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WWII Japanese sword?

ssilverssilver Member Posts: 34 ✭✭
edited May 2014 in Ask the Experts
I don't bother people in the forum often. But when I have I've received some GOOD info. Thanks! This time I found what I'm sure is a authentic Japanese sword captured at the end of WWII, still has capture tag + purchased from vets family. My question is where would I start to research a sword that is unsigned. For some reason I can't get my computer to post the photos but I will sure send them to anyone interested. Thanks in advance for any help.

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    charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You should get pro help. I think all had maker marks under the grip and some are really valuable.

    http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/authentic-japanese-swords.html

    http://samuraisam.net/
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    ssilverssilver Member Posts: 34 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by charliemeyer007
    You should get pro help. I think all had maker marks under the grip and some are really valuable.

    I would love to show it. I live just outside St. Louis any recommendations?
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    lew07lew07 Member Posts: 1,055 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    To be going on with look at the handle just below the guard.You may see some factory/arsenal marks on it there .For instance what look like to be 3 canon balls in a little stack.Photos would be good tho please[:)]
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    ssilverssilver Member Posts: 34 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by lew07
    To be going on with look at the handle just below the guard.You may see some factory/arsenal marks on it there .For instance what look like to be 3 canon balls in a little stack.Photos would be good tho please[:)]


    I have looked it over from one end to the other & can find NO markings of any kind. Photos I have & will email if you like.
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    lew07lew07 Member Posts: 1,055 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes please if You would like to[:)]
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    62fuelie62fuelie Member Posts: 1,069 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    These swords can be a very intricate research project. There were family swords, some of which had been passed down for generations, mostly carried by officers and there were military issue swords. Under the handle bindings there should be 2-4 cross pins that are retained by the binding. Carefully remove the pins/pegs and slide the grip handle off. On the tang there may be any number of stampings and marks. These are what the experts will need to help identify the history of the blade.
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    FatstratFatstrat Member Posts: 9,147
    edited November -1
    Not all the WW-2 Japanese swords were private maker. The Govt also made swords. I believe they were NCO swords. And while of decent quality, they were factory produced and not nearly the quality or value of private maker swords.
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    gary wraygary wray Member Posts: 4,663
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Fatstrat
    Not all the WW-2 Japanese swords were private maker. The Govt also made swords. I believe they were NCO swords. And while of decent quality, they were factory produced and not nearly the quality or value of private maker swords.


    Yep, the Japanese made sure that all WWII officers and NCO's had "swords" so many thousands were surrendered....and some were VERY valuable, family owned, old swords that are quite valuable. Telling the wheat from the chaf means you need a Japanese sword pro to examine what you have carefully. Good luck! Hopefully you have a diamond in the haystack!
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    Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,374 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes, you definitely need a qualified inspection.
    I am not an expert or specialist, but from what I have read...

    You might - most likely - have a factory made GI sword of no great distinction. Even these have gotten to be of some collector interest and value because the really nice ones are in museums and extravagant collections, some even repatriated back to Japan.

    You might have a handmade blade that was cut down to WWII GI length and put in standard military mounts.

    And of course you might hit the jackpot with an unaltered high quality heirloom sword worth a lot of money... and about as common as a winning lottery ticket.

    Get it checked out. Resist the temptation to "clean it up." Sword polishing is a skilled trade and it is easy for an amateur to spoil one. Even rust on the tang under the handle has a story of its own. That rust might be centuries old.

    Resist the temptation to go around sabering the peasants in your neighborhood. A friend has a sword that was obviously never anything but a dress sword. It has a flaw in the blade that would probably break if it were used for cutting. Even so, it is named and dated and is worth a good bit of money.
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    MBKMBK Member Posts: 2,919 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I lucked into two 500 and 600 year old Samurai swords at an estate sale. I took one to a gun show and got low-ball offers when I put them on the table to sort of "test the waters"...."Give ya $125 for that".

    Then I decided to make an effort to find an expert.

    I came up with David McDonald at www.montanairon.com

    I sent them by registered mail and he did an appraisal, photographs, discovered something about each of the makers ...one back to the late 1400's, the other about 100 years newer.

    His fee was quite reasonable. Values for me came to $2600.

    Incidentally, there were many old family heirloom blades redressed in the war time military furniture. And then sent to war against the USA. That is what I bought.
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