Samurai swords are highly sought-after collectibles that hold significant historical and cultural value. Collectors fascinated by Japanese history and craftsmanship are always on the lookout for the oldest and most unique examples of these swords to add to their collections. Japan’s sword-making industry is closely monitored by the government to preserve the cultural heritage and maintain the quality of these artifacts. The tradition of sword-making dates back centuries, and it continues today with artisans crafting modern and expensive pieces known as the Katana. In this article, we highlight the ancient Samurai sword-making tradition by exploring the five most expensive Samurai swords in the world today.
Etchu Norishige Sword Price: $4,000 paid but valued as priceless
A 14th-century Katana made by Etchu Norishige, one of Japan’s renowned swordsmiths, went missing from a collection. This sword, gifted to a shrine by a Samurai Lord over two thousand years ago, was lost for several decades. Recently, it resurfaced at an auction and was purchased by an Australian bidder for under $4,000. The sword was confirmed to be the missing National Treasure of Japan, carrying a priceless value. Its disappearance and appearance at an auction site remain a mystery. The winning bidder recognized the ancient nature of the sword, and it was authenticated as a product of Japan’s Kamakura period.
13th Century Yamato Katana in Mounts Price: $23,750
A 13th-century Yamato Katana in Mounts was auctioned at Christie’s in 2007. With a history dating back nearly 800 years, this sword was crafted in the Taima school of swordsmiths in Japan. It is one of the slimmer blades produced during that era. Initially valued between $15,000 and $20,000 by Christie’s auctioneers, it exceeded expectations and sold for $23,750. This ancient sword ranks as the fourth most expensive rare Samurai sword in the world today.
Rare Sosho School Katana Price: $69,162
Christie’s auctioned a fourteenth-century Japanese Samurai sword, attributed to the Sosho School, for just under $70,000. This rare collectible piece is believed to be the work of Hasebe Kunishige, a student of the renowned swordsmith Masamune from the Medieval period. One notable feature of this blade is the gold inlay of the designer’s name, showcasing the artistry and skill involved in its creation. Inscribed with the date of completion, this sword is a reflection of the Nanbokucho Period, an era marked by a disputed imperial throne. The Sosho School Katana ranks as the third most valuable Samurai sword sold.
The Kamakura Katana Price: $418,000
The Kamakura Katana is the second most expensive Samurai sword ever sold. It was part of the sword collection of Dr. Walter Ames Compton and dates back to the 13th century. As one of the oldest known Katanas that survived over the centuries, it carries immense historical significance. The Kamakura Katana was sold in 1992, representing the Jumyo school in the Mino province of the Gifu prefecture. Only 125 examples of Kamakura Katana swords are known to exist, and this particular sword is exceptionally well-preserved.
Samurai Tachi Sword Price: $100 Million
The most expensive Samurai sword in the world today is the Samurai Tachi. Tachi translates to “Long Sword” and was among the largest swords produced. This exceptional example dates back to the 16th century and was once owned by the powerful Japanese warlord Fukushima Masanori, who lived during Japan’s feudal era. Fukushima Masanori was a legendary warlord and a prominent figure in Japanese history. The sword is in mint condition and believed to have been crafted near the end of the Koto period, adding to its rarity and historical significance.
These five Samurai swords represent remarkable examples of Japan’s rich sword-making tradition. They hold both historical and cultural value, making them highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.