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Old 23rd January 2021, 11:35 AM   #1
gp
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Default to restore or not to restore...

Being the new kid on the block and hence not familiar with the criteria collectors and the rules of selling, read determination of value, I am rather amazed and sometimes shocked (hope this doesn't get me a ban... ) to read about the ease of restoring weapons in some threads.

I am not talking about the exception to the rule, i.e. the excellent tremendous job Jose did on the "wrecked" yataghan ( which was pure ART and a top master piece, acknowledged already by folks I know in the former Yugoslavia ) but talking about minor damaged pieces.

Where I come from / my background and expertise (numismatic world, maps, seals and books) it is looked upon as sacrilage and one gets chased out of the village after being dressed in tar and feathers accompanied by a thorough beating with the cat o'nine tails! ☺
Unless.... the repair and or restoration is clearly visible and hence distinguishable between original and new...

Next to the fact that the object loses aprox 50-75% of its value or is being downgraded 2 scales.

How is this actually with cold weapons ?

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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:07 PM   #2
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It is a valid observation that you make and applies to many different areas of collecting antiques.

As you observe, a simple cleaning of a coin seriously damages its grade and thus value, while the Japanese sword community often seems intent upon slowly grinding their artifacts to dust.

In early American furniture, a dirty original finish may equate to a five figure value while a refinished piece from the same workshop approaches firewood prices.

For myself, I tend to prefer restraint in making changes beyond what is necessary to prevent degradation (removal of active red rust) and I agree that what is restoration should be discernable.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:36 PM   #3
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Much obliged ! I agree as I carefully clean bone and leather and metal with colorless almond oil or vaseline ( as I did with coins and medals) in order to loosen the dirt from the item and feed the bone and leather. It even protects the metal (iron, steel, copper or silver of a lower grade) by leaving a thin layer on the item to avoid corrosion.
I used it with good result on pinfire revolvers but do not know concerning knives and daggers if this is "allowed"or welcome. Thanks again !
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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
It is a valid observation that you make and applies to many different areas of collecting antiques.

As you observe, a simple cleaning of a coin seriously damages its grade and thus value, while the Japanese sword community often seems intent upon slowly grinding their artifacts to dust.



As a collector of Japanese swords I would point out that it is a bit more nuanced than that, though with a certain amount of truth. The old style care routine did regularly use an abrasive powder, "Uchiko" but dated back to when blood, fat, and bone fragments needed removing....Like a lot of traditions it carried on long after it made sense. Nowadays a sword in polish gets cleaned with isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth, and then gets another oiling. If you are not a trained polisher, don't touch the blade. A proper polish runs at about 100 an inch........
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:14 PM   #5
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Hello GP,

For me, it's normal to clean them ''gently ' when the weapons were really bad preserved: lot of red rust of all black rust too,
I think we have to !
Not with a mechanic sander and 80 grain as I already saw Sure it's a disaster!


Nothing better than an example:
Not talking about money but this all rusty shamshir I have per example,
bought less than 80 Euros couldn't stay like that...
now I can sell it for a fair price but I prefer to collect...

Experience, passion and good skills helps too,
I worked in antique furnitures and collect blades since more than 20 years
it helps ! , half of my garage full of stuff like ferric acid , choji oil, sand stones.
It's like a second job !

Sure if its too damaged or costs an arm and a leg,
better consult a specialist ( difficult to find for japanese swords per example and expensive as David said )
or leave it like that !
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Old 23rd January 2021, 10:05 PM   #6
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I did that once where I made the restoration obviously different from the original. The collector/customer never came back to me again.

It appears that the weaponry collecting community wants restorations that meld into the rest of the piece in my experience.
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Old 24th January 2021, 01:07 PM   #7
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I personally see it like with old cars, either bring it back to former glory or bring it working and in a usable condition. Who wants to collect wrecks?

Some samples of my collection before and after, choice by self!
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Old 24th January 2021, 01:13 PM   #8
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A few more. I would be able to show several more examples.
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Old 24th January 2021, 01:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp
Being the new kid on the block and hence not familiar with the criteria collectors and the rules of selling, read determination of value, I am rather amazed and sometimes shocked (hope this doesn't get me a ban... ) to read about the ease of restoring weapons in some threads.


Next to the fact that the object loses aprox 50-75% of its value or is being downgraded 2 scales.

How is this actually with cold weapons ?


Ethnographic weapons are not coins or stamps. I would go more with oldtimer cars, either restore them to former glory or bring them to working condition and functional and repair what needed to get repaired, for example a broken hilt or scabbard. I've shown several examples, choice by self!
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Old 24th January 2021, 04:21 PM   #10
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Red face I might be wrong, of course ...

Coins, stamps and antique weapons are certainly not the same thing.

I would not know a stamp can be restored; it surely demands high expertise.
But i have gathered coins for a couple years (before i sold them to afford gathering antique weapons). While restoring coins, for what the strict term means, is new for me, the act of cleaning them, as presently said not to adviced, is unclear for me. I took it that coins are classified by the integrity of their graphic or pictorial contents, as well as their metal structure. The various catalogues i knew available defined their such condition in (at least) four different grades, from scrap to pristine, and respective collecting & market value. But i have never heard that cleaning (read washing) the dirt of a coin would 'damage' its value. But then, i have never nagivated in a high end collecting universe, and therefore i ever ignored what was prohibited .
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Old 24th January 2021, 07:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Coins, stamps and antique weapons are certainly not the same thing.

I would not know a stamp can be restored; it surely demands high expertise.
But i have gathered coins for a couple years (before i sold them to afford gathering antique weapons). While restoring coins, for what the strict term means, is new for me, the act of cleaning them, as presently said not to adviced, is unclear for me. I took it that coins are classified by the integrity of their graphic or pictorial contents, as well as their metal structure. The various catalogues i knew available defined their such condition in (at least) four different grades, from scrap to pristine, and respe tive collecting & market value. But i have never heard that cleaning (read washing) the dirt of a coin would 'damage' its value. But then, i have never nagivated in a high end collecting universe, and therefore i ever ignored what was prohibited .


No problem and no offence intended but first hit on google:

"It is best not to clean rare coins as removing the patina can significantly reduce the value of them. For this reason, most coin hobbyists almost never clean their coins. In fact, 99% of coins do not increase in value after you clean them, but many will be greatly devalued.6 sep. 2020

also:

https://coinvalues.com/library/why-...lean-your-coins
https://www.youtube.com/watch/uljNQ5mMJ98

from own experience I can give examples like lower silver graded coins like the late Illyrian drachmes, late Andalusian Dirhams, late Ottoman Akces, Riga Shilling from Sweden (Kristina) some late Medieval Balkan ( Hungarian, Serbian, Bosnian) next to modern (post 1850) machine struck coins lose their original color.
Auction houses, sellers and serious collectors in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and USA will refrain and advise against it. Some countries ( Belgium does clean ) accept it as long as the struck print is not affected.

High garde silver and gold ones can be cleaned but again... losing the patina = losing value and if needed one needs to do it carefully with expertise.

As for what to do: it's all in the eye of the beholder at the end...

as for " restoring coins, for what the strict term means, is new for me " many coins ( silver, gold) have been used as dowry, hence holed to add them to a chain, bracelet, headdress and later "repaired" by filling the hole with gold and or silver to its original state.
Especially the Thaler through all of Europe or closer home for you your Reis and Reaals from Fernande I to Manuel I...

Last edited by gp : 24th January 2021 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 25th January 2021, 10:53 AM   #12
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Points taken, thank you GP.
I was not about to 'scrub' coins, or treat them in such a manner that they would loose their print and hardly their patina, when it existed.
In any case i would only take the dirt from nickel and low silver coins that were in circulation in recent periods (Portuguese Republic escudos) and never saw need to such procedure with 'real' old coins, like Roman silver denarius and bronze sertestius, gold Portuguese cruzados (of which i had a curious 'clipped' example), American 50 dollars and silver India Karshapanas (these i keep).
But i assume any criticism on handling coins the wrong way, namely at sight of 'demanding' sources like the one in the link you posted.
When i mentioned restoring coins as being new for me, i was not thinking of perforated examples to hang in the neck but in recuperating parts of the metal that were accidently damaged, namely their struck motives.
But pay not much attention; i am only digressing .


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Last edited by fernando : 25th January 2021 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 25th January 2021, 03:27 PM   #13
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People have a lot of different ideas of what "restoration" entails as well as the differences between "conservation" and "restoration".
My thinking is to do as little as possible when possible and not to do anything that is not reversible. In my field of collecting (keris) we are talking about a living tradition and i tend to try to follow the traditions around this as maintained by the culture of origin. Keris have been and are still routinely cleaned and restrained in places like Jawa in order to show the blade in it's best light. And the fascination that many Western collectors have about collecting and maintaining antique dress are not such a consideration within the originating keris culture where sheaths and hilts are continually updated as old dress falls into disrepair. Silver and gold aspects are meant to be kept shiny, so tarnished old silver fittings is not seen as adding any value to your old keris. Broken sheaths and hilts are seen as being disrespectful to the spirit of the blades, so if you are not able to repair broken dress it is generally accepted that new should be commissioned for your blade.
Again, while this may apply to other blades from around the world, this is something that is specific to keris. And no matter what the folks on Antique Roadshow would have to say about it, keris are not old coins or 17th century furnishings. Each genre of collectable antiques is going to have its own rules about this.
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Old 25th January 2021, 04:47 PM   #14
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Good that David come back to the topic.

This could become a very interesting thread. There are for sure different opinions about maintenance and restoration and it will be most intersting to read and discuss them.
So I have shown examples which have received maintenance and others which have received real restoration and hoped to discuss this but it seems that coins are more interesting!
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Old 25th January 2021, 04:57 PM   #15
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Don't worry Sajen; the thread has not yet ended. And while some non weapons restoring considerations took place, be sure your examples are being appreciated .
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Old 25th January 2021, 05:34 PM   #16
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Default Just curious ...

Would you Gentlemem say that this kind of restoration should have not taken place ?

.
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Old 25th January 2021, 05:42 PM   #17
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A real problem with amateur restoration, even cleaning the red rust with 250 or 400 or 600 grit can smoothen an edge (I mean, an edge of a fuller, the two edges of the back etc...) when it is normally sharp. I have seen a lot of *cleaned* things, finally harmed more than cleaned. I would say that the best to clean active rust is to use dear antler and oil. And let the black rust and pitting to professional
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Old 25th January 2021, 06:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
I personally see it like with old cars, either bring it back to former glory or bring it working and in a usable condition. Who wants to collect wrecks?

Some samples of my collection before and after, choice by self!

Thnx a lot for your input, highly appreciated.

As for preservation I fully understand the need. But that requires often (almost) professional level knowledge with many cold weapons.
Or like Detlef showed very well and nicely clean to remove dirt and corrosion.

As for working condition, I doubt if many collectors can use a blade, knife, dagger, bayonet, sword, saber, rapier, or foil as it was intended or is to be used...

No disrespect intended but when I see my daughter fighting with a foil or some friends with a sword and saber, that's a complete different ball game.
So did I had to learn a lot to very slowly and carefully "repair" and restore a few antique foils I bought her with original spare parts ( antique as well) into working condition
Cost me a lot of blood, sweat but luckily no tears at the end: just a fine result.


Nevertheless it might also differ also from type of weapon, use, country and culture ofcouse. Hence having grown up between guys from Moluccan and Indonesian roots and or background, I fully understand and acept without any doubt their criteria and judgement. Also the respect for these weapons in general through my pencak years.

Talking Ottoman cold weapons in the Balkans is a complete different issue as they are very strict ( when I talked to folks of museums in Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Romania and Turkey ):
here a master level ( like Jose showed us) with a good explanation is required.
Otherwise non restored but preserved weapons only are (mostly) accepted.

Again... the eye of the beholder .

Nice to learn all your points of view as it enriches my knowledge about weapons. No need to point out that coins are no weapons, that daft I am not and for you with knowledge of English humor: not pretending to be Delboy neither is my name Trigger....


So looking very much forward to more contributions !
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Old 25th January 2021, 07:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Don't worry Sajen; the thread has not yet ended. And while some non weapons restoring considerations took place, be sure your examples are being appreciated .



Don't understand me wrong Fernando, I don't want to earn "ah" & "oh" for the restore jobs but want to read if people agree or have a different view!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 25th January 2021, 07:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Would you Gentlemem say that this kind of restoration should have not taken place ?.


Definitely yes, restoration exactly like this. Restored to the original look!
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Old 25th January 2021, 07:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Would you Gentlemem say that this kind of restoration should have not taken place ?

.

)
it is beautiful and of added value ( moneywise I would not know as I lack that knowledge but defenitely from a conservation point of view. Respeito
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Old 25th January 2021, 07:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBG163
A real problem with amateur restoration, even cleaning the red rust with 250 or 400 or 600 grit can smoothen an edge (I mean, an edge of a fuller, the two edges of the back etc...) when it is normally sharp. I have seen a lot of *cleaned* things, finally harmed more than cleaned. I would say that the best to clean active rust is to use dear antler and oil. And let the black rust and pitting to professional


Yes, this I see similar! I've learned by my first job education to file a set square from a piece of iron so I know what I am doing and what I am not able to do I give to people who are able to do it, see here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=visayan+kris I was sure that this blade was ruined by a real amateur restorer but a good friend was able to give the blade back it's original shape.
Another example is this Visayan knife which seems ruined by an amateur but Roland (our member Roland_M) gives it back the typical beveled edge.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 25th January 2021, 08:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Yes, this I see similar! I've learned by my first job education to file a set square from a piece of iron so I know what I am doing and what I am not able to do I give to people who are able to do it, see here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=visayan+kris I was sure that this blade was ruined by a real amateur restorer but a good friend was able to give the blade back it's original shape.
Another example is this Visayan knife which seems ruined by an amateur but Roland (our member Roland_M) gives it back the typical beveled edge.

Regards,
Detlef



very beautiful done. Question: as the blade looks like new now, what about the grip? Do you do something with or to the grip or leave it as is ?

FYI:
I treated the wooden handle of some pre 1870 pinfire revolvers with almond oil to feed the wood and avoid it from drying out...
Also bone handles of Bosnian ones I treat with a drop of virgin olive oil for the same reason.

Or is this not done with cold weapons?
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Old 25th January 2021, 08:59 PM   #24
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Hi Gunar,

I don't know about wich blade you speaking, the Visayan kris or the talibon similar blade in the pictures. And yes, both blades received a polish.

All bone, horn, ivory and wooden parts get linseed oil when I receive them. I have nearly closed a big crack in an ivory handle by long bath in linseed oil.
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Old 25th January 2021, 09:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hi Gunar,

I don't know about wich blade you speaking, the Visayan kris or the talibon similar blade in the pictures. And yes, both blades received a polish.

All bone, horn, ivory and wooden parts get linseed oil when I receive them. I have nearly closed a big crack in an ivory handle by long bath in linseed oil.

the Visayan knife is a beauty !Cantik.
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Old 25th January 2021, 09:25 PM   #26
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Terima Kasih!
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Old 26th January 2021, 01:06 PM   #27
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Default The olive oil ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gp
...I treated the wooden handle of some pre 1870 pinfire revolvers with almond oil to feed the wood and avoid it from drying out...
Also bone handles of Bosnian ones I treat with a drop of virgin olive oil for the same reason.
Or is this not done with cold weapons?

Every time discussions were held here over how to preserve weaponry, among 'countless' suggestions, our finest member Matchlock (now deceased), always adviced olive oil as being the best stuff; that " old arsenal curators used it for centuries "
He also used to say:
"Forget about modern curators' hystery about acid substances in olive oil destroying iron! The Graz weapons with their original 300 to 500 year old surfaces preserved in best possible condition prove them all wrong".

... and also added that it was what Romans only had ... and it worked !
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Old 26th January 2021, 02:28 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp
very beautiful done. Question: as the blade looks like new now, what about the grip? Do you do something with or to the grip or leave it as is ?

For me it is never a question of making a weapon look "new" as much as "whole".
I still believe that the less you do the better, but that sometimes it is better to do something than nothing at all.
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Old 29th January 2021, 11:35 AM   #29
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Wow, Sajen, great swords, and really nice restoration work!
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Old 30th January 2021, 08:08 AM   #30
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Knives and swords like many weapons even modern technical weapons need maintenance and repairs often done in the field. Also even what may be called crude by us may have been relatively expensive to the owner so would be repaired and maintained even keeping it sharp is maintenance. So it is the same with collecting just depends no whether it is good or not good. Weapons are tools that always retain a function even if you do not use them. Coins are tokens only function when in legal circulation.
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