My Swords for Sale
I have bought and sold hundreds of swords over the last 20 years. For many years, I sold the swords I had discovered in as-found condition, or kept them until I was almost broke, and sold them to a sword dealer, guessing at what a fair price was.
For the last few years, I have been sending my better blades for polishing, restoration services, papering and sayagaki by the well known and highly respected, Mr. Tanobe
In my sword learning journey, I have encountered many pitfalls along the way. I have paid way too much money for swords based on signatures which I thought were genuine, only to later discover that they were fakes. I have had seemingly flawless swords polished, only to have openings appear. I have had swords polished which looked really good, but failed to paper, which made them bad investments. I have found blades which I thought were early koto masterpieces, only to discover that they were later shinshinto copies. Determining which swords are suitable to invest money in, is a difficult at best. I have addressed this issue in "My swod Learning Journey", and will elaborate more in other areas on this website.
For each sword you see on my website, there were many others which failed to pass muster for one reason or another. I have invested countless hours, and driven thousands of miles, to examine many swords, most of which were hardly worth looking at. I once even rented a small airplane, and flew to a tiny airport outside Victorville, just to look at a sword, which I didn't even get to see!
Some swords required several years of going back, trying to convince the owner to sell them to me. I have had sleepless nights, where I couldn't get a great looking blade out of my mind, because the owner wasn't sure if they even wanted to sell it.
I have spent many thousands of dollars on top quality restorations, and have waited several years to have some swords go through the process. I have accumulated this small collection, by focusing my energy on finding the next undiscovered gem, and slowly the number of good blades in my personal collection increased.
When you see any of my swords, which had been polished and papered, you are looking at one of the blades that have survived the culling process, and found it's way in to my collection. I was very fortunate that the better blades in my collection somehow remained undiscovered until I found them.
I never skimped on restoration costs, and have had every blade polished by one of the top polishers, Mr. Bob Benson, and papered by the most respected organizations: the NBTHK in Japan and NTHK when they made trips to the US. These papers are very important, because they are the accepted standard of authentication by the Japanese sword collecting community world wide.
These are my investment grade blades, which are worthy of your time and consideration to study, and as a wise financial investment. These are an inherently secure investment in beauty and quality.
From time to time, I will offer fresh to market, unpapered swords on this website which I feel have good potential and are sound investments. The swords which are offered for sale on my website, are all fresh discoveries as a rule.
If a blade is mumei, and has been attributed to a particular swordsmith or school by a reputable organization like the NBTHK or NTHK, you can be sure that the blade exhibits the unique characteristics which are consistent with the attribution, and thus, it is worthy of study and your investment consideration.
Each sword on my website has a story, some of which I will eventually post under "Sword Stories". These swords all have one thing in common: either they were found in the possession of the family where it had remained since WWII, or I purchased it from a person who failed to recognize it as a special blade.
To insure that every sword I offer for sale is a secure investment, I try to make sure it has been polished and papered before offering it on my website. Unfortunately the process of polishing and papering can easily take 2 to 3 years under the best circumstances, and costs at least a few thousand dollars. Therefore, sometimes I will offer swords on my site which may not have not been polished or papered. I do guarantee these unpapered blades are free from any and all fatal flaws.
All the swords on my site are my personal property. I do not offer swords on my site which have been submitted for shinsa and failed to paper. If I offer a sword for sale on my website, which does not have papers it is automatically guaranteed to not have been sent to any shinsa since at least WWII.
I do my best to describe each sword and fitting I offer. I am still learning, so please understand that my terminology is based in part, on describing characteristics found in the particular swordsmith's work. I may include a copy of the text describing characteristics found on similar examples buy the same smith, or general characteristics which a particular sword school is known to exhibit. I will also do my best to show these characteristics in my photos of each blade. In addition, I have gone to extraordinary lengths to provide as much information as I can through good photos, and video clips. My photos are the foundation for describing each blade I offer for sale. Please consider the written text as my contribution of information normally used to describe similar works by the same swordsmith or school. I will disclose any and all flaws to the best of my ability.
I have done my very best to provide many high quality photos of every inch of both sides of every blade. If you need any additional photos, please email me, and I will have them taken and added to the website.
Pricing Japanese swords is in itself a real challenge. No two swords are alike. You can have two swords which at first appear almost identical, made by the same swordsmith, with exactly the same level of papers, issued by the same organization in the same year, yet one example can be: a really beautiful healthy blade, with outstanding characteristics, and the other, may be a polished down twig of metal, and much less impressive.
These differences can be interpreted various ways by different collectors. Sometimes a better polish makes one appear better, and maybe one of the examples would get higher papers if resubmitted to shinsa. Since there is no price guide which can be referenced to address these issues, I have based my prices on what seems reasonable to me for a particular blade, and to insure I make a reasonable profit.
I welcome input from knowledgeable collectors and dealers, to insure my descriptions are complete and accurate. I am striving to represent my swords and fittings for sale properly.
Thanks for considering doing business with me, and please read my sales policy before committing to a purchase.
Thanks, Christian T. Chaffee (619) 299-3448