This sword came from some important collection and is believed to be made and signed Kiyomaro to be presented to some important person as it was registered in Showa 26 (1951) sword no. 873. Showa 26 is also known as Daimyo registration Year.
A sword bearing a license, the torokusho dated this year belonged to some important Collection. The earlier the registration number is, the more important the owner was. However, in the Daimyo's collection there were common items too and were registered together as a means to protect their assets.
In this year, the Japanese government implemented a law requiring all swords to be registered, starting on a small scale asking the daimyos to register their collection of swords as a precedence to show to the public that it is not some sword confiscation event which had happened few times in the past. Daimyos are the feudal lords of old Japan, Subordinate only to the Shogun.
All swords registered in this year are of good quality and much sought after by collectors.
The early registration card no.873 in Showa 26 shows that it was part of an important collection, regardless whether it was made by Kiyomaro himself, Ato-mei (later added name) or Gimei. (fake name).
This Katana is mounted in shirasaya. Signed: "Minamoto Kiyomaro" and dated 1850. Very early registration with no. 873, dated 1951.
As it is commonly known that 90% of big name swords are gimei for various reasons: When it is time to gift a sword to someone like the Daimyo, a famous sword is most ideal but there were few and very expensive.
Japanese Sword is a very difficult subject and nobody can claim to be an absolute expert. Even buying an expensive sword with a Juyo (Important sword) certificate can turn out to be a bad purchase.
In feudal Japan, the custom of adding a big named smith's signature onto a cheaper sword to enhance its value if the gift was meant for an important person like a Daimyo or the Shogun.
From the Totokusho (registration paper) of the swords, those that were registered in Showa 26, some in 27, mainly belonged to some important collections of some Daimyo or the Shogunate.
However, many of these swords have failed modern day shinsa and were considered as Gimei or faked name.
Gimei is part of Japanese 1,000 year sword history and the quality is usually very good with nice koshirae ( mounting).
If the fake name is removed and resubmit for shinsa, it would get a certificate attributing it to some smith. And sometimes, it could be attributed to a currently much sought after smith who was not popular during the time of gifting...for example, a Shizu was reattributed to Kiyomaro whose signature was removed.
Putting aside all the complications, I adopt the philosophy of buying a nice sword for enjoyment.
When the time comes, a shinsa by NBTHK OR NBTK would needed to establish its authenticity.
Nagasa: 71.2 cm. Sori: 2.1 cm.
Moto-haba: 3.3 cm. Saki-haba: 2.3 cm.
Moto-gasane: 0.8 cm. Saki-gasane: 0.6 cm.
Price : NOT FOR SALE