Started attempting cleaning this saber - did I destroy the value?

James N.

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... I had an old time collector who told me that he cleaned old metal by lightly rubbing with olive oil - evidently that's a traditional way to clean old coins.
My particular mentor Robert Justice swore by what hew aptly called nose grease - when wanting a mild solvent to clean a small spot of grime, dirt, or real grease or unknown substance he would simply rub his nose or face with his fingers and then the object; amazing what a good job that does, especially when in a pinch like at a gun show or antique mall!
 

Jeff in Ohio

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and pee on it too :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: while you bury it. Actually I got a Polearm from an Auction House that damaged the metal but the wise Shipper took pics showing it was damaged when they got it so not their fault. I was not going to return it since it was rare and I wanted it. Took it to a Metalsmith to repair (2nd time doing that on another) and he did a good job only you could see the repair spot (shiny vs patina). He said lick your thumb and wipe the moisture on the repair spot daily on more. Over time it will match the rest of the blade. He was right and it looks good, took about a month or two.
An old long-rifle guy explained to me the "corn crib" method of aging a rifle barrel to a crusty match for the rest of a long-rifle.
Corn cribs were built to store corn on the ear, and allow it to dry over time, and so were somewhat open to the weather. Farmers seldom store ear corn, and so the old wood slat sided cribs now stand empty.
Lean the barrel in corner of the empty crib; it is be exposed to some moisture from time to time as rain blows in or fog brings moisture.
Every month or so, on your evening stroll around the bounds of your farmstead, and after you have had your evening cup of coffee, urinate on that barrel and stand it back in the corner.
This is a slow, gentle aging, and sooner or later, it will match the rest of the metal.
 
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In this case, I understand that this is not a family sword connected in any sentimental way to the poster or any known persons.

I might repeat my view of cleaning efforts:

  • Collectors often say they value untouched, intact items.
  • Grooms often say they value untouched maiden brides.
  • Once a collector gets control, he just can't resist messing with it.
  • Once a groom gets control, he just can't resist....well, you know.

One result in both instances is that NEVER AGAIN is the coveted object untouched, ever again, it is changed for all time.

So, it is wise to think carefully before starting.
Well said Jeff!
This post should be pinned to the top of the relics and collectors forum!
 

jim young

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It did not help value. It did decrease it some. never clean an antique gun or sword or old coins but roman and then ask first. You can do what you like but this does hit value.
 

James N.

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Not in your or my life time:D It take a long time for the patina to turn on brass. Might as well bury it in the back yard for a few years.
Just hanging it back on the wall in my house for a few months seems to do just fine! If I don't "attend" to them annually the finish easily turns dull and flat. Of course as indicated the two Confederate hilts don't get much other than dusting; since the Ames' are in minty condition overall there's NO reason for their hilts to be in any other than shiny condition to match.
 
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