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WTS OR Antique Handmade Signed Japanese Katana -- WWII capture from killed Japanese officer

Discussion in 'Edged Weapon Classifieds' started by fireninja13, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    So, many years ago I picked this up in a trade and it has pretty much lived in my safe since then. It came with a story about a relative taking if from the body of a slain Japanese officer. After I got it I took it to the regional expert in such things (Steven Strauch) who informally appraised it as follows:

    Smith: Nagamitsu
    Style: Gunto Zukuri Katana
    Temperline: Gunome Choji
    Era: Gendaito made in 1942 or 1943.

    Basically, this sword was a handmade piece made during the war and commissioned for an officer -- it is a true Nihontō i.e. a Japanese style sword made in Japan by traditional methods.

    The maker Nagamitsu is a "named smith" known for making a solid and heavy-duty sword, and his swords have excelled at kabutowari (helmet cutting). This one is definitely of that type and is a sturdy specimen. More about Nagamitsu: http://www.japaneseswordindex.com/naga.htm

    Regarding condition, the old military furniture is battered, incomplete and completely un-restored. But, the blade is in excellent condition -- partial original polish, no rust, cracking, or serious pitting, and nice clear signature.

    I have had the sword for years. My long term plans were to have a shirasaya made for it and just sit on it as an investment, but I never got around to it and my hobbies and interests have changed

    As of now I will sell it $3000 OBRO, which is far less than the appraisal value (which was done informally some years back). I'm not desperate for money, and I'm not opposed to holding it for another 10 years. I will consider trades of a nice Colt Python, S&W Model 27, Colt AR15, Colt 1911 Series 70, or Desert Eagle Mark I, PLUS cash. I will consider straight-across trades for pre-1974 American Automobiles in excellent condition, or multiple top quality vintage firearms.

    Let me know if you're interested in having a look at it.
    IMG_3807.JPG signature.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  2. ZakAri

    ZakAri Portland, or Active Member

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    Cool!
     
  3. nitestocker

    nitestocker woodland washington Well-Known Member

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    good luck nice piece of steel
     
  4. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    Thanks guys!

    I got this years back when when I was still training and competing with Japanese swords. . . it is a lot less relevant to me now, and Im looking to find it the right home.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  5. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    . . .
     
  6. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    I'll leave this post up for another few weeks, and then she'll go back to sitting in the safe with the long guns.
     
  7. Jakec1833

    Jakec1833 Willamete valley New Member

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    Very cool piece of history.
     
    fireninja13 likes this.
  8. turbogunner

    turbogunner New Member

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    I'm sorry, but I'm unable to see the picture well enough to see if it is made of the damascas style folded, layered metal? Probably my old eyes and not your photo. Thanks
     
  9. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    It isn't your eyes -- just poor photographs. Hard to take pictures of reflective objects like this.

    It is made in the traditional Japanese manner with differentially tempered folded steel -- it has a clear hamon or "temper line" which is the patterns in the blade from this process. This however looks a bit different than the wavy contrasting patterns of European or Chinese Damascus steel.

    a good primer on the crafting of Nihontō is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sword_construction

    You'll find that some of the stories from books and movies are true, and others less so ;)

    p.s. if you find a "Japanese Sword" with a Western style damascus looking pattern on the blade it is 99.9% likely a cheap Chinese fake. That is pretty much everything for sale on eBay, unfortunately :(
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  10. Qjay

    Qjay Vancouver, not BC, Washington, not DC Active Member

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    I'm seriously tempted to come have a close look, but I'd be wasting your time, sadly. There's just no way to justify that sort of money right now.

    If someone does come and get it, they'll be getting a steal on that blade.
     
    fireninja13 likes this.
  11. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    I'm happy to show it to you -- if you fall in love with it, we can talk about finding a deal that works for you.
     
  12. MrCaprioni

    MrCaprioni Bend,Oregon Active Member

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    I am glad I live so far away. This thing is freaking awesome
     
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  13. 44mag2ndamend

    44mag2ndamend Round the ole tree stump, Down by the crick Well-Known Member

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    No doubt, you most likely have and authentic piece there. Just the sound of kabutowari sounds like a nugget crackin!

    Maybe somewhere else, like a curio or wartime museum may have interest in that, I know that is where I would look to find a rightful permanent home for that. Plus they would most likely pay well.
     
    fireninja13 likes this.
  14. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    Still got if folks. . . I'll leave it up a little longer then back into the recesses of my safe it goes :)
     
  15. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    So, I took the old warsword down for its annual cleaning and polishing -- traditional limestone powder and clove oil to prevent the high-carbon steel blade from rusting -- it is a nice January ritual :) While I had it disassembled I took got a pic of the tang to show the signature.
     
    Qjay likes this.
  16. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    My attempts to take pics of the blade which showed the hamon (temper line) have been filled with failure as it is very reflective -- most look like the first one I posted awhile back -- my digital camera is not really up to the task. The best pics of the blade which I could get I had to turn off the flash and point an LED flashlight at the blade in a dark room -- I'm attaching those, but they aren't very good.

    IMG_4661.JPG IMG_4660.JPG IMG_4670.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
    206thsense and Qjay like this.
  17. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    did a bit of research on current market value and lowered the cash price to $3000 OBRO.
     
  18. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Is the condition of a blade of this caliber normal for a blade of a relatively young age? The only ones I have seen have been very old so I have no basis for comparison.
     
  19. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    The appearance of the blade will largely be dependent on how much of the "polish" is remaining -- the traditional polishing process is the result of rubbing stones of various coarseness and hardness on the blade. It is time consuming and very expensive -- last time I had a quote on the process it was $100 per inch of blade to be polished, and that was 10 years ago at the buddy hookup price! I'm scared to think how much it would cost nowadays. And unless you have had years of training and practice, if you try to do it yourself you'll probably wreck the sword :(

    If the blade has been well cared for, the original polish can last for many many years. That was my earlier post about the yearly cleaning process with limestone powder and clove oil. But because they are high-carbon steel a neglected Japanese sword can deteriorate quickly and require very expensive restoration. However, if it has not deteriorated too far, when put in fresh polish the sword will appear almost new as it has been resurfaced for all practical purposes -- I have handled 500+ year old Japanese swords and knives in fresh polish that looked new.

    The Nagamitsu is about 70 years old, and is in good 'original' polish. When I got it years ago I took it to an expert to have it cleaned up -- he didn't do a full re-polishing job, but he did remedy the issues caused by being put away bloody during wartime and then ignored for 50+ years -- basically he gave it a careful professional cleaning. Fortunately it hadn't been neglected for too long, and the original surface polish was still intact. As of now she's looking pretty great.
     
  20. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    thanks