S142. Type 19 Civil & Diplomatic Official Dress Sword, Plimpton Collection
S142. John Plimpton amassed one of a very few significant collections of Japanese civil and diplomatic swords on earth; business partners and I have taken on the task of distributing that collection to new owners. Pieces in the collection date from Meiji (late 19th century) up through WWII. This is the 1st piece from the collection I’ve listed on my site; I hope to have others soon.
Mr. Plimpton’s tag on this sword reads “Civil & Diplomatic Type 19 Meiji 19 (1886) Chokunin Level Official Dress.” The blade is 22 1/2″ (57 cm) from tip to handle. The sword overall is 29 3/4″ (76 cm). Condition is exceptional: the nickel plating on the blade is 100% intact, the leather of the scabbard is damn near perfect, the wire wrap of the handle is flawless, and there is only minor loss of gilt to the metal pieces (what you would expect for a sword that has seen little use).
The Plimpton collection will be published this year, in a large, beautiful book; this sword will be in the book. I have digital copies of some of the book’s pages and my 2nd and 3rd pictures are screen shots of this sword’s page (I couldn’t get the whole page in one shot). The book calls this Sonin level, which is medium rank, while Mr. Plimpton’s tag says Chokunin level (high rank). I know there are errors in the book that will be corrected before publication and maybe this is one of them. I do not know for a fact, however, which level sword this is. I can tell you, though, that it is a very fine piece, one that any serious collector in this field would be proud to own.
1 pound, 2 ounces. $1,225.