Okidoki, we all have to start at some point…
First questions you can ask yourself :
If you only have $20 in your wallet, then you would surely not go to a high class restaurant but instead you would run into the nearest McDonald’s to satisfy your gastronomical urgings, right? Same story here… your choices will always depend on how much money you have in your pocket as one cannot spend much more than what one has (unless you really want to get yourself in financial troubles :o) .
Once you have set your budget you can start to make choices. No in terms of ‘I want a real one..’ Do you mean you really want a Japanese Sword made in Japan by a licenced smith or is your defenition of a real one : a japanese style sword that can be made anywhere by any smith ?
If you go for the first one, hold on tight because your budget will need to start around 6000-7000 euro to get ‘something’ (new or antique). It won’t be a top quality piece , just an ‘ok katana’ and when going for an antique one, keep in mind that it won’t be in perfect condition and you may add a few bones to restore it.
Sometimes you can find antique one’s (mostly unsigned) for around 2500-3500 euro too but you need to be patient and very careful !
There’s a big chance that you are not looking for that kind of katanas and have a (much) lower pricetag in your head. Your second option is a Japanese style sword made by a Western swordsmith.
For blades made by Western swordsmiths you will need to count around 1800 up to 2900 euro ($2500-$4000) just for the blade. A fully mounted katana starts around 3500 euro ($5000) with the better and more famous smiths.
Your last option and probably the one that will suit you best is going for a katana made by a Chinese swordsmith. Now don’t panic when you read the word ‘made by a Chinese’ because they know a thing or two about forging …in fact they brought swordsmithing to Japan, don’t forget !
So when you have the answer to those 2 questions, it’s time for the next 2 questions : 1. will I use it ? 2. is it just for decoration/collecting ? 3. do I want to use it and give it a nice place in my house ?
In case you just need it for decoration or starting a collection, head over to our Japanese Sword collecting guide. If you are a collector and want to use it from time to time because you just don’t want to keep it as a wallhanger, check our samurai sword hobby guide.
If you are still not clear or it’s hard to make up your mind, just send me a mail or ring me at 0032 477 90 36 12 (yeah I do speak English:o)