What is the Most Expensive Samurai Sword?


masamune sword in the stadt museum


The Most Expensive Katanas & More


Many people want to own an authentic Japanese sword to connect with their heritage or because of their appreciation for the blacksmithing techniques. Sword-making in Japan is a heavily monitored industry, as the Japanese government strives to protect and encourage the historical preservation of this aspect of the culture. Because the history of Japanese swordsmithing goes back many centuries, there are many valuable ancient pieces to go along with the expensive modern pieces that are made through painstaking work.


Learn more about the most expensive samurai swords as well as the most expensive katanas that are available for sale or displayed in private collections.


The Single Most Expensive Samurai Sword


Historical Japanese swords are incredibly rare and difficult to purchase because most of them have been classified by the government as important national treasures. Many times, they can’t even leave the country. When private collectors outside of Japan decide to sell their samurai swords, the government will purchase them at market value or outbid others at auction.


One of the most expensive samurai swords sold over the last century is the Kamakura blade. Dr. Walter Ames Compton's collection was put up for sale in 1992, and about 1,000 swords sold for 8 million dollars in a single day! His swords were all from the 1930s, with the exception of the Kamakura, which was from the 13th century. The Kamakura katana on its own sold for over $400,000, making it the most expensive katana in the world.


Expensive Swords Not for Sale


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While a $400,000 sword is an impressive price tag, this is just the most expensive samurai sword that was actually for sale. There are many more valuable swords that are part of museum collections and government institutions that are priced even higher. There are even Japanese swords that have been missing since World War II that would fetch millions. The most famous missing sword, the Honjo Masamune, went missing in the 1940s. It was once owned by the Tokugawa family, shogunate leaders of Japan’s feudal era.


Other swords crafted by Masamune have turned up over time, including the Shimazu Masamune at the Kyoto National Museum and a Masamune at the Truman Library. 


Valuable Samurai Swords for the Everyday Collector


So, you probably won’t ever get your hands on a certified antique blade, but there are modern Japanese swords available for sale that are still made through the traditional blacksmithing techniques of the feudal era. Blades from modern retailers and blacksmiths range widely in price, but there are several contributing factors to their cost, including:



An affordable sword can start down in the $200 range, but the most expensive samurai swords can get up to $20,000 or $25,000! The average price for katanas sold in Japan ranges between $5,000 and $8,000.


Shop at Swords of Northshire


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If you’re a fledgling collector, you may not want to start with the most expensive samurai swords right off the bat. Explore your options when you check out our collection of authentic pieces. Each sword is made to order and can be customized to fit your needs. Shop now to find exactly what you’re looking for!