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 Post subject: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #1 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:24 am 
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As my username suggests I am completely new to the world of Go. My father has tasked me with finding a new home for his GO set from Japan as he stopped playing a few years ago. The set is completely hand made in Japan and he purchased it at some point in the 70s when he lived there.

I have no idea what wood the board and the bowls are made of, and how to gauge what condition this set is in to get a fair price for it. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Image
Image
Image

Board: As you can see the reflections in the bowl photos on the board show its age. It is made from one piece. Not sure of the wood. Dimensions: Length 454 mm, width 410mm and height of 42 mm.

Stones: Slate and Clamshell. Only one shell stone has a chip on the edge and three of the slate stones have chips on the edge. Is this acceptable? Stone diameter is 21mm and thickness 8mm. The black stones appear to be slightly larger at 21.5mm, but I unfortunately don’t have a caliper to measure these.

Bowls: Unsure of material or how to best describe these. Softer wood than the board and definitely not bamboo. Diameter is 135mm and height with lid around 120mm

As mentioned before, any help identifying what this set is and how the community would view its condition would be great.
Many thanks,

Max

full album: http://imgur.com/a/78pnB


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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #2 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:25 am 
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Hello Max,
Others (gowan, Erythen) are probably much better at this than me, so you may want to contact them directly. I feel reluctant to reply, but I still do, for what it's worth.

Online pictures do not always do justice to go sets, but I think it is a lovely set. The sentimental/emotional value to you and your family members may be (much) higher than market value though.

It looks to me to be a set which might have been described as an economical or practical set. Quality and size of the stones look like that to me, that is. The type of wood of the bowls I do not know, but I as far as I know, it is fairly common/economical. The board does not look like (more expensive) kaya to me, because of the (absence of clear) grain, which also indicates it is a common/economical board and type of wood. The thickness of the board also seems to me to indicate a common/economical board. It may be handcrafted, but in a more industrialized way than upper end/traditional boards, based on what I can see from the pictures of grid and the grid lines (imprinted??).

The set seems to have more than just its fair share of use. Some like this and appreciate 'patina', others don't. And with second hand go sets, it is just what a prospective buyer wants to spend for it. Best is to just play it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #3 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:49 am 
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Hello Max,

one question is important in case you’re thinking of offering the set here: from where do you ship? Because of the weight of such a set the cost could be quite high if shipping to abroad. (If in Europe, AND if the price you’d be asking for would be within my relatively tight budget, I might be interested.)

For a used set it looks quite nice to my eyes (definitely “not too shabby”), the stones would need quite some cleaning, though, before I’d be willing to offer anybody a game using these.


But really, Max, come on ;-) this is a nice set, I’d suggest that you keep it, and …
• watch a few games, for example on http://www.online-go.com,
• visit The Interactive Way To Go,
• read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(game) in case you don't really know about Go,
• and play Go … to never again be bored, always having something to learn till the end of your life :-)
• (and not to forget the nice community!)

;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #4 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:28 pm 
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I don't think you could get very much for this set. The stones look like they might be slate and shell, but discolored and of poorer grade (probably jitsuyo).

It is easier to see the stone grade if you put like 20 of them on the board with the grains facing up and take a nice clear photo of them.

The price of a new set of stones would probably be around 20,000 yen, but a used set with discoloration would go for like a few thousand yen maybe. The bowls look valueless in that condition. The board is quite warn and would fetch maybe a thousand yen if it is a decent wood. Realistically, you might be able to go for a few thousand yen for the set, but unless the board is kaya, it probably won't sell well.

You can see here for example, slightly larger stones with nicer bowls auctioning at only 1700 yen with 16 hours to go: http://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/225335428

Here is another sample from a professional seller: http://page15.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/a ... t495512783

Edit: I would like to add one exception. If the stones are Hyuga clamshell it would increase the price substantially. You would probably need proof though. I have never seen them in person so I wouldn't even know how to identify them.

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Post #5 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:46 pm 
Judan
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Hello Max,

Another member recently has success with H2O2 with his shell stones. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #6 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:28 pm 
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Hello,
There are a lot of freak auctions on Yahoo Japan with stones going for far less than they should. I once found a beautiful, brilliantly carved pair of mulberry bowls and antique stones for $20 when, though if their true value were known, should have sold for upwards of $500.

Focus on Ebay comparisons since that's where you'll most likely sell them (if not here on 19x19).

Yes, the stones are slate and shell, and they're definitely not Hyuga since I can easily see the Mexican grain. I can't tell their grade, but on just a cursory glance, without seeing more, I'd say they're either moon or snow grade (but I'm basing that off of only three stones, so I could easily be wrong).

Other than the grade, the size of the stones will determine cost. They look to be somewhere between size 25 and 30, but without a measurement in mm I can't say for sure.

Edlee is right about the cleaning. I can tell from looking that the yellowing that they'll whiten completely if done properly...I have an article on what to do if you'd like the link.

Just from the coloring of the wood, I'd guess it's genuine Kaya, but I couldn't say for sure without getting a good look at the player's side grain. Whatever the case, a little oiling will give the board a much healthier glow.

I'm not sure what the bowls are since they've darkened a lot. If they have a swirly lid, then their chestnut and of little to no value. If the grain is strait (and it looks to be the case) then they're probably keyaki (zelkova) or the much more prized kuwa (mulberry).

Do the bowls have an artisan stamp on the bottom? If so, then they're likely of a higher material.

Hope this helps :)


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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #7 Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:32 pm 
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All that said...if the board is Kaya, then on Ebay you could easily get $300 for the set...higher if the stones are moon/snow grade (determined too on size).

If the stones are size 30, not missing anything, not damaged, no glass stones, snow grade and cleaned, and the board is Kaya, I'd price the set around $500 - $700 on Ebay.


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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #8 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:19 pm 
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Erythen wrote:
All that said...if the board is Kaya, then on Ebay you could easily get $300 for the set...higher if the stones are moon/snow grade (determined too on size).

If the stones are size 30, not missing anything, not damaged, no glass stones, snow grade and cleaned, and the board is Kaya, I'd price the set around $500 - $700 on Ebay.


Dammit, Erythen :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #9 Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:05 am 
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Bonobo wrote:
Dammit, Erythen :twisted:


:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

I actually just saw the link to the larger photo album so I can make a few more comments.

The board is definitely Katsura, not Kaya. I don't often see one piece Katsura table boards (that weren't formerly floor boards)...mostly just fordable ones.

The bowls are itame cut (not Masame) so they're probably chestnut. If you oil them, be warned that with chestnut bowls I've often seen spots of varnish start to peel within a few weeks of oiling.

Owing to China's slower than snail-speed international internet connections I can't get a good look at the stone/grain pictures. I do, however, believe they'll clean up easily.


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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #10 Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:25 am 
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Thanks for all the comments so far! Lots of information there and even some food for thought, I will definelty try a few beginner GO games before making any decisions about selling this set. I am based in the UK and freight around the world seems to be quite reasonable.

I'll clean the stones as well and oil the bowls. Any reccomendations for the type of oil to use?

I will have a closer look at the grain patterns and search for hints of how it was manufactured to get a better idea. There are a few irregularities on the board pattern where the lines meet at 90 degrees on the perimiter of the board suggesting that it wasn't printed on. The lines sometimes tapper a litte as if a brush was lifted, and in other cases the line widens a little as it meets the other line as if the paint was wet. The bottom of this photo its quite clear on the vertical lines that meet the bottom horizontal: http://i.imgur.com/IehbSnx.jpg

In regards to the Mexican clam, is that a recent development? or have the Japanese stone manufacturers been doing it for decades?


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 Post subject: Re: Help identifying GO set from Japan
Post #11 Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:10 am 
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The grid on the board was likely lacquered on, depending on the artisan, via the blade of a Katana, or a special edged tool.

Mexican stones have been used for more than a century now. Hyuga stones were discovered in the mid-meiji era (1880's/1890's) but were quickly depleted. Due to overfishing only a rare few clams now actually grow long enough to be harvested for stones. The typical clam lives about 15 years, and they need to live at least 20 to make good stones.

Mexican clamshell was discovered by chance by a Japanese fisherman/businessman (not sure) who also happened to be an amateur Go stone maker. They quickly replaced Japanese stones...though the Suwabute (native Japanese clams) are still most highly prized.

Mr. Kuroki's website has a lot of good information about the manufacturing process, and he welcomes questions about sets.
http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/english/

With oiling...Chestnut will absorb the smell of the oil quite readily (something I haven't noticed with other woods). I've used Linseed oil before, but the smell stayed with the wood for almost a year afterward. And again, there's a chance the varnish will start to peel off if the wood is Chestnut which is something to consider too. If you use Linseed, please be sure to note the warnings about flammability...if you throw the used, wet rags into a pile they may start on fire.


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