Q: Is my sword real?
There were three generations of Muramasa sword smiths. Each generation probably made no more than several hundred swords. Of these, many did not survive battle, rust, or WWII. If we estimate that 25% of swords made survived until today (a very high estimate), that gives us a total of 500 or so total Muramasa blades in existence.
Most Muramasa swords are known swords, with provenance and authentication papers. Prices range from the cost of a new car to a very nice house, and up. Most swords that are on ebay or similar sites are fake swords. However, there have been documented stories of real, valuable Japanese swords being found in pawn shops, flea markets, and auction sites. Although the majority of Japanese military swords were machine made, and mass produced, some family heirloom swords were put in military mounts. Some of these swords were brought back to the US after the war as souveniers.
If you believe that you may have a real Japanese sword, I recommend that you start with: IS IT REAL? , an article by Rich Stein. His site was the first place I went to learn about real Japanese swords.
After reading that article, if you still have questions, join the famous Nihonto Message Board. Brian and the people there are a group of the most dedicated and educated nihonto people around the world.
The next step is to read books on the subject. I recommend the list I have posted here: Books
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