Japanese sword appraisal

Communicate directly with a qualified specialist and get a fair market valuation of your item, typically in 48 hours or less.
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Mearto Specialist:

David U.

Dr. David U. brings over a decade of experience with a distinguished specialization in Asian and African art history. With a background in art consultancy and art management in various international galleries, he is currently lecturing for a luxury house in addition to his work for Mearto. He has curated numerous exhibitions and produced symposia and publications throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. His extensive professional network, as well as his expertise, enhances his appraisals in the categories of: Asian art and antiques, African, Pre-Colombian and Aboriginal art, swords and antique firearms.

Appraising Japanese swords (nihonto) requires a deep understanding of their history, craftsmanship, and cultural significance. Here are the key factors and steps involved in appraising a Japanese sword:


We help many of our customers to find the value of their antique Japanese sword. Here are a few Japanese sword appraisals:

Japanese sword purchased at auction, 33 1/2” total length, one hole on blade for peg, signature, includes small knife. $200 to $400

A beautiful finely decorated and hand-carved gold short sword in style of Meji period (probably late 19th century) $400 to $800

It is a lovely Japanese sword or Tachi from the late 19th century - early 20th century. $200 to $500

1. Swordsmith and School

  • Signature (Mei): The signature engraved on the tang (nakago) can often identify the swordsmith. Some of the most famous schools include Bizen, Yamato, Soshu, and Mino.
  • Period: Knowing the era when the sword was made (e.g., Heian, Kamakura, Muromachi, Edo) can greatly impact its value.

2. Condition and Integrity

  • Blade Condition: The blade should be free of rust, chips, or bends. An intact, polished blade with clear features like hamon (temper line) and hada (grain) is crucial.
  • Tang (Nakago): The condition and patina of the tang can indicate age. The nakago should not be cleaned, as this can remove valuable patina that helps authenticate the sword.

3. Polish

  • Polishing: A professionally polished blade enhances the visibility of the hamon and hada, which are critical for appraisal. Poor or amateur polishing can reduce a sword's value.

4. Mountings (Koshirae)

  • Scabbard (Saya): The condition and quality of the saya can add value, especially if it's original or historically significant.
  • Fittings (Tsuba, Menuki, Fuchi, Kashira): The craftsmanship, materials, and design of the fittings can also affect the sword’s overall value.

5. Provenance and Documentation

  • History: A well-documented history of ownership can significantly enhance value, especially if the sword has been owned by notable individuals or has been part of significant collections.
  • Paperwork: Certificates of authenticity and appraisal from recognized institutions (e.g., NBTHK - Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai) are essential.

6. Rarity and Demand

  • Rarity: Unique or rare features, such as experimental shapes or particular swordsmiths’ works, can increase value.
  • Market Demand: The current market demand for Japanese swords can fluctuate, affecting the appraisal value.

7. Aesthetic Qualities

  • Hamon and Hada: The aesthetic beauty and uniqueness of the temper line and grain pattern are significant appraisal factors.

Submit now to get a Japanese sword appraisal within 24-48 hours.

What our customers say:

150,000+ satisfied customers

4.6/5 ★★★★★ rating

I received a response and information regarding my items in less than 48 hours, which I appreciated. The appraiser was very knowledgable.

Kristal Hicks Torpey

I highly recommend Mearto if you're curious of the value or background of any item in your home.
The appraisal I received from Mearto was detailed and thorough.

Austin Phillips

I received a quality appraisal in less than 48 hours. I also acquired a second opinion of an industry expert who concurred with Mearto's appraised value.  

Todd Roper

Prices that scale with the size of your collection:

1   Appraisal
$25
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3   Appraisals
$70
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5   Appraisals
$90
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10   Appraisals
$170
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