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Need help with a price estimate: [N.B.T.H.K] Tokubetsu Hozon Token


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Hi there, 

 

Im new here and not really sure if its the right board to ask this. Im interested in buying Katanas from early to late Edo period in good conditions. 

This would be my first buy. I was in Japan already and was discussing with some collectors and shop owners etc. and now I decided to finally buy such wonderful piece of craftmanship - history/art myself.

 

A friend of mine showed me a specific katana from an online seller:

 

Paper(Certificate):[N.B.T.H.K] Tokubetsu Hozon Token
Country・Era:Musashi (Tokyo)・Late Edo period 1857

Blade length(Cutting edge): 73.2cm
Curve(SORI): 2.1cm
Width at the hamachi(Moto-Haba): 3.16cm
Thickness at the Moto-Kasane: 0.81cm
Wide at the Kissaki(Saki-Haba): 2.60cm
Thickness at the Saki-Kasane: 0.55cm
Length of Koshirae : about 102cm
Habaki: One parts, gold foil Habaki
Sword tang(Nakago): Unaltered,Sujikaiyasuri with Keshoyasuri file pattern
Rivet Holes(Mekugiana): 1

 

Price is around: 40'000$ 

(its less about budget but more about trust)

 

Do you guys think that this is way overpriced just by looking at those pics and description or is it kinda in range that you can expect for such graded sword (Tokubetsu Hozon Token)?

 

Appreciated for all your help and also pointing me to other online sellers that might be more trusted?

 

Thank you!

Marki

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Hi Marki, 

 

Compare to:

https://www.aoijapan.net/katana-bizen-suke-munetsugukouka-4nen-8-gatsuhi/
 

https://www.aoijapan.net/katanabizenno-suke-fujiwara-munetsugubunkyu-3-nen/
 

https://www.aoijapan.net/katana-bizen-suke-fujiwara-munetsugu-saku-korekaei-5nen-8gatu-kichijitsu-august1852/

 

I’d say the one you are looking at is overpriced. I don’t know where you are based but see what you can get here for $40k: https://www.nihonto.com/category/for-sale/swords/katana/

 

There’s a Munetsugu with a cutting test that will save you $10k. 

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At the level of $40K, you want to be buying either in hand personally, or from someone with a really solid reputation.
And personally, you need to be studying swords for quite a while before just jumping into a $40K purchase. I'd be contacting sellers like Darcy in Canada, Ray Singer, Grey and Mark...and/or others before deciding. And at $40K, I'd want Juyo, not TH. Also, frankly at that price you want Koto. Not a Shinshinto. Mounts look good, but you are buying the blade.
Being in Europe limits you a little I guess. But you could do SOOOO much with $40K sword wise!

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Koyama Munetsugu is highly regarded smith and the item in question is very nice. However there are lots of very good blades made by him available at the market currently and recently in Japan. So you can choose the one that is to your liking.

 

The shop that has the item is a very good shop, they usually gear towards higher end items. I have never bought from them but I have visited their shop and a friend has bought from them with very good experience.

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Thank you guys for your honest replies. Yes I thought about a Koto from the Kamakura period as well. But this sword was sent to me from a friend and thus I wanted to see other opinions also to see if the seller (seiyudo) is more on the upper price range or not. I will take my time to look into your links you provided me. 

 

Also if anyone knows a seller of a beautiful Gassan Katana you could also provide me the link. (The engravings on those are beautiful)

 

Cheers

 

@Brian: im based in Switzerland

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Hi Marki,

The Aoi Art links are historic sales so they aren't currently available but are a useful indicator of price.

 

When you say Gassan, do you mean koto Gassan or shinshinto to gendai Gassan? :)

 

What we normally suggest to relative beginners is that they buy a few books to gain some knowledge so as to avoid making basic errors, but at the point you are starting from it would probably be better if you spent some time getting a feel for the market. There's a long list of dealers in the links section under "nihonto info" at the top of the page and as Brian says, you could reach out to to some dealers in person. Darcy at Yuhindo has a great blog which touches on how the market works and some errors to avoid so it's well worth spending some reading time there.

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3 hours ago, Shugyosha said:

Hi Marki,

The Aoi Art links are historic sales so they aren't currently available but are a useful indicator of price.

 

When you say Gassan, do you mean koto Gassan or shinshinto to gendai Gassan? :)

 

What we normally suggest to relative beginners is that they buy a few books to gain some knowledge so as to avoid making basic errors, but at the point you are starting from it would probably be better if you spent some time getting a feel for the market. There's a long list of dealers in the links section under "nihonto info" at the top of the page and as Brian says, you could reach out to to some dealers in person. Darcy at Yuhindo has a great blog which touches on how the market works and some errors to avoid so it's well worth spending some reading time there.

 

Hi Shugyosha

 

Thanks you for the suggestion of Yuhindo's blog. I just saw a great visualization of Juyo graded swords across all centuries: https://blog.yuhindo.com/manufacture-period-and-juyo-sessions/#more-1014

I will deffo read into this blog more when I have some freetime.

 

Also to avoid basic errors I took some time to register in here and read through the posts. I think it makes sense to ask some professionals as well instead of only reading books etc. Happy to be part of this forum. :) I feel like I am in the right place. I will deffo try to talk about the price with the seller also to see other very interesting works from other sellers as well.

 

Since years I get the catalogue from Unique Japan and since years im reading about those swords others are buying. But I feel like the time for me is coming.. this or next year I want to buy one myself.

 

Thanks for all your help!

Cheers

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Marki, I just skimmed this thread, but will comment that the sword you posted appears to be a very stout sword, long, thick and heavy, as is typical of Koyama Munetsugu.  Some collectors find the Hamon of Munetsugu, and his student/son Sokan to be slightly repetitive.  I own both a Koyama Munetsugu and a Sokan (tanto and katana respectively) and find them to be very pleasing blades.  At the price that is being asked for the one you are asking about however, I would say that the mounts must be of outstanding quality.  I think that a TH Munetsugu in just Shirasaya, even one of this size, would be half of that price, so if you are seriously interested in this blade, you should be sure that the mounts have great value.  I didn't see photos or descriptions of the mounts enough to tell whether they are highly important.

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9 hours ago, Ken-Hawaii said:

Marki, if I may ask, why are you starting your collecting with juyo-quality blades? I understand if you're ensuring a blade's provenance, but considering how many more blades you can buy for that price range, I'm interested in your thoughts.

 

I was considering it yes.. Im usually interested in buying Katanas from early to late Edo period in good conditions with a important family history. I thought about a Koto from the Kamakura period as well. But before I could really be worthy of such a piece of history, I need to feel the presence of a living master and his work to better understand its value and appreciate the work.

 

Thats why in the end I'm prob going for a beautiful blade from Kimura Kanetsugu 兼嗣. He has some beautiful work from the 90s. Especially the ones inspired by Minamoto Kiyomaro. I dont know if you know him well enough but after my research.. he is one of the few smith alive that make great Utsushi's from Kiyomaro. Also the school he leads they use their own Tamahagane and it gives the blade a bit different Jigane of what i heard.

 

Example: https://www.aoijapan.com/katana-higo-kuni-ju-akamatsu-taro-kanetsugu-saku/

 

My next blade in my collection will tho be one with bit more history (1650 to 1850). :)

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Mark

 

Before spending too much money, may I recommend you get in touch with Chris Hill (nickname here: Valric) from Switzerland, who is also on this board. Perhaps you two could find some common topics and he has some good views, blades and knowledge to help you formulate your interests. 

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1 hour ago, Gakusee said:

Mark

 

Before spending too much money, may I recommend you get in touch with Chris Hill (nickname here: Valric) from Switzerland, who is also on this board. Perhaps you two could find some common topics and he has some good views, blades and knowledge to help you formulate your interests. 

 

Oh thank you. I was hoping for someone from switzerland to contact me here. I will try to reach out to him! 

Cheers!

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