Cheap "Antique" eBay Samurai Swords From China: Fake or Genuine?

I bought these swords from eBay from China a few years ago for a song. Are they cheap fakes or genuine articles? You judge for yourself.

I just checked eBay again. There are fewer and fewer of these nowadays, especially ones with inscriptions. And they sell for much, much more.

The katana on top has the inscription of 寬永元年 (the 1st year of Kan'ei Period--1624). The bladesmith was 田野圭仲. The blade is made of folded steel. I don't see a hamon line (That doesn't mean it is not there. Often it will take a professional polisher to bring that out.)

The medium length tanto in the middle was from the 1st year of the Jōō (承応) period (1652). The bladesmith was 敏郎. The blade appears to be non-folded steel, with a prominent hamon line.

The last short tanto has the inscription 正宗 (Masamune) but no date of production. The blade is made of folded steel, with no visible hamon line.

Whether these are genuinely old samurai swords as inscribed, I cannot say for sure, but these knives do look really, really old. Also, if they are modern fakes, the forger sure spent a LOT of time and effort to make them look old and genuine--then sold them for not much money. Why?

Also remember: not every old sword is a masterpiece, just like not every old violin is a Strad. I am sure in the old days in Japan, there were a few master swordsmiths such as Masamune or Muramasa who turned out top products that are priceless museum pieces now. But there were probably countless more mediocre or even journeymen swordsmiths who churned out the everyday stuff for Joe Blow samurai. Just because a sword is old doesn't mean it must be a treasure. It could just be old junk. Whatever these swords are, I am happy with them as I feel I got more than my money's worth for them and they bring me pleasure. In the end, that's the ONLY thing that matters. Visit website
Added on August 26th, 2016
Last updated: May 11th, 2017