Collecting - Nihonto Art
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1. Punch dot date: i.E 24201205 = may 24, 2012
2. Nbthk incorporated foundation
3. Date: when certificate was researched and written
4. Statement: the sword passes hozon certification

5. Wakizashi (mumei): attributed to fujishima
6. Length of nagasa (cutting edge)
7. Kanteisho: “appraisal”, written in caligraphy
8. Certificate number: i.E № 366238


1. Sword Tang Oshigata
2. Personal stamps of the judges
3. Remarks
4. Explanation of what is seen on the Tang
5. Horimono (any carvings on the blade)
6. Boshi (tempering within the kissaki)
7. Hamon (details within the tempering)
8. Jigane (sword grain description)

9. Meibun (inscription on Tang)
10. Certification serial number
11. Nihon Token Hozon Kai
12. Date the certification was issued
13. Shoshin (Genuine. and Nagasa length
14. Name, region, or school
15. Kanteisho


1. Sword Tang picture
2. Personal stamps of the judges
3. Remarks
4. Explanation of what is seen on the Tang
5. Horimono (any carvings on the blade)
6. Boshi (tempering within the kissaki)
7. Hamon (details within the tempering)
8. Jigane (sword grain description)
9. Tsukuri-Komi (blade construction)

10. Meibun (inscription on Tang)
11. Certification serial number
12. Chairman of the Board
13. Nihon Token Hozon Kai
14. Date the certification was issued
15. Shoshin (Genuine) and Nagasa length
16. Name, region, or school
17. Classification of blade (Katana)
18. Kanteisho


1. Photo of tang
2. Fujishiro Matsuo
3. Horimono (any carvings on the blade)
4. Hamon (details within the tempering)
5. Certification serial number
6. Tsukuri-Komi (blade construction)

7. Jitetsu (blade construction)
8. Shoshin (genuine) & Date the certification was issued
9. Signature on the Tang
10. Kanteisho
11. Nagasa (cutting edge)

How much should I spend on a sword?


This is answer is quite personal and varies greatly from collector to collector, it would depend on your immediate and long-term goals. A good sword can easily run you in the tens of thousands of dollars just as high as in the hundreds of thousands. A good question to ask yourself, what is important to you? Quality or Quantity, this can help direct you as to which style of collecting you can pursue. I always suggest to my clients to concentrate on collecting fewer “good” works rather than numerous “lower” grade pieces, but that would be my style and to each his/her own. Most of us do not have the luxury of viewing many swords in person so by concentrating on good pieces I believe this helps to train your eyes. Sometimes when you think you are ready financially to buy a piece it could be good to hold off a little longer, save that extra few and get something that much better.

If you are reading this then you probably already know by now that this is an expensive hobby, but I think it is highly underrated. Smith and quality of the blade aside, if you consider the time and effort that went through to preserve each piece it something incredible. Take a blade that is from early Edo period (circa 400 years ago), the number of hands it passed through and the care that each person dedicated so that today we can hold and appreciate.

Things to expect when buying/owning a sword?

While we are technically able to own and do what we please with these items, we are simply temporary custodians and as the present custodians it is our responsibility to make sure future generations can enjoy them. This requires a small effort in properly handling and cleaning of a blade. When you are viewing a blade, be it a Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto, Yari, Naginata it is suggested to remove the protective oil barrier, this allows for a more clear view of the forging characteristics, hamon (tempering), Jigane (steel)

What kind of sword should I buy?


Nobody should tell you what sword to buy, every collector is different. It is okay for someone with more experience to suggest an item to you but never should one buy a piece just because you’re told it is a “good deal”. Ultimately you will be the one viewing the piece day in day out so it should be something that you are highly attracted to. A good guideline to follow is stick with pieces that have fewest flaws, none preferably but be prepared to pay a little more. Polish is also an important factor because rust can destroy a sword, and poor polish condition deters you from viewing the full beauty of a piece. Not to mention polishing costs are extremely expensive and time consuming so if you could buy a sword that already has a good polish all the better. Something with papers from a reputable organization is always a good thing, they tend to hold their value and often tell you more about the blade, information that you may not know on your own. Many people will tell you to stay away from Gimei (false signature) swords, I believe it is important to collect the blade not the necessarily the signature. If it is in fact a Gimei work most likely it will still be a well made sword, it was common for smiths and Samurai to commission copied works of other famous smiths, and during this process some very good work were made, so you can sometimes get stunning work at bargain prices if you are okay with this.



The following text outlines Nihonto Art’s policies regarding antique purchases. If you have any further questions prior to purchasing an item, please fill out our contact form.  


Nihonto Worldmap


Payment – All payments must be received in full prior to shipment. Preferred methods are bank to bank wire transfer or bank certified cheque. Other methods of payment with associated fees are: Western Union (1.5 % added fee), any major credit cards i.e. Visa, Mastercard, Amex, (3.5% added fee), or PayPal (3.5% added fee).


Deposits – Deposits are non-refundable unless otherwise stated or agreed upon between both parties. NihontoArt reserves the right to cancel any pending purchase if the remaining balance is not fulfilled within 45 days of receiving the deposit.


Refunds – If the item fails to meet the description, it may be eligible for a return (at the seller’s discretion). The item(s) must be shipped back only via FedEx or UPS within 48 hours of receiving your order. The costs are the full responsibility of the purchaser. In order to qualify for a refund, the item(s) must be returned in its original state; undamaged and unharmed.


Guarantee – All items for sale are guaranteed to be authentic Japanese antiques. Many items undergo certification to assure authenticity.


Shipping – The customer is responsible for paying all related shipping costs. Preferred method of shipment to the purchaser is with Canada Post Express, please consult prior to shipment for costs and estimated transit times. A private courier company like Fedex can be used if requested, please mention this option prior to completion of payment. International orders may be subject to duties and fees upon arrival in your country, the customer is fully responsible for these fees. Shipping insurance is not included but could be added at the customers expense. .


Currency – All prices are listed in U.S. Dollars, therefor shall be paid in U.S. dollars. Canadian customers are permitted to make payment in Canadian dollars but are asked to consult prior to purchase.

Koto-Meikan by Markus Sesko. Reference for comparing signatures of Japanese koto-era swordsmiths

Koto Kantei Zenshu by Markus Sesko. A reference to help study attributing a koto sword to a school or smith by identifying certain characterisitics

Shinto-Meikan by Markus Sesko. Reference for comparing signatures of Japanese Shinto-era swordsmiths

Shin-Shinto-Meikan by Markus Sesko. Reference for comparing signatures of Japanese Shin-Shinto-era swordsmiths

Shinto & Shinshinto-kantei by Markus Sesko. A reference to help study attributing a Shinto & Shin-Shinto sword to a school or smith by identifying certain characterisitics

Koshirae – Japanese sword mountings by Markus Sesko. A guide to help identify Japanese sword mounts and their evolution

Encyclopedia of Japanese Swords by Markus Sesko. An in depth encyclopaedia referencing Japanese sword related terms.

Tameshigiri – The History and Development of Japanese Sword Testing by Markus Sesko. Explaining the history of cut tests

The Connoisseurs Book of Japanese Swords by by Kokan Nagayama. Broad discussions of each tradition within the Gokaden focus on the features that distinguish specific schools and smiths.

The Japanese sword by Kanzan Sato. Great visual explanation of guide to the Japanese sword both blade an fittings, great examples of some treasured pieces.

The Sword of Japan by J.W. Bott. Great beginners guide to understanding the Japanese sword, definitions and explanations that every novice collector needs.


To contact Nick Ricupero with any questions or sword inquiry’s please fill the form below. Your information will be kept confidential and will never be disclosed to any 3rd party.