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I bought a copper-handle NCO sword at a small gun show recently, and I thought I did well. However, after reading up more on these swords, I now am not so sure. The blade and scabbard are mismatched, but my big question concerns the serial number on the blade. It is 12677, and from what I have been reading, this is outside the serial range of early copper-handle blades, which should be 6xxx or below. The scabbard number is 1551.

Although in an Internet search I have found one reference to an early copper-handle blade that was in the 12xxx serial range, the author of that post thought the blade serial was an "anomaly," and that the blade was probably a replacement of some sort or a put-together one after the war.

So, I am wondering if anyone has more information on these copper-handle swords, and on mine in particular. Could some early swords have been produced in the 12xxx serial range for some reason? Is mine a true Japanese NCO sword? (I hope I didn't buy a Chinese knockoff!)

Please see the photos below. Thanks in advance for any replies....
 

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The serial number on the blade is WAY outside the known range...I think. Should be no higher than 6000 more or less. I looks good though. Maybe the blade is off another nco? It looks like there is some space near the guard. Is the handle loose? not sure.
 

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Scabbard and fittings are correct. Blade has been swapped out with later production.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The serial number on the blade is WAY outside the known range...I think. Should be no higher than 6000 more or less. I looks good though. Maybe the blade is off another nco? It looks like there is some space near the guard. Is the handle loose? not sure.
Yes, the handle is slightly loose. Should I attempt to take it apart to see if I can tighten it somehow? I'm not sure how to do that....

By the way, I paid $250 for it. I thought I did OK, but since the blade is not correct, maybe I screwed up?
 

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The scabbard alone is worth more than what you paid. The "screw" to remove the blade is the two-piece holding the tassel ring at the pommel. If you unscrew it, the grip will come off. Proof it is a later blade is the second hole for a screw about 3 inches down from the guard. This was added for a second screw found on the aluminum gripped sword.
 

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All things aside, it's a great buy at that price!
Let us know if the blade has the extra screw hole, and could you please post another pic of the brass plug at the end of the scabbard.
I believe it is correct, especially with the number range stamped on the throat.
I know that crews went out in the field during the war, to repair officers gunto's, a blade replacement is a real possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All things aside, it's a great buy at that price!
Let us know if the blade has the extra screw hole, and could you please post another pic of the brass plug at the end of the scabbard.
I believe it is correct, especially with the number range stamped on the throat.
I know that crews went out in the field during the war, to repair officers gunto's, a blade replacement is a real possibility.
Yes, I got the handle off, and the blade does have the extra screw hole. Thanks for all the replies -- I appreciate the information, and I'm glad I didn't get burned on this purchase. Below is another photo of the scabbard end:
 

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The arsenal marks on the fuchi are reversed from the norm of corporate logo on the left, arsenal insp. mark in the center, arsenal stamp on the right.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are the Chinese that good already?
Oh man, now I'm starting to feel a bit ill.... For what it is worth, before I bought the sword another collector had looked it over quite well and thought it was legitimate. He has been collecting WWII Japanese materials for decades and has bought and sold a good number of swords.
 

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Don't panic bampa, it's the real deal i believe. Not chinese fake at all.
That was a very good pick up by 1guntojim, i noticed it as well, as i also have one similar. (see middle sword below)
There are lots of anomalies with type 95's, you just need to be more observant, not everything is fully documented in a definitive way yet.
What you have is a rarer version as most of these conform to the 'known' standard.
I've had apprentices muck up jobs which still went out as they were not critical issues, perhaps the same happened here in the 'early days' of type 95 manufacture. :)
My blade and matching scabbard are numbered 2539 with the same stampings as yours.

1NMB.jpg
 

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Well now, isn't that interesting! Wonder if the reversed order is peculiar to a certain block of serial numbers or, as Stegel indicated, a random anomaly?
 

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Were the arsenal marks done by machine, or by a worker with a hand-held die? I could easily imagine a person zoning out for a moment and striking the wrong die.
 

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Does anyone have any info regarding the copper-handled NCOs with the plain blackened iron tsuba? Found two of these while poking around the internet.
 

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Brad is right.
Copper Handled swords were only made with Brass Tsuba in the mid 1930's. The steel Black tsuba appeared later in the early 40's.

From the handful of Copper handled sword's with black steel tsuba i have seen, i would consider only one a genuine example, and it was IMHO a field repair.
It was very well done with the original blade being drilled and the extra retaining screw fitted.
I would be very careful when buying a sword like this, they are either 'mock' ups, assembled from parts or in this case.... i'm not sure..It appears someone has tried to increase the value and cash in. I have added 2 photos from the first 'seller' in Nov 2011 (it sold for $2700) where you can see the original brass tsuba. Then 3 photos from second 'seller' six months later in July 2012 and WOW!!!.... to the unsuspecting and new collectors, it has an unheard of black steel tsuba.... much more rarer? more desirable? perhaps more collectable? and i bet it would COST more aswell.
I have edited out some watermarks, but the photos are genuine, the sword is the same in both cases....
Check the fuchi stamps, the scabbard stamps, and the blade numbers (especially the top striking of the 8)
Buyer beware !!
View attachment 610201 View attachment 610202 View attachment 610203 View attachment 610204 View attachment 610205
1183 Nov2011a.jpg 1183 Nov2011b.jpg 1183 July 2012a.jpg 1183 July 2012b.jpg 1183 July 2012c.jpg
BTW- BOTH SELLERS are from the U.S.A , China doesn't have the only scam artists going around.... only most though.
If i've broken some forum rule, sorry Vic, please feel free to remove this reply
 

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My copper handled NCO sword has #13343 on the scabbard with a flat drag, and #142826 on the sword blade. As to the markings there is a cherry blossom with a small line through it on the left, a tree looking inspection mark, and the Kokura stamp at the right. The finish is a mustard colored paint (very worn). Did some of the officer's swords have wooden scabbards? Mike
 

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Hearse,
Post some pics, if you want a further opinion on yours.
The flat drag is correct for the number range stamped on it, the blade number is mid war. The fuchi stampings according to your description are not correct for Copper handled swords.
I think you may have a 'Post War' mix n match combo...
 
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