THE MECHANICS OF APPRAISAL
While appraisal, as a process, is done for historical query, it is also necessary when fixing value.
Valuation of both Japanese swords and fittings is accorded through an historically derived market, of long standing, directed to the works or fame of gifted individuals or schools.
As it is the makers of articles that signify market potential, the job of appraisal comes to confident identification of origin.
When appraising an individual piece, the sword blade is considered last. First in appraisal is placing value to whatever articles attend the blade, namely, KOSHIRAE or sword fittings - the "furniture".
Fittings have a value separate from that of sword blades. They are figured piece by piece and summed later with the value of the blade to complete an appraisal.
While the purview of this book is appraisal of sword blades, not the valuation of KOSHIRAE, a subject of its own, the operation plays a definite part in appraisal procedure, - the first part.
A spot appraisal is conducted quickly: as with all operations involving a sword that is viewed for the first time, Japanese propriety asks that a small moment be devoted to reverence of the piece and the KAMI. This might be a slight bowing or a nod of the head. This applies, of course, where propriety applies.
One checks the fittings in order:
Swords are examined first for:
Show-room condition, what is known as MEIBUTSU, is a
condition which allows a fully developed market potential.
Swords and fiitings must be in top condition or restorable to
top condition to compete in the market. If a piece is not
restorable it sits outside market, losing all claim to market
and listing. It is then but a curio, perhaps a fine curio, but
is comparatively, worthless.