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Curio & Relic/Black Powder Curio & Relics and Black Powder Firearms, Old School shooting fun!

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2019, 2:42 PM
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Default Picked up an old sword yesterday

I am not really an avid sword collector, but I do like old stuff (kind of like me) and I sort of fell into a deal on this sword.

What I have been able to find out so far is the makers surname is Kaneshige from Mino Prefecture. His first name is missing, likely cut off when the sword was shortened. Typical date range for Mino blades in this configuration is from the mid 1500's to early 1600's. There is another possibility that the Kaneshige that made it was active as a sword maker in the mid to late 1400's. Whichever Kaneshige made it, it looks as though it is most likely either a early "New Sword" or a late "Old Sword".

The grain of the metal is called a burl pattern as it resembles the grain in a wood burl. The Hamon (temper line) is a Suguha, or straight pattern. While it is in kind of rough condition, the blade is still sharp enough to cut the poo out of you if you aren't careful when handling it. The scabbard is the typical wood covered in leather for military use and it has a small repair at the bottom using a different kind of leather than was used on the original cover.

So what I have is a very old family blade that was captured during WWII. Unfortunately the guy I got it from failed to get any kind of a back story on the now deceased vet that brought it home so I have no idea of where it was captured.

All in all, I don't think I did too badly for the $150 I paid for it.











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  #2  
Old 09-21-2019, 2:45 PM
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Nice find. Original Japanese blades are highly collectible.

One thing: don't touch the blade with bare hands. Finger prints and polished steel on swords don't go well.
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2019, 2:51 PM
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There is a swordsmith on Pawn Stars that does referrals. Maybe contact them for contact info.
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Old 09-21-2019, 2:56 PM
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nice find
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  #5  
Old 09-21-2019, 3:10 PM
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I'm still kind of in shock that this blade is probably 500 years old. At first I was thinking it was another machine made blade from the early twentieth century. I am leaning towards having it professionally appraised and if it is worth enough I will have to make a decision whether to get it professionally restored by a reputable person.

I know that at this point I am reluctant to let it out of my possession, so I will probably try to look up the the guy that Gold and Silver Pawn use and just drive down there to have him look at it.
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Old 09-22-2019, 6:27 AM
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Congrats !!!

I don't think you can go wrong with what you paid for it !! LOL

That Sword is every collectors dream.., to find a 500 year old blade hidden away in military mounts.

Just out of curiosity.., what makes you think the blade was shortened ?

Regards, Mario
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Old 09-22-2019, 6:30 AM
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As I recall the handles were usually shortened, not the blade.
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Old 09-22-2019, 6:38 AM
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Subd, interested in the outcome, congrats on the find.
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2019, 6:42 AM
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Maybe you could find out more here....got lots of info on my 2 swords here-

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/
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Old 09-22-2019, 6:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhead714 View Post
As I recall the handles were usually shortened, not the blade.
Yes.., you're correct...

In most cases they were shortened at the Tang (Nakago).. not the blade.

I just don't see that Nakago being messed with.

Regards, Mario
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2019, 7:02 AM
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Wow, that is an awesome relic. When something is that old (500 years?) restoration is really out of the question. Preservation is the objective. The signs of age are part of its charm now. It is what it is.
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Last edited by California_Deplorable; 09-22-2019 at 7:05 AM..
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2019, 7:11 AM
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It definitely has been shortened, most likely sometime in the late 1930's or very early in the 1940's. You can still see traces of the Hamon towards the handle. It looks like it was shortened about 2" and a new handle installed at that time.

Last edited by highpower; 09-22-2019 at 9:53 AM..
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  #13  
Old 09-22-2019, 8:21 AM
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FANTASTIC FIND. A STEAL!
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  #14  
Old 09-22-2019, 8:51 AM
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Great score bro, don't ever send it down the road.

Psalm 1
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  #15  
Old 09-22-2019, 11:46 AM
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JEALOUS!

Blade is probably 1400s and was a Koto Tachi (longer and worn blade down) - other holes were drilled/punched later as Uchi Katana (shortened, worn blade up) became popular in the 1600s, and maybe again when it became Gunto (possibly further shortened and worn blade down again). The Patina on the Nakago is encouraging, likely indicating a very old (Koto) Blade

Contact the San Francisco Token Kai for help / advice / appraiser references
http://www.ncjsc.org/SF_token_kai.htm
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:48 AM
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OP, that is a sweet sword!
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  #17  
Old 09-22-2019, 2:28 PM
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There's an elderly Japanese man that came to the Bay Area gunshows, and I would bet the people at the link rmnc3r posted, know who he is. He specializes in restorations, and has the knowledge of these swords to go with it.
A friend of mine picked up a rusty sword, and beat up scabbard for less than $400. Neither one of us knew jack about them, so we took it to a show where he attended, for an appraisal.
He lit up as he examined it. Made in the 1400's by one of the best, and very rare to find. He talked Dan into letting him take it back to Japan for a full restoration. If I recall, it was about $1500 and that was 15yrs ago. Absolutely beautiful when he got it back, and even back then he had several collectors value it between $6 - $8K.
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  #18  
Old 09-22-2019, 4:20 PM
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Japanese sword people don't seem to have the phobia regarding restoring swords that gun people have about firearms, so having a quality restoration done on it, is totally acceptable.

I need to do some more research, but so far, for a polish in Sashikomi finish, I am looking at around $3000. Of course that doesn't include refurbishing the Tsuka or any other sundry repairs and parts that it may need. I would feel safe to assume that the total job will be closer to $5000. I don't necessarily mind spending the money on it, but holy moly that is a lot of dough!

My guess is that it would be totally worth it and I am strongly leaning towards having it done, probably sometime next year as I will need some time to raise the money and find the right person to do the job. There are master Japanese sword polishers here in the US, but I won't be able to contact anyone until next week to find out if this sword is a candidate for such a service.

One thing I do know, is that if I do decide to get it polished, I don't care as much about the cost as I want it done by the right person. It has managed to survive the last five centuries more or less intact and I know that I am merely the latest caretaker in it's long life. I want to make sure that those that posses it after me will able to enjoy it in better condition than when I got it.

Last edited by highpower; 09-22-2019 at 4:50 PM..
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Old 09-22-2019, 5:11 PM
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Ted Tenold (ex-pat Commifornian) is a well respected Polisher, even by Japanese Connoisseurs of Nihonto (Japanese Swords).
http://www.legacyswords.com/

An antique blade is a candidate for Polishing in order to reveal the Hada and Hamon and bring them to full glory for appreciation, but the patina of the Nakago (Tang) is never touched, much like the advice to never remove the patina on an antique firearm.

Rather than a full restoration to include fittings (Saya, Tsuba, Tsuka and etc.) the usual recommendation is to mount the blade in a simple Ho Wood Shirasaya.

You just missed the August Token Kai in SF, OP, - a great place to peruse many fine examples of Nihonto and Tosogu (Fittings), but there is always next year.
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Old 09-22-2019, 7:22 PM
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Congrats, that is an incredible find. Very interested in how this turns out.
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  #21  
Old 09-22-2019, 7:27 PM
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Default WOW!

500 year old steel! SCORE!

Congrats OP.
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  #22  
Old 09-22-2019, 8:55 PM
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congrats on the find but i am afraid for me it would start a holy grail search for the family it belonged to so they knew it still existed and in the hands of someone who would show it the respect it deserves. Once again since you were willing to save it and restore it you a good custodian for a fine piece of history.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:55 PM
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Cool piece. Weird signature. Doesn't actually read KANEshige. It reads: Mino KANAshige. Can't find much info on a Kanashige from Mino that wasn't a potter.

I don't believe the tang has been shortened, so this signature is complete. It looks like the mekugi ana between the two halves of the sig is the original, and the other two are from remounting the sword after what is known as "machi okuri" i.e. shortening the blade and lengthening the tang by moving the cutting edge up. Likely an early uchigatana, possibly a single-handed katate-uchi in its original configuration from the Muromachi period.

If you want to double your investment, let me know!
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:44 PM
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I'd be considered about the Japanese wanting it returned. No Joke.
Their might not be a question mark at the end of that request.
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Old 09-24-2019, 6:08 AM
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If you want you can PM me. I have a friend here locally that is a genuine expert on Japanese Swords. I could put you in touch with him. He would be able to tell you about everything you need to know. And a Value. Nice find.
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Old 09-24-2019, 6:32 AM
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PM sent....
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  #27  
Old 09-24-2019, 2:58 PM
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Nice acquisition!

Definitely has been cut at the tang, you can tell because it is "V" shaped rather than original rounded form. It also has 3 holes, meaning it has been reset at least twice into new furniture, probably while converted from a Tachi sword into Katana and again into WWII shinken mounting.

That Tsuba (sword guard) looks really really old, and if original to sword, lends credence that it was formerly a Tachi sword.

You need a real expert to evaluate the blade. With signatures, Japan had plenty of forged names onto newer blades, besides sword making families always adopted the same name -meaning you can have 400 years of swords all signed with the same name. Some are treasures, some mediocre.

Two bits of advice:
1 don't keep it in that WWII sheath because old wood and leather holds the moisture in with the steel (although I see you are in NV);
and 2 Never send off your swords to be evaluated or restored/polished unless you have absolutely verified their authenticity and honesty. Way to many people have been ripped-off by thieves and self-described polishers.

You may wish to look here, Northern CA Japanese Sword Club. Based in SF, they even hold an open period at their meetings for people to bring in blades for evaluation. http://www.ncjsc.org
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Old 09-24-2019, 9:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomsday Machine View Post
Cool piece. Weird signature. Doesn't actually read KANEshige. It reads: Mino KANAshige. Can't find much info on a Kanashige from Mino that wasn't a potter.
It reads " mino kinju " . Kinju was one of masamune's student and founding member of the seki sword making school. It is likely a fake signature, a real kinju is extremely rare.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:20 PM
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I don't know jack-sh*t about Japanese swords. But I'll bet you two McDoubles and small fry that it's a for real bring back.
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  #30  
Old 09-25-2019, 6:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hambam105 View Post
I don't know jack-sh*t about Japanese swords. But I'll bet you two McDoubles and small fry that it's a for real bring back.
I agree. While it would be nice if it is a really old sword (and I am betting it is), I do know that it came from the family of a deceased WWII Vet so it is pretty much for sure a genuine bring back. The guy I got it from knows the family and is going to contact them for me and get the Vets name. Once I have that, I will be able to get his service record and find out where he served.

So far, I have heard three different versions of the name that is in the signature. I know that it is hard to give a definitive opinion without a hands on inspection, so I am in the process of trying to set up an appointment with a qualified appraiser and get it looked at by an expert.

Perhaps a close inspection will only raise more questions, but either way, I am looking forward to finding out more about it.
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  #31  
Old 09-25-2019, 8:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWL View Post
Definitely has been cut at the tang, you can tell because it is "V" shaped rather than original rounded form. It also has 3 holes, meaning it has been reset at least twice into new furniture, probably while converted from a Tachi sword into Katana and again into WWII shinken mounting.
I disagree. I would call this iriyamagata or kengyo. Not sure where it falls on the spectrum. It's a fairly normal nakago jiri. Most suriage winds up leaving a straight kiri jiri. I believe this nakago is completely intact, just lengthened by machi okuri.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronColt View Post
It reads " mino kinju " . Kinju was one of masamune's student and founding member of the seki sword making school. It is likely a fake signature, a real kinju is extremely rare.
Dang! Good call. That makes way more sense. Aren't most Kinju mumei anyways?
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomsday Machine View Post



Dang! Good call. That makes way more sense. Aren't most Kinju mumei anyways?
Yes sir. For what the op paid for it, he can get 10 folds the money in return.
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