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Tim in Appraisals
Tim in Appraisals, Fine Art Appraiser
Category: Appraisals
Satisfied Customers: 1155
Experience:  Certified Fine Art Appraiser, MA, President of ANA, CFAA
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I have questions regarding a Japanese sword that my mother

Customer Question

I have questions regarding a Japanese sword that my mother has. This was secured by my Grandfather while a member of the occupation forces in Japan. I made an attempt to take a look inside the handle. I was able to remove the plug but could not force the handle off. I did not want to touch the blade.
The 3rd picture shows the tag that was attached to the sword when it was taken from the Japanese owner. The other paper is from a Japanese art appraiser who looked at this many years ago.
Any way to find a value for this?
Also, is there a method that this could be sold back to Japan, possibly to the family?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Appraisals
Expert:  Tim in Appraisals replied 9 months ago.

Good day my name is Tim

I am a Certified IRS Qualified Fine and Decorative Art Appraiser. It will be a pleasure to put my expertise, libraries, resources, and experience in the field to work for you. I have the images you sent. Please tell me the length of the sword. I will see what I can discover regarding the current value of the sword.

Expert:  Tim in Appraisals replied 9 months ago.

Here is a short intro to the sword. For samurai, or military nobility, in pre-industrial Japan, a sword was more than a weapon: It was an extension of the soul. Two swords were carried to form a daisho (meaning "big and small") set, comprised of a katana (which means "long sword") and wakizashi (which means "side arm"). Samurai treated katana swords, which are curved and single edged, with great reverence. They gave them names and, when male children turned 13, held ceremonies in which young men received their first katana swords and armor, along with adult names and samurai status.

The wakizashi — a short sword with a curved blade — was a samurai's "honor weapon" and was always with him; he would even sleep with it under his pillow. When a samurai entered a house, he was expected to leave his armor and weapons outside, but it was traditional for him to keep his wakizashi at his side for protection. Knowing the length will help determine which you have.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The sword s 33 1/4" long.
Expert:  Tim in Appraisals replied 9 months ago.

Thank you.

Expert:  Tim in Appraisals replied 9 months ago.

The size indicates that it is katana by Kawabe Hidekuni (Suishinshi Masahide)(1750-1825). Which is more recent than the date given by the previous appraisal. The current estimate for the sword is: $17,400.00 - $26,00.00.

If you try to locate the family in Japan, they could possible try to claim it back.

Expert:  Tim in Appraisals replied 9 months ago.

The number I just gave is a little low. That was just for the blade, without the hilt and the scabbard. I just found a value for a daisho (the Katana and the wakizashi ) ($117,018) that sold at Christie's in 2005. So the estimate for just the Katana is $50,000 to $55,000.00.