Katana Appraising

MM

Joined
Nov 22, 1998
Messages
687
My neighbor brought over a katana that her husband took off an officer during WWII. She wanted to know what I thought it was worth. Not knowing very much about these swords I had to plead ignorance. Its a very cool sword and in very good condition. My question to all of you is where could she go to find out what this piece would be worth? What would be a ball park figure on something like this (if thats possible to give without seeing it)?

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Ciao

MM
 

DHR

Joined
Dec 31, 1998
Messages
27
MM I am no author on these swords but some things to look for, is the handle wood or wraped cord handle? If it the latter one you need to find a sword apprisor in your area. Look in the yellow pages under "Antiques". Do not let just any one look at it unless they know what they are looking at. Do not try to take the handle of yourself, many have been messed up. Take it to more than one dealer.

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Danny Ridenhour
888Kniverus.com
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Joined
Oct 13, 1998
Messages
669
If I remember correctly, the officers swords were ground, not forged, but still good quality. If there is a japanese sword polisher nearbye, they are the person to go to, apprasial is part of the polishing ritual.
Aaron
 

MM

Joined
Nov 22, 1998
Messages
687
Thanks for the suggestions. The handle is wrapped. There are two cords (silk?) with tassles that hang from the handle. I don't see a temper line, so maybe the blade is ground.

If anyone knows of somebody in the L.A. area qualified to appraise such a sword, please let me know.

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Ciao

MM
 

DHR

Joined
Dec 31, 1998
Messages
27
MM, Look in your yellow pages under "antiques" there should be some one there to help you. Look for one that deals in military WW11 stuff. A hand made sword could be carried by any one if they had the money, if not they were isued a sword. A temper line could have been cleaned of by someone who thought they were doing good!

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Danny Ridenhour
888Kniverus.com
Web Site Comming Soon!

 
Joined
Oct 7, 1998
Messages
1,838
Here are some Nihonto (Japanese sword) sites where you should be able to find the information you are after.

http://www.gemlink.com/~rstein/sites.htm
See 'Military Collector's (sic) Resource' at bottom.

http://www.gemlink.com/~rstein/period.htm has military info at bottom.

Hope this helps, Walt


 

Jim March

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 7, 1998
Messages
3,018
The following is NOT a substitute for an appraisal, but it'll be a start, and offer a "rough guess" as to age/value.

First thing, swords worn during WW2 generally had a "retaining pin" that held it firmly in the scabbard. You'd hit a button to release. Normally that's a bad sign, but sometimes a GREAT piece of old steel will be lurking in such a "modern type" sheath/grip combination.

An old blade may have a distinctive feature: good Japanese swords will NOT have "flat sides", they'll come up from the cutting edge to the fattest point, they'll then get slightly narrower towards the spine and then they'll have a "blunt ridge" at the very spine. But the GOOD old stuff will have a "battle bulge" at the tip, where the upper side faces "flare out" and then come back to the tip. This "bulge" reinforced the tip and made for a fat entry wound in front of a slightly "skinnier" blade, possibly having a "blood groove like" effect. That's one theory, anyways.

To do a proper appraisal you'll have to seperate grip from blade anyways. Stick the tang on a scanner and record the maker's marks on one side, save as .JPG or whatever, stick it on the web and put a pointer to it over at www.swordforums.com.

Also: take a close look at the mount hole in the tang..."the real thing" will have been punched out with the metal hot and this will be obvious versus something done with a drill press in the 20th century.

Fullers (proper term for "blood groove" which was probably no such thing) aren't too common on Japanese pieces. Not unheard of, mind you...double-edge swords/knives are also seen sometimes.

I'm a beginner at all this myself, so if I'm wrong on any point please correct me.

Jim March
 

DHR

Joined
Dec 31, 1998
Messages
27
Jim, I have a sword like the one you talked about & it is hand made. Not old by Jap. standards. But it was made by Masacane of the Hataci Pro. I don't much ether but I look for things that make me go. And a good sword does it for me.

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Danny Ridenhour
888Kniverus.com
Web Site Comming Soon!

 
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