Shibui Swords

Rules for Successful Buying

If you are new to acquiring pieces on the sword market, please take very careful stock of the following...


Your long held habits do not apply. Think of acquiring as you would in buying a home. Forget "the Steal Deal" - you'll only steal a poor sword. You'll gain a collection of poverty. 

All fair-priced are good. Prices are on a constant rise. With few exceptions, all swords rise. The reason: there is a constantly expanding interest. There are more people; there is greater knowledge. There is an expanding group of collectors and an expanding knowledge-base. Respect in society for swords as works of art is growing.

Your job is to create a fine collection for your life. The money will be fine and especially so for the enhanced collection. This is of the utmost importance.

Mis-matched junkers will gain you exactly what you do not want. Forget that.

If you buy well, you will have a great collection. Like real-estate, you should buy the right property at the right price and expect an ever-enhancing result. 

You cannot buy gold for lead prices and expect to have gold. It's an ever-enhancing investment. 

There are many pieces - a few are most desired. 

If you have things to liquidate, liquidate them. Do not think about the past - you are no longer there. Just liquidate them. Bring that cash into your future. 

You do not have to sell something before buying that special piece. Sell it when it sells; - get that special item, now. 

These two, liquidating the past and securing that special piece for your future are not linked
In some short period, it will have made no difference when you sold. Do not let that special piece get away. The past is the past, don't bother with it. 


There are two aspects: First, you have the golden promise of seeing some swords in hand. 

Unfortunately, this means considering several pieces about which you will soon realize you do not have the information to make a decision. 

Instead of the two or three you are presently studying, the show will hand you twenty; and in all probability, without sufficient information for purchase. 

You need that study.

At the very least, 'Shows' present a plethora of confusing issues. Too many swords, too many people, too many choices. Everyone experiences this.

Rule: Remain careful and serious in both buying and selling. Smart buyers become focused on pieces where there is actual interest to purchase. Extraneous or periphery pieces and information are cast off, confusing issues are cast off.

You want the good ones, only the good ones. The good ones may, and probably are, available before the show. 

The re-occurring habit of "waiting for a show" may gain the desperately unwanted aspect of seeing that good piece, available now, become involved and out-of-reach while it visits the very same show. 

Shows present a larger hindrance for buyers than they do potential. 


Another very important and mostly hidden aspect, but one that should be regarded seriously, is the common habit by important collectors to not show swords to individuals who have not proven themselves to actually buy. 
It's the "Casting Pearls" syndrome again. That gem piece becomes tarnished by flaunting it around. It loses exclusivity. 

If a person is actively buying good swords, they are shown the good swords.

When a person is turning down perfectly fine pieces of the level requested, taking up the collector's time and energy, placing pieces in a limbo with respect to that collector's other buyers - and does not buy - many collectors will simply no longer show that person the good pieces. 

This is why it is important to be very careful and serious with regard to acquisitions. Buyers gain reputations among collectors just as collectors have reputations among the public.

You have to be a serious buyer - or you won't be taken seriously. This is a community-wide issue. 

Immediately, it is easy for many collectors to show only certain things to certain people. A restricted audience to each piece improves exclusivity, improves the channeling and treatment of a collector's piece's.

So the swords one might hope to find, whether privately or at shows, might not be available at all; and for no other reason than people are grouped by ilk. Unfortunately, it is a battle presented us all. 

Only by being serious, can one establish themselves so. 

You are looking for that fine collection, nothing less.


Drop the rules. Rules are for beginners. - They need rules because they don't know anything. You already know the rules, - but you must live without them; or they will blind you. 

The new rule: Forget rules You must see what is in front you. 

If one holds to rules strictly, one will be forever a beginner. One must step away from rules to step further. 

You must comprehend what you are looking at, with clarity. This cannot be done in the abstract, with rules. 

Once you know The Rules, you can't lose them by putting them aside.

The real rule to learn is always see the whole picture. The little stuff is pat. 

Don't miss the real situation for the sake of the insignificant.

That's the real rule.
  Exception to the new rule: Time is your friend. This must be the most important rule to hold. 

In buying, you decide on the piece and make a deal for it - when you see it.

The idea that time is friend is the whole and only rule in all cases - except one.   When buying.

If you don't act, at the right time for the right piece, - you'll miss it.

The old Samurai used to practice the idea of dying in a second, at the drop of a hat, if the right whim. Just totally ready, without thought, go die. This idea was their only chance to go right to the wall in a battle and win - and therefore live - when the action really goes down. In martial arts or military action, you have to be ready to die. The untalked about secret, of being ready to die in battle, is actually the best plan to stay alive.

It has to be the same with buying: - you have to know what is the right piece at the right price, etc - and then be ready, absolutely, to just buy.

Because when the right piece comes along and you're taking the time, talking to yourself with, "Oh hey, that's the right piece and that's right price, geez, should I do this?"        BANG!, someone else buys it right there.

You must know what you want, of course, but the trick then is knowing swords - so that you know which are good. Knowing what you want and having already been prepared, you become the winner.

In all other situations, collecting, holding or selling,  time is your friend;  - with the one exception of buying. NEVER let that dream piece get away. It's the same as letting that dream spouse get away - you'll be kicking yourself for the rest of your life. 


Important Note on Collecting

It is perhaps a partial statement, but none the less not far-fetched, to say that the sword appraisal agencies and sword clubs in modern Japan have made up and created a mind set for today's collectors; and have set them like sheep for the polished, papered "Packaged" sword products. - Little notice has been taken that the real Samurai swords, the actual swords of the Samurai - are being wholly altered, ground up by polshing and re-constructed, essentially ending their specific histories.

When a Temple or Shrine is completely reconstructed; or moved down the street to make way for a parking garage - is it the same?

One of the aspects for collectors is certainly polished, and papered swords; - And the other, however, are original, real Samurai antique swords. Nihonto.

     The two are not the same

Many of the Japanese collectors would never bother changing, papering or altering their swords at all - of course, the why of this hasn't been loudly preached.

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