Can I wait for Mika to post, and then just copy and paste?
I'm actually wondering why he hasn't posted yet. This would be right up his alley.
Exactly what I wanted to prevent by posting slightly later
To be honest, authentication is definitely not my strong point. Quite the opposite to be more precise. These pointed knives are only represented by a single specimen in my collection, so I can't say I am an expert on these. Nevertheless, I think I have made up my mind. Just keep in mind that these are by no means the correct answers, probably the opposite actually.
1. Mmmmh. Difficult start. Can't really pinpoint this one. The shape, specifically the broader blade and handle do exist. Similar pieces , with such a dark blue patina, have been sold by more reliable dealers, so no problem there (the green bits actually remind me of your Yuan round coin). But overall, it doesn't feel entirely right to me. A little too crisp. Should this one offered to me, it would depend on who was offering it, and if they accept refunds or not whether I would buy it. Hard to say. For the score, I would say fake, but don't pin me down on it. Could go either way.
2. Fake. At least, should this one be offered to me, I would be very, very, very careful. As Thomas already mentioned, the shape changes throughout the minting period. This shape, in combination with the character presented is definitely known. But it just doesn't feel right to me. It looks like part of the "outer rim" is actually more than slightly raised, which is definitely a bad sign (or the photo is just playing tricks with my eyes). The lines on the handle look dullish, and so does the character. And I can't say I like the colour: It looks pretty grey-ish, not like a copper knife should be. On the other hand, I believe I have seen other metal finds from a waterish environment with a similar patina, so who knows. But the orange blob and the blue accents worry me. I would say it's a fake.
3. Genuine. But I may be biased, seeing as I know where it came from (actually considered bidding on it, but something else popped up I wanted a little more badly and for a better price). The auction house that offered it mentioned tooling, which is probably why the patina sometimes looks a little weird. The coloured, flat spots would have been nice and crusty at some point. Looking at the shape of this knife, it is in my opinion one of the nicest ever issued (the needle and Qi knives excluded of course). The one specimen in my collection (below) is of a similar type, but a little more pointed. The only way its thin yet sturdy handle "flows" into its broader blade, yet not too broad as on the first one, can be described is with the word "elegant". 99% sure it is genuine. I did find the comment Spence made early about the thicker lines quite interesting. Looking forward to what Thomas's opinion is on this one.
Just for fun, I thought I would share my only pointed knife. The only Chinese coin I ever dared purchase via eBay. Although it was actually a auction house/dealer selling some left over stuff. I have provenance dating it back to 1995, where it was sold in a German antique store. But this only tells us it isn't a fake made in the last 20 years. Should you have an opinion, don't hesitate to state it!
This specific variety isn't listed in Hartill. He only spends one or two pages on this arguably the most variety filled area. Coole however, does list a precise calligraphy match. It should most likely be read as "bu", literally meaning "Divination" or something in that category. The actual meaning of many of the characters found on these pointed knives has yet to be established. But I assume Thomas, who has obviously studied this series better than me, might be able to shed some light on it?
4. One of the trickier ones. I would say genuine, but then again, I (perhaps other forum members do as well) know where this currently resides. This picture is, from what I have seen, a little unrepresentative of the real thing. Should a little lighter in colour, the brown bits being nice and coppery. If I am correct, this has been cleaned(or at least partly) somewhere in it's past. Should this be genuine; nice piece Thomas! I haven't had the pleasure of handling it myself, but from the looks of it, it hasn't circulated too much! The excess metal from its casting can still be seen in some places! Unfortunately, this is definitely no guarantee for authenticity. The one reverse line is also something to note. I am leaning towards genuine, but should you have come to the opposite conclusion after studying it in hand, I could understand. Without other data, I would say I am about 80% sure it is genuine.
Keeping my fingers crossed I said something sensible,