What's the going rate for original Japanese swords?

The harakiri thread got me thinking again about Japanese swords. I used to have a signed 15th Century wakizashi, but being young and hard up for money I sold it to a friend and he wouldn’t sell it back.

Does anyone know what a katana and a wakizashi c. 15th to 19th Century goes for nowadays? I’m not a ‘serious collector’ or anything, so I’d just like a nice * daishō* with clean, unpitted blades, and I’d prefer a signed nakago. Soshu Kitae construction would be great, but probably hideously expensive. Not being ‘serious’, I’d go for honsanmai, which I understand is the most common construction.

I don’t need a quick answer. But somewhere down the line I’d like to get a couple of swords. Just dipping my toe into the market.

19th Century stuff is still pretty available and reasonable.

$500-1000 should buy you one. I used to get two/year. They’re drying up now.

I was thinking a kilobuck would be about the price of a 19th Century one. In the right condition I’d snap one up for $500. Keep me in mind if any come in, eh? :wink:

I will.

I used to collect nihonto in college - gave it up when I started grad school b/c I figured I couldn’t afford the hobby anymore - only kept my first one for sentimental reasons.

Age isn’t enough for a price estimate - condition and maker matter a great deal. Too much so to go into here (typing one handed with a baby in my arms).

Could be anywhere between a few hundred and many thousands.

I would think history has a lot to do with it.
My wife’s family in Japan has a katana they can trace back to the Shogun relative who it belonged to. That’s got be worth quite a bit more than the modern reproductions you can find in just sbout every cheap pawn shop.

My interest lies more in the aesthetics than the history. I like to appreciate the curve and the craftsmanship. It’s less important that it was made my a certain swordsmith or that it belonged to a certain individual or family. The reason I’d like an older one is that I do like history. I’d like a signed tang so that I can see what I can find out about the maker, and also the times in which he lived. But unlike a collector, ‘aesthetics with some history’ is more important than history by itself.

I did look into modern traditional swords a year or so ago. I found some that are made using the traditional methods, and which are signed, but they are from a swordsmith in Korea. By all accounts he’s a Master Swordsmith, and the prices for his wares are reasonable. But there’s something not ‘right’ about a katana and wakizashi made in Korea. I’d consider a sword made using traditional methods if it were made by a Japanese swordsmith, though it wouldn’t have any history.

Katana fanatic with a baby in his hands? Are you Ogami Ittō?