Buying a samurai armor: a guide for the new collector

31 October 2018


In my experience, most collectors bought their first original Japanese samurai suite of armor without having any clue of what they were buying. Some have been lucky to found an original and nice item, but some have lately found out their purchase was not what they thought. So, what should a buyer consider, giving he is not an expert at all in samurai armor? Here my advices:

  1. Budget
    Decide how much you want to invest. It could be few thousands or some hundred-thousands euro, but do know you will get a certain level of quality depending on what you pay. Nobody is giving items for free, so beware of low prices! A high price often reflects the high value of some parts, like the helmet (kabuto) or the mask (menpo).
  2. Seller
    There are some good dealers specialized in samurai armor. And there are those who sell japanese armor as decorative items; hese last can be dangerous, as often they don't kwno themseoves what they are selling. If you are not an expert, I also suggest avoiding auctions, as auction houses are not responsible for what they sell.
  3. Style
    There are many styles of samurai armor, but let's say you should decide if you want to keep it simple or flamboyant. This will impact on price. 
  4. Preservation
    Samurai armors are antique items and their aging can be more or less visible. Always ask about restoration and preservation. While lacing replacement is not a big deal, relacquering and parts substitution can impact on the armor's value.



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