on an internet forum had said  that it was Shinto I suspect you would be met with polite disbelief.  You asked for some opinions and you got them.  When I posted earlier I did not come off the fence but offered some thought for study, however I think we are all far too quick to run to, 'it tapers and it's straight it must be Kanbun Shinto'.  For what it's worth, which is as little as every other opinion presented here, I think your sword is Koto.


You bought the sword from Ebay if I understand the thread correctly.  There is a whole heap of advice on this board about not doing that but going for polished and papered blades from known sellers and that has much to recommend it but the lure of discovery is too great and tales of treasures out of the woodwork keep us all going.  However this means that you had time to look at the sword, out of polish though it is and in photographs whose quality I don't know.  You took a flier and as I suggested I can see why you might.  But that's the point, you took a risk.  Good for you!  A lot of the fun to be had is taking that risk when you think you see something worth pursuing and getting the result you want when it does turn out to be an early Kamakura blade and goes Juyo.  Your money, (not a great deal of it but believe me I appreciate how hard that can be to come by sometimes), your risk.  The only way you will ever know if this paid off is by sending it for polish and shinsa.   Worst case scenario, I am completely off my trolley and you have a papered, suriage Kanbun Shinto sword.


If that happens then you will probably not break even if you sell it straight away, or maybe not even if you keep it for thirty years.  But that's not how a gamble works is it?  What if it does turn out to be Kamakura but with a fatal flaw?  Then you've lost everything.  Expecting every gamble to pay off is also a completely unreasonable way to enjoy a hobby, a vast number of people seem to enjoy rambling all over a bit of country whacking a very small ball with a metal stick, they pay thousands of dollars/pounds/currency of choice to do so.  Very few of them make any money out of it.   They spend a ton of money on something they enjoy, they don't anticipate a monetary return.  (If my wife is reading this then, don't worry Darling, of course my collection is different and when I die you will be able to sell it for much more than I ever paid for them!) If you go the polish and shinsa route and it turns out poorly then at the very least you have rescued an historical artefact.  Is that not something you would enjoy?  Whatever happens to my small  collection I have had such a great time collecting and learning, sharing with others, and it's been cheaper than golf!




Sorry!  Ramble over.  Of course it's your sword, your deal and your choice.


All the best.



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5 hours ago, Utopianarian said:

wooden saya painted fairly recently in a brick red sloppily done even the seppa and splatter areas of paint on samegawa skin underneath


I can see that on the sellers pictures when looking carefully. I can not comment on this any further. The questiomn is wheter he did the work and wheter he stated all orignal or did not get any mre specific.


It is difficukt to make statements on the age of a of a blade in sime cases.


As far as btreeds blade goes I would personally think that it is possibly not Koto but can see why a another person (seller) would think it is Koto and would think the seller did not intentd to mispresent it. HEnce I personaly would not have returned it if I had been the buyer. It is very kind that he offers a return and more than to be expected. A very honest seller.

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I am not certain any more sicne it has been a while but think I may have bought a blade from btreed3 a while ago that turned out to be a definate Gimei. Since I had misread a Kanji  and only noticed uppon arrival that has been absolkutely my bad. SInce the seller did not make any statements on the Mei at all  he is not to blame at all. I would not consider a return as I buy according to my knowledge. So sold as is. If it had been an original Sa I would have not shared the gain with the seller either :)


Some while ago I had sold a Bizen blade here on the board. I was not confident about the signature so I did comment on it. The blade then papered to that big name smith. I would have happily taken it back :)


So my 2cents are that one should carefgully study (picturers) and I feel taht restoration blades should be considered to be bought is in general as but for papered and polished blades there are always suprised accross the road that nobody can aware off ahead

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Hello Geraint, maybe auction houses have their own set of policies. It is more or less confidence or reputation of the auction house or seller which builds confidence on those bidding. I figured a lot of dealers out there would have their perspective from a sellers point of view. I recently sold a Gunto that was obviously in relic condition which the buyer had second thoughts due to deep pitting which I already showed him. He had the blade in hand as I drove to meet him sale on OfferUp. He then changed his mind and contacted me which I refunded his money 4 days after the sale. He prob got advice that it wasn’t salvageable by polish. If sales are done over there without recourse or absolutely no protection for the buyer then I’m sure there are a lot of swords we can ship ya. I know there is a lot of focus on this part of the post due to a lot of sellers on this board that do not want a precedence for this. I don’t know if you are a dealer or not but I think it is up to the seller of what their return policies are. Some sellers on eBay state no return which a buyer might be reluctant to buy attracting less buyers and interest in an item. I know a lot of feathers will be ruffled after this post

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I had a blade where a tiny hagiri popped up after polish. 27 3/4” nagasa, really nice activity all through out. I liked it so I kept it. It was Teruhiro/Teruhide whatever that line of Shinto smiths was, but this was definitely a shin Shinto piece if genuine signature.


Luis, I don’t recall ever having a blade signed Sa. I know a friend of mine did that he sold at SOS almost a decade ago. If it was me, for the future I always allow for an inspection period regardless of selling it on eBay or elsewhere. 


On returns, I don’t mind. I’m fortunate that I don’t need the money, this isn’t how I feed my family. Also, I know on these types of things you just need to see them in hand to be sure, and it’s not like they’re buying some $20 gadget of Amazon. 


i recently sent 3 blades to be polished and a 4th to get an opinion on whether or not worth the restoration that I just had a feeling something was special about it. I got a call when the swords arrived and was asked why I wasn’t polishing the one I sent for him to check out as it looked Rai, so off it went. Had another friend tell me the hamon looked like Rai kunitoshi to him as well. So fingers crossed, we’ll see how it turns out. One of the others was a mumei blade, almost 28” nagasa. One of my friends studied it in hand and was thinking Sekishu Naotsuna. The person that handles the polishing thought it was Shinto. So that one is a total gamble, but it had nice activity so will probably enjoy It anyways. Added some pics. 










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3 hours ago, Utopianarian said:

If sales are done over there without recourse or absolutely no protection for the buyer then I’m sure there are a lot of swords we can ship ya.


Just to clarify...........


Anything bought online or by mail-order within the from a UK business (i.e.not at an auction) is protected by Distance Selling regulations, with a defined returns period.  Geraint was only commenting on some auction houses.


However, auction houses do offer in-hand/in-person viewing sessions for potential bidders to assure themselves that what they may bid on is what they want and so they can do their research before bidding. It might be too far for the potential bidder to travel to view an item, but that's the bidders choice.






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4 hours ago, Geraint said:

If my wife is reading this then, don't worry Darling, of course my collection is different and when I die you will be able to sell it for much more than I ever paid for them!



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