By Dr. Peter Klein DDS.
I have found auction catalogs to be a wonderful source of reference material for both pictorial and attribution/history in the study of fittings. However, not all catalogs have sufficient material to make them a viable investment for the research library. Over the past several years after accumulating over 150 such catalogs I have found that those on the following list have been of the greatest interest to me and I hope they will help those who are looking for a good cost effective source of information. It is important to be aware that they are not to be considered 100% accurate as they are not published to be reference texts but sales catalogs and no guarantee is given or implied to that effect by the auction houses. It should also be noted that many older books on this subject have this same deficiency so use them all as a guide but not as orthodoxy. As with swords nothing compares to in hand study and comparison along with the collective knowledge of others in the field.
Note: I have done my best to list these as they are printed on their respective covers to help in finding them through sellers. Any inclusions in parenthesis are my notes on the subject and not part of the title. They are listed in order of publication, oldest first.
Catalogue of The Henri Vever Collection of Fine Japanese Works of Art
Part I: Tuesday, 24 October, 1972 and Wednesday, 25th October, 1972
Part II: Monday, 26th February, 1973 and Tuesday, 27th February, 1973
Part III: Tuesday, 17th July, 1973
Part IV: Tuesday, 11th December, 1973
Part V: Wednesday, 1st May, 1974
Fine Japanese Prints and Works of Art (contains the Ruth Schneidman Collection)
New York December 8 and 9, 1988
The Roy G. Cole Collection of Fine Japanese Sword Fittings, Lacquer and other Works of Art
New York Thursday, December 13, 1990
Japanese Sword Fittings from The R. B. Caldwell Collection
London Wednesday 30th March 1994
Japanese Works of Art Part II
Thursday 17th November 1994
The Carlo Monzino Collection of Japanese Sword Fittings and Swords / The Property of a Private Trust
London 18 June 1996
Japanese Swords and Tsuba from the A.Z. Freeman and the Phyllis Sharpe Memorial Collections
London Thursday 10 April 1997
The Lundgren Collection of Japanese Metalwork
Tuesday, 18 November 1997
Japanese Works of Art from Collection of the Late Charles A. Greenfield, Part II
New York Friday September 18, 1998
Japanese And Korean Works Of Art (contains the Alan L. Harvie collection)
London 14 July 2005
The Hartman Collection Of Japanese Metalwork
June 30 and July 1, 1976
Japanese Swords and Swords Fittings from the Collection of Dr. Walter A. Compton
Part I: New York Tuesday, March 31, 1992
Part II: New York Thursday, October 22, 1992
Part III: Thursday, Decamber 17th, 1992
Important Japanese Swords and Sword Furniture and Works of Art
(Robert E. Haynes edited the fittings section and provided the attributions)
New York Wednesday November 5, 1980
The Russell C. Veit Collection of Japanese Sword Guards
Wednesday, March 21, 1984
Important Japanese Sword Fittings
Wednesday, March 20, 1985
The Soame Jenyns Collection of Tsuba
London Tuesday, 19 May 1992 at 10.30 a.m.
Japanese Swords, Sword Fittings, Guns, Armour and a European Private Collection of Tsuba
London Tuesday, 19 May 1992 immediately following the Soame Jenyns Collection at approximately 11.30 a.m.
The Raymond and Frances Bushell Collection of Japanese Sword Fittings Japanese Works of Art
Wednesday 28 October 1998
The Duncan Beresford-Jones Collection of Japanese Art from Important Historic European Collections
Wednesday 7 June 2000
Robert E. Haynes Auction Catalogs — I through X
contain excerpts from ‘Tsuba, and Aesthetic Study’ by Torigoye, translated by Haynes.
The above was taken from a collection of over 150 catalogs so it is just a starting point but it should help to eliminate many catalogs with minimal listings or as in the case with catalogs prior to 1980 those with minimal pictorial reference. Most of the above were sales of large collections which due to their sales potential for the gallery received a higher degree of attention to detail in the researching and listing/photography.