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Tessier-Sarrou sale, second round on October 8


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31 minutes ago, Surfson said:

Glad to hear that Luis.  Do you live anywhere near Paris?  I seem to recall that you live in Europe.

 

Coincidenatlly I have a whitebread passport while my command of French is embarrasing .... basically you only need a 3rd party ship to pick it up and send to you via any shipping service of your choice. Usually DHL I would think.I can assist you - as long as you promise not to outbid me case I should participate myself :) .... however I think that is one for the big boys with the deep pockjets and I am just a watcher on the side line.

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@Surfson, my work is just a 5-min walk away from Drouot. Let me know if you need help. I never shipped a sword abroad but I don't think you need any paperwork, AFAIK the only reason why this would be needed is if you want to ship ivory.

 

I will probably have a look to the exposed pieces before the auction on my lunch break :)

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FWIW, I called the french customs and was directed to this page where the procedure for exporting weapons outside EU is described. The page mainly deals with exporting firearms.

 

I checked multiple times and I believe that for a Japanese sword, there is nothing special to declare. A Japanese sword falls into the category D as per this page (see "Arme historique et de collection").

 

 

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3 hours ago, francois2605 said:

checked multiple times and I believe that for a Japanese sword, there is nothing special to declare. A Japanese sword falls into the category D as per this page (see "Arme historique et de collection").

 

Exactly. It is sometimes just a pain in the ass with vendors all oiver the world as they think that a sword is a dangerous weapon and thus can not be put on a plane ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was a really nice auction. Did anybody of you buy anything?

 

I had considered bidding on 24, 29 and 36 but did not win anything in the end.

 

29 was straight forward with nice Guribori mounts.

 

24 they got wrong and it wanted to be a Rai blade. The signature was not a good match in my oppinion and the condition remained questionable. Looking at the filemarks I would not think that it was earlier than Murmoachi but still it seems to have seen many polishes. What are your oppinions? The mounts were solid late Edo. I feel somebody got a reasonable lottery ticket

 

36 was interesting to me. I wonder which smith it could have been good for.

 

Overall I feel that the prices were reasonable since those blades mostly all needed some TLC but then there we good quality mounts on most of them. The 30% premium however is a real pain in the ass.

 

Congratulations to anybody who participated and ended up with a new toy

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1 hour ago, Surfson said:

I was the underbidder on #19 and #22 Luis.  No luck though.

 

Hello Bob,

 

thanks for letting me know.

 

On #19 I I did love the mounts. Especially the Kozuka. A great piece and lots of gold in there ... In the images it looked like a reallly really strong Utsuri. Whoch Kunitsugu do you think it may have been good for?

 

Regarding #22 what was your take on the sword? Likel a Koto O Suriage. It looks like there may have been a Mei removed? I assume you were in for the blade?

 

Thank you for your input on the Guribori. SInce this went way ahead oif what I could or would have been willing to pay I was not endangered. However shame on me for missing out on the imitation part. I really should be able to read

 

BUT why imitation!? It looks real to me. Please educate me. Thank you!

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Luis, those of us who bid clearly have had our thoughts about these things. Prices are indicative of people having certain expectations. There were some pieces that possibly, with the right restoration in place, could get high papers - not sure about Juyo but at least TH. The problem with all these things is that we are competing against each other, so information sharing cannot be too extensive....

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Hi Luis.  

The Kunishige (#19) was an interesting blade.  It had features that were reminiscent of Hasebe.  It was hard to see if it had some hitatsura or, as you said, some utsuri.  Most Kunishige listed were early, so if it wasn't Hasebe, there was a hope it would end up with another descent attribution to a nambokucho or maybe Oei smith.  The mounts were wonderful and the reason I was bidding.  The Soyo tsuba and fuchi kashira were probably good.  If I was more of a fan of katakiribori work, I would have bid harder.  

 

I thought that #22, the katana with silver mounts, was likely osuriage nambokucho, even though they listed it as shinto.  I didn't think it had a mei removed from the existing nakago but rather was shortened a couple of times with additional finishing on the tang.  The silver mounts were nice, it had solid gold dragon menuki and the kozuka kogai were ok, but I doubted the mei on both of them.  

 

The guribori was probably urushi, as you said.  When I compared the "layers" to those on my pieces, they were very irregular and unconvincing as layered metal.  

 

It was my impression that most swords with big names on them were gimei, sadly.  Most of these swords likely came over during Meiji times.  Even then, I imagine that the Japanese were not eager to sell their best items to the west.  I think that the best collections built during those times were by people who actually were going to Japan and could find the best pieces, rather than those buying the pieces that showed up in France or the rest of europe.

 

The Nosada went for a decent price and may have been ok but I didn't study it too carefully since an acquaintance was going for it.  Here are the others that I thought had bad signatures on them:

Muramasa

Echizen Tsuda Sukehiro

Kawachi no Kami Kunisuke

Suishinshi Masahide

Taikei Naotane

Jirotaro Naokatsu

 

I didn't see any potential juyo pieces, though #22, depending on who it papered to, might have had a shot.  

 

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3 hours ago, Gakusee said:

Luis, those of us who bid clearly have had our thoughts about these things. Prices are indicative of people having certain expectations. There were some pieces that possibly, with the right restoration in place, could get high papers - not sure about Juyo but at least TH. The problem with all these things is that we are competing against each other, so information sharing cannot be too extensive....

 

Hello Michael,

 

In understand your point that any potential bidder will want to keep a low profile prior of an auction.

 

However I think now since the game is over there ought to be no more competition as everything is set. Of course you are right that the price will often indicate the expectation like some thought it was a Shoshin Masahide while nobody digged into the Muramasa. 

 

I was quite frank about what I intended to bid on before the auction as my expectations of winning anything were low - one of the few occasions where I was right :)

 

Tokubetso Hozon I think is not something we should worry about as it can be acchieved easily as the rules for it are straight forward while Juyo level is totally different cup of tea - and we can of cause only have our more or less educated assumptions whoch I consider however to be both fun and educational.

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2 hours ago, Surfson said:

The Kunishige (#19) was an interesting blade.  It had features that were reminiscent of Hasebe.  It was hard to see if it had some hitatsura or, as you said, some utsuri.  Most Kunishige listed were early, so if it wasn't Hasebe, there was a hope it would end up with another descent attribution to a nambokucho or maybe Oei smith.  The mounts were wonderful and the reason I was bidding.  The Soyo tsuba and fuchi kashira were probably good.  If I was more of a fan of katakiribori work, I would have bid harder.  

 

Hello Bob,

 

I agree that was a very neat looking Jigane. It struck me. However my impressionw as that it was a later piece. I would have no older than Muromachi-. But I may be mislead by the (later added?) Horimono and condition of Nakago.

 

I fully understand your reasoning on the mounts and I would also try to stay save and bid for what I felt the mounts were worth (to me). I really did like the Habaki, Kozuka and Saya mounts. The FK and Tsuba were not my personal taste. Just the Kozuka could have been in the 2k range easily in my oppinion. Beautifull

 

2 hours ago, Surfson said:

I thought that #22, the katana with silver mounts, was likely osuriage nambokucho, even though they listed it as shinto.  I didn't think it had a mei removed from the existing nakago but rather was shortened a couple of times with additional finishing on the tang.  The silver mounts were nice, it had solid gold dragon menuki and the kozuka kogai were ok, but I doubted the mei on both of them.  

 

I agree that this could definatel have been a Nambokucho blade. On one side the Nakago seems to have lost some patina. Not sure about it.

 

2 hours ago, Surfson said:

It was my impression that most swords with big names on them were gimei, sadly.  Most of these swords likely came over during Meiji times.  Even then, I imagine that the Japanese were not eager to sell their best items to the west.  I think that the best collections built during those times were by people who actually were going to Japan and could find the best pieces, rather than those buying the pieces that showed up in France or the rest of europe.

 

That is a good reasonmig. My impression was that most pieces had late Edo or Meiji periode mounts, too. The fact that we had some obvious Gimei there may be a hint to handle everything with a grain of salt.

 

This I felt very excited about this auction as it was really what you would call an old collection coming out of the woodwork.

 

Getting older myself I see swords flood around that I have seen multiple times over the years. This stuff however sure is new and it will be interesting to see if we may see some blades again in the future with or without papers.

 

By the way Bob: Thanks for talking. While I was not getting anything nor you were I just enjoy discussing this like the aftermath of a boxing match (where the outcome is however more clear :) )

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Luis, it is certainly possible that the filing removed a mei.  However, if you believe that it is nambokucho, then it was almost certainly shortened significantly.  My guess is that there was a hole in the tang that was removed along with the mei when the osuriage occurred.  This filing is in any case above the lowest hole, which would mean that it didn't remove a mei or that the lowest hole is the original hole and the sword's original length was slightly more than 60 cm, something that is very unlikely if you think it is nambokucho.  Not conclusive, but I still think that the sword is truly osuriage (meaning that the mei was cut away also) rather than a short sword that has had its mei filed off.  

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It has been really nice to read what people look and think about the items.

 

I am not in buying position but I just looked at few of the items and was bit surprised to see how high the items went for. Perhaps as a small collector and with quite narrow focus I might not see the big picture. I feel that koshirae on some of the items might have been valuable but unfortunately that is not my field and I don't know enough about them.

 

3 Norimitsu Tachi, I was pretty stunned it rose up to 24,000€+ now granted as I only looked at the blade seems like there were Ishiguro fittings on koshirae, and they most likely outvalue the blade in buyers mindset.

10 Tadamitsu Tachi, again totally surprised this topped 10,000€, can't really figure out why, auction craze?

19 Kunishige Wakizashi, I liked the wide shape this has but I am baffled by how old it is. Can't really put my finger on it how I feel about it, late Muromachi - early Edo?

22 Mumei Katana, like Robert I thought this could have been a Nanbokuchō sword. However with it going 10,000€+ I would be too cautious for gambles like that. Again of course this is in koshirae and I don't really understand the valuation of those. However at Samurai Art Expo I am remembering Patrice Sabbah had a nice (very potential Nanbokuchō) sword in great polish for 8,000€ in shirasaya, if I remember the price correctly. Unfortunately I couldn't afford that one and might not have still dared but I felt it was a good sword. Also to be noted on the auction sword if they have measured this correctly at 60,1 cm it is actually only 1 shaku 9 sun 8 bu, which in turn hurts the value...

 

I agree with Luis that it is very fun to discuss items :)

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Much like the last auction at Tessier-Sarrou, this was a very interesting auction. 

 

While I did bid on a couple of items, I unfortunately didn't come away with anything this time around. The overall quality of the items was high, but the prices, in my opinion, were a bit absurd. Perhaps the winning bidders were largely finding their valuations in the koshirae? As outlined above, some of these prices were approaching juyo level, and with the astronomical buyers premium, I felt that such gambling was best left to those who can indulge. 

 

There might have been a couple of sleepers, but I felt that the first auction had far more items in that category than this one.  For instance, lot 22: the Mumei Katana, struck me as a shin-shinto piece. Even if one is assuming it is Nambokucho, at  10,000€+ what is one exactly hoping that it turns out to be in order to justify that initial investment? You can buy this https://www.aoijapan.com/katanamumeiyamato-shizu/ for 16,792.59 Euro, which given the cost of polish and papers (assuming it even stands a chance of juyo) is about the same price. 

 

Granted, I couldn't attend the auction in person, so perhaps the items in person really were worth the prices they commanded?  But is this https://www.tessier-sarrou.com/lot/116199/15882150? a 20k item? Somehow I feel that the provenance of some of the items had more to due with the prices than the items themselves.  

 

Boring market talk aside, they were almost all very lovely things, and hopefully will be cherished and taken care of for many generations to come by whomever was lucky enough to take them home. 

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I agree the prices were high, bordering on absurd.  It's my impression that the Japanese sword market is actually climbing lately, as the same can be seen with lower quality pieces at local auctions.  

 

Jussi, everything you say about #22 is right.   The all in suite silver signed mounts were quite good though, and the menuki looked quite fine to me.  

 

The mounts were even better on #19.  I studied the mei carefully and was convinced that the Yokoya Soyo mei was good on the tsuba and  matching fuchi kashira.   There was a set of fittings with NBTHK papers by him on Yahoo.jp that reached the price of the whole sword recently.  

 

I agree with Luis about the kozuka, and would think that it was closer to a $3000 piece considering how nice the kokatana was, in addition to the fabulous gold dragon kozuka.   All said, I have to admit also that I am relieved that I didn't get either.   I had set bidding limits for myself of 7,000 and 5,000 on those two, but got swept up in the heat of the moment.  

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I think gradually the collective wisdom is crystallising the truth:  in most cases the koshirae held the value in these offerings. In fact, as Bob alluded to, there were 3-4 instances where there were very valuable things to be had. 

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