Sword Appraisal

Drac

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Do any of you know a legit appraiser?? I have a cop buddy that swears his Great Grandpa left him an authentic katana..He wants to know what it is worth....
 

Sukerkin

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First off, Drac, it is more than likely that if it is a genuine katana then it will be a gunto blade i.e. not something priced in the six-figure ball park.

If it is a true katana of heritage then it is also more than likely he will get little for it as the Japanese government will want it back (it gets a bit legal on such matters).

The best first step is to take it to a museum with a militaria expert on staff. He/she might not be able to appraise the object but they will be able to determine whether it is worth pursuing and also will know a-man-who-can when it comes to putting a legitimate estimate on something.
 
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Drac

Drac

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First off, Drac, it is more than likely that if it is a genuine katana then it will be a gunto blade i.e. not something priced in the six-figure ball park.

If it is a true katana of heritage then it is also more than likely he will get little for it as the Japanese government will want it back (it gets a bit legal on such matters).

The best first step is to take it to a museum with a militaria expert on staff. He/she might not be able to appraise the object but they will be able to determine whether it is worth pursuing and also will know a-man-who-can when it comes to putting a legitimate estimate on something.

Thanks Sukerkin...I will pass the info along....
 

lklawson

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If it is a true katana of heritage then it is also more than likely he will get little for it as the Japanese government will want it back (it gets a bit legal on such matters).
This is the part I find most amusing.

They didn't care until about the 80's or so, when the West became enchanted with all-things-japanese. Only after the rest of the world decided they were valuable, THEN the Japanese government decided that these blades represented an irreplaceable cultural heritage. Before that, you could find genuine family blades at gun shows and flea markets in the 60's and 70's for as little as $20. Guntos for less.

Ah well, I guess the old wisdom still holds true: The value of an item is what people will pay for it. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Sukerkin

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Oddly the same thing happened with all sword prices - I oh-so-wish I had started collecting in my teens when, as Kirk says, you could pick swords up for next to nothing.
 

Bruno@MT

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@Sukerkin, yes I know what you are talking about.
If I had invested 1000$ in buying vintage straight razors 10 years ago when they were still 'passe', I'd be a rich man now. Part of me is glad at the revival of straight razor shaving, but the other part of me wishes that the general public was still blissfully unaware of their existence.

I am wondering about the legality issue though: is the concept 'spoils of war' still valid?
 

Sukerkin

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Interesting point, Bruno. I guess that'd be a matter for the courts to decide if it ever came to it. Even then, I can imagine that refusing to give up such a 'spoil' would be a workable tactic, at least for a while.

After all, we have a number of things in the British Museum that rightfully belong to other nations and those nations have clamoured for their return for quite some time with no sign of success.
 

Ken Morgan

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Personally, if it were mine I would take many, many photos of the blade, the fittings and the markings on the tang, (assuming there is any). I would also take a pencil rubbing of both sides of the tang.

If he has never, or if the sword has never been taken apart, dont let him start now!

There are many, many well qualified enthusiasts out there who will gladly look at the photos and the rubbings and tell you what you have. You do not have to go to a museum. He can and may want to stay anonymous, until he knows what he has. There are some really fine forums for such people http://forums.swordforum.com/ for one. Im not 100% but I thought John Prough of New York city had an article or two up on EJMAS about swords http://ejmas.com/tin/tinframe.htm another fine gentleman, who knows his stuff.
 

Bruno@MT

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Interesting point, Bruno. I guess that'd be a matter for the courts to decide if it ever came to it. Even then, I can imagine that refusing to give up such a 'spoil' would be a workable tactic, at least for a while.

After all, we have a number of things in the British Museum that rightfully belong to other nations and those nations have clamoured for their return for quite some time with no sign of success.

As they say, posession is 9/10ths of the law.
Especially if ownership is contested across borders, the legal battle could be extremely costly. And it would set a -very- dangerous precedent so unless the owner willingly gives it up, I think his government will not sell him out. At least not while their national museums are filled with loot from around the globe.

Personally, I'd be willing to hand over a family katana in trade for a newly forged one, provided that both the smith and the polisher were licensed masters, using the traditional ways of making a sword. But that's just me and I am not in any way judging anyone who doesn't.
 
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