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Benton Frisse

Japanese Blade Appraisal

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Hey Folks! Does anyone have any Japanese blade appraisers that are recommended? I have come into possession of a WW2 officer's sword through my grandfather. No signature on the tang, no hamon, etc. Would like to know the age and value. If it's worth something, I'll have a professional restore it. if it's not worth much other than the priceless sentimental value, I'll restore it myself. 

 

Thanks! 

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No signature? it sounds like a common production gunto but why restore it ?

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And what precisely do you mean by "restore"? Return to like-new condition? Repair damage? Stabilize corrosion and other progressive deterioration? 

When I was working in the art restoration studio, we did all kinds of different work, depending on the client's wishes. For example, private collectors often wanted their pieces repaired in such a way that they looked perfect and often could still be used. Museums wanted repairs done in a way that showed (in a minimal way) that the piece had been broken and repaired, as part of the record of its history. Moving companies wanted things to look like they'd never been broken!

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Perhaps he wants to clean it up and prevent further deterioration, such items often show the effects of beer and bravado.

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That they do!

Our standard go-to procedure for most non-porous objects (including a lovely Japanese helmet, btw) was to vacuum off loose dust, clean any significant grunge with diluted Murphy's Oil Soap and Q-tips, allow to dry, and give a light coat of Renaissance Wax. There were more specialized cleaners for particularly delicate items, but we went through a LOT of Murphy's!

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Even if it is a common NCO shin-gunto which were mass produced, it is pretty valuable. Your better off taking lots of good pictures and heading to a world war two collectors forum before you do anything with it. A lot of WWII memorabilia has skyrocketed in price in the last few years.  A basic US entrenching tool, for example, that used to be 25 bucks at a flea market, date coded, is now worth well over a hundred.

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Hi folks, sorry should have clarified what exactly I meant by restoration. I would like to clean the rust off of the blade, and some dark tarnishing has occurred from 70 years of people testing the edge with their fingers. I recently spoke with the president of the San Francisco Nipponto Society, and he seems to think it was a Chinese made sword. I am awaiting another appraisal for confirmation. 

If it is indeed a chinese made sword with not much value, I will clean the blade and polish it myself, since it probably isn't worth much besides sentimental value. The saya does not close properly. It's missing a tsuba, etc. I'd like to polish it and clean it up, keep the old mountings in safe storage, and carve a shirasaya for it to sit nicely next to my two iaito and one shinken on my wall. I would love to one day take it to the dojo and see how it cuts, even. It's a bit shorter than most, maybe 2.35 or 2.3 shaku. 

If it is worth something, regardless of it's origin, I will pay to have it polished professionally. 

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Photos help; i haven't logged onto this site in a while, but i spend a lot of time on the Nihonto Message Board.....lots of helpful people there. Some decent photos, and you should get some educated opinions.

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