Join Date: Mar 2007
As you know dating Chinese things is problematic at best, but both jian appear to me to be perhaps over the boarder into the Republican era. The longer one in particular does not appear Qing. Longer jian supposedly are more common in the Republican period, and the double rivet in the handle is not something I have seen in Qing work.
A closeup of the tip might reveal if it is sanmai and/or heat treated. I have bought a few from that period, and their construction is more varied than the already huge variation in Chinese things. The rather crude casting is typical of the period, and the blackening may have been intentional. If it was artificially aged in the 30's does that count as history? I have also seen a similar patina on a jian from circa 1870 collected in Sumatra, so enough heat and humidity can produce a similar result over time. One of my favorite jian is a 1930's or so copy of a Qing example that was carefully polished over its whole life. I love the bright look, but it has already mellowed hanging on my wall, compared to when it arrived, and I am not planning on polishing it.
Anyway, I guess my answer would be polish it if you like it that way, but don't expect it to look right for a few years after.
And please see if you can show the blade construction. For me that is the dividing line between a good sword and something for kids to hack away with as evidenced by the edge to edge damage.