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Japanese Sword Value???

  1. I have what appears to be a WW2 Japanese Sword that was supposedly brought back by a GI during that time period. The blade is in good shape, the sheath is in good shape, but the handle is in serious need of repair.

    From the over-all looks of it, I'd say it is a Japanese Military sword as the sheath has a single attachment point, the sword has a spring type button lock that locks the sword into the sheath, and the sheath has a cap on the end. I thought at first it was a Japanese Military NCO Sword, but after doing a little research, I've determined it is not.

    The blade tang is marked on both sides. I've looked at several websites, but can't find one that actually interprets the markings. I'd like to find out what it is, what it's worth and if it would be worth the $ to get the handle restored.

    Any help would be appreciated. I pretty sure it's not a fake.
  2. pics?

    Also, don't try to fix it, and a light coat of mineral oil on the blade about once a year. very light though.
  3. I'll try to get pics tomorrow. The handle is basically destroyed - the wrapping is gone and the wood is all busted up. I have almost every splinter of the busted wood, the underlayment material and I think all the hardware except maybe 1 pin/screw.
  4. The Japanese WWII military swords are not rare and, consequently, not nearly as valuable as the actual Samurai ones. Their quality is similar to most military bayonets. That said, they are still more valuable than the reproductions. Look around your area to see if there are any collectors. You could get a could deal, but in that arena, it could be real easy to get overly optimistic about a purchase.
  5. I saw something on tv where they were assessing the value of a Japanese military sword. Some of them were privately owned by the soldier and traditionally crafted(valuable) swords. But many times the traditional sword had to be cut down(the handle end:) to fit military specifications. The handle end of the steel is where the maker would mark the sword identifying its origin. If the steel under the handle bears the legible name of a maker(you would need an expert to check) then it could be very valuable. If this data has been cut off it is not identifiable and therefore not as valuable.
  6. Not to kill the excitement, but do yourself a favor now and start by assuming it's either a total fake or a decent replica. There's been so much popularity for these things in the last 20 years, and the guys who manufacture fakes and replicas have gotten really REALLY good at what they do. With that said....

    The next step would be to go through as many low cost appraisals as possible. Do your research, get lots of feedback. Eventually you should be able to get an honest, realistic idea of what you have. As far as collectibles are concerned, the Japanese sword is a sticky, complicated mess. Lots of people get screwed in the transactions with these things, and you need to proceed with caution. But you should do what it takes to find out what you have. Good luck.
  7. There was one on that Pawn Stars show on History.

    They said that after WWII there was more Samurai swords in US then in Japan. If it was Japanese officer sword it was probably cut down (to regulation size) version of traditional sword. They lost most of the value by doing that. Only uncut, traditional swords worth good money.
  8. get some steel wool and clean it with some metal polish... it will be worth more . :whistling:

  9. Why didn't you tell him to take a file to the edge to sharpen it. :rofl:
  10. everyone knows its better to use an stone and some oil to get the proper edge on it! :wavey:

    An ARFCOM member has one in the family. {His Granddad got it off a North Korean who apparently got it off a Japanese officer.} It was in the World War II military fitting, but the blade turned out to be from like the 1700s or earlier, and is worth $10,000+

    The link is in my bookmarks on the laptop, unfortunately.
  12. +87

    Polishing/sharpening is done by EXPERTS and costs around $1,000 for a pro to do it for a reason.
  13. With the tang having the Kanji on both sides it is either a true a collector's item old blade or a modern fake, IIRC. I do not believe the tangs were marked on the military WWII blades. IIRC

    Seriously, if the OP has an ARFCOM account, there are actual experts on there. The thread about the good blade the guy had went like four or five pages.
  14. PLEASE do not give such false information. The OP might not know you are joking.
  15. I should probably get some pictures of the one I've got. My grandmother got it from a man who she dated, who got it off a Japenese officer. Would be interesting to find out the value.
  16. Still no pics. :whistling:
  17. It's been eight hours. He might not have meant first thing this morning when he said he would try to get pics "Tomorrow."

  18. I am actually a bit of a fanatic Nihonto collector myself.
    I would most definately advise you to post your question and any possible pics of tang (nakago) length (nagasa) and any other information on "nihontomessageboard.com". If the mei (signature) is still visible the guys on this forum can let you know if it is a showato (sword made for war, mostly machine made and not from tamahagane, japanese iron)
    Also if you see a small stamp on the upper side of the tang that is usually an indication that it is a sword made for the war.
    Also the patina/rust on the tang can give you some indication with regards to age. If it is very dark rust and the yasurime (file markings) on the tang are no longer visible, it is most likely an older sword.

    The chance that you have a true Nihonto (Japanese art sword) is small, but it most definately happens that true nihonto have WWII Koshirae (mountings)

    Good luck, post your pics and questions on Nihontomessageboard.com and all will be fine....


  19. Where did you get that load of crap from? A family katana in good condition loses almost ZERO value when they were shortened to be fitted into military mounts.
  20. Oh and by the way, even a showato ("showa" means the war era, "to" means sword) in good condition mind you, so complete koshirae (mountings) and with blade in normal condition will still have a value of approx. $ 800 - $ 1500

    If it is a true Nihonto then it will all depend on who the smith or school of smiths was, and therefore what period it is from, and of course the quality of the blade.

    If you are then interested in getting it optimal for selling it, you would need to find proper mountings or have a shirasaya (plain wooden scabbard to protect the blade) made. Which will cost + $1000 (if you can find someone to do it...) and if you want to get the blade polished you will probably look at a few years waiting period and approx $ 1500 for the polishing. Then to top it off you could submit it for shinsa who will determine smith, school, era, condition and give a certificate. If you get good papers it will most definately be worth while, but the problem is.. you don't know.

    Let's say you hit the jackpot and you get "Juyo Token" or similar papers and your sword is from a well known smith/school. It might be worth between $ 50.000 and $ 100.000,-

    But now I'm just getting way way way ahead of myself... and that would realy be like hitting the jackpot, with the same very very slim chance....

    So I will stop typing now... before I get you all hyped up about a sword that could just as well be a Chinese copy worth 50 bucks...
  21. You are right, Lotiki

    Suriage or O-suriage (shortening or greatly shortening a blade) hardly does any damage to the value of a sword.
    A lot of very valuable katana and wakizashi are suriage. (I own a wakizashi attributed to Aizu Michitoki school, Shinto period approx 1780 with "kanteisho"-papers which is also shortened and it is worth approx. US $ 4.000)
  22. I have what I believe is an army officer's sword. It is in very good to extremely good condition. The only thing missing is the original wooden peg that holds the handle on. But it has a replacement peg in there (maybe carved by my father), and everything is held together nicely and tightly fitted.

    Most of the paint/finish is still on the scabbard. The wrap around the handle is in very good shape, and under the wrap is some kind of shark-skin or stingray-skin. It sort of looks like a pebbled ivory, but I believe is a skin. The fittings appear to be brass. The edge of the sword is sharp enough to cut yourself with, but has some dings. The sides of the blades have very few to none scratches or dings.

    I don't have measurements or pics, but it is what I'd consider full-size. I doubt it pre-dates WWII era. It was probably specifically made in the 1930s for officers. By that, I mean it looks very typical, and nothing unusual about it, other than being in good condition. As I understand it, the NCO swords didn't have a skin in the grip, but were metal there. This has the much more decorative officer's design.

    My father got it when he was a kid. He bought it from a returning GI.

    Any guesses as to the value?

    Looks exactly like this one, which evidentally sold for $897

    I don't know if the tang looks the same, but the rest of the sword's general appearance does.
  23. I have a Samari sword belonging to a Japanese Army Major that my father brought home from the Phillipines at the end of WWII. Father was duty officer one day after the end of the war, and accepted the surrender of the Major and his unit. I still have the cloth bag with the Major's name & address with the sword. I had an expert look at the sword, and the characters under the hilt are in the ancient language, that present day Japanese can't read. I discovered even modern Samari craftsmen before WWII used the ancient language to mark their swords. Tried to return it to the Major's family and was advised that he had died 5 years before, and the family would't accept it because of the bitter memories. I was told that if they would have accepted it, I would have been flown to Narito airport and would be met by a member of the Japanese Antiquities Commission, who would receive the sword, and loan it to the family for life to be displayed on the Shinto Shrine in the home.
    Have the Major's Nambu made in 1934 also.
  24. @ Ithacadeerslayer

    Unfortunately there is no way of telling what your sword is worth from the present information same as the original poster. The mountings you describe are very common, ofcourse. and these fittings can house a Chinese copy of 50 bucks or, if you are very lucky, a true nihonto worth several thousands...
    Again, I would also strongly advise you to take pictures of the tang and the blade itself, and the point (kissaki) and post these on Nihontomessageboard) There are several "experts" there who can give you honest advice and information. If there is a signature on the tang whichs can still be read, then these guys will tell you in a heartbeat what the name of the smith is, and then you will also know which period it is from and maybe if it is "gimei" (fake signature which also happens a lot)

    by the way, the signatures on Chinese fakes usually are jibberish and make no sense, plus chinese fakes are very easily identified by type of steel (you often see damast-like blades which is absolutely not Japanese) no sharp yokote and shinogi (That small horizontal line at the point and the ridge line) and are usually large and clumsy swords with terrible balance and shape.
  25. Does it look like the one in my above link? Or is it a different style? Maybe your's is in better condition than that one?

    I know with your situation, you had a name and address. But in general, I feel, hey they started and lost the war. So I don't feel bad at all about having the sword.
  26. When were the Chinese fakes made?

    I know that my sword is at least as old as 1945-6, because that is when my father bought it.

    He and his friend, they were about 10-12 yrs old, bought a lot of the swords from GIs, and then they used to swordfight. One day his friend got cut, so my grandmother made him sell them all expect for 2, and no more sword fighting! He kept the very best from his collection. The other sword was a German dress sword.
  27. Worth more if taken off a Jap officer your Uncle Earnie killed in the Big One.

  28. Mine is in a leather scabbard. I learned the Japanese officers changed the scabard, hilt, and handguard to fit whatever occassion or ceremony like we change pistol grips. I believe my Samari is in battle dress.
  29. Can't you read? It was on the TV show called Pawn Stars on History channel. Sword expert was giving price estimate to the pawn shop guy.
    I do not care ether way. Just passing along what was said.
  30. Actually, that was on American Pickers, not Pawn Stars. ;)
  31. I love how Odell is the ultimate professional. He goes on to talk about the sword, while Bony Dude is slowly bleeding out behind the display table.