Should I polish vintage brass candlestick holders?

Marion06095December 27, 2010

I have a pair of vintage/antique brass (I think?) candlestick holders that I want to sell on the Internet. They have a lovely, even patina. They are in very good shape, so I am pretty sure they would polish up nicely, but might that damage their value?

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lindac

I polish my antique brass candle sticks....but I suppose some do not.
If I were trying to sell...I guess I wouldn't polish them.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 6:19PM
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franksmom_2010

Please don't polish them. Some people would buy them BECAUSE of the patina. If the new owner wants them shiny and bright, they can polish them.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Ideefixe

The new issue of Martha Stewart Living has a story about her brass collection. She got all her stuff buffed.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 1:32PM
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texasredhead

Brass and solid silver look better polished and IMO it inhances the value of both.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 8:00AM
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lindac

I like my antiques clean....and tarnish is dirt, not patina.
But to sell the candlesticks, I would not polish them just in case there is someone out there who likes tarnish....but give it a year and it will reappear!
Linda c

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 9:40AM
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windslam

Tarnish is not dirt. Tarnish is synonymous with natural patina when referring to brass, copper, gold, silver, bronze. It's the result of oxidation. It is the equivalent to those metals as rust is to iron. I'm not familiar with candle holders but I do know many true antiques are more valuable with the results of aging than if they are cleaned up. If you are not interested in selling them and want to enjoy their beauty, clean them up and enjoy them. If you prefer to sell them, dust them off and leave them as they are. Let the new owner do with them what they wish. Some people like the shape of things like that, others the look from the effects of aging others only because of their age. What you do or don't do to them will appeal to different people in different ways. One might say they will buy them because they see the potential for what they will look like shined up. Others will appreciate the aged look and so on. Leaving them as is will appeal to a broader range of people in my opinion.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 9:32PM
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lindac

Tarnish is not "synonymous with natural patina referring to brass, copper gold, silver and bronze...."
Tarnish on silver should not be left....what's more it should not be allowed to form.
Patina is a change in the surface of bronze, either naturally or by artificial means, it can also serve as a protection from the elements, and is not always formed by the process of oxidation.
another meaning of patina is a thin coating and still a third meaning is a superficial covering or exterior.
The dull and brownish look of an unpolished brass candle stick will return in a few months....unlike the carefully applied patina on a bronze sculpture and the soft glow of old furniture, polished and cleaned but not sanded to the bare wood.
However if I were selling a brass candlestick that is just tarnished and not black, I would leave it. Perhaps the new owner would like to do a less vigorous cleaning than you might.
I won't buy silver that has been dipped.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 11:10PM
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justlinda

Would be interesting to ask a silversmith how he would like to see his candlesticks sold ~ shiny or with a patina or tarnish! I shine, shine, shine...but then again, what I have isn't rare antiques.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 12:00AM
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lindac

A silversmith would like his candlestick sold as it was when he finished it. If it was all over shiny, then like that, it he had rubbed "liver of sulfur" into some details to make them stand out, then like that.
I have 150 year old silver pieces and candlesticks that are at least that old....and I shine them up!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:15AM
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windslam

Thank you for the Wikipedia explanation of tarnish. However in the common vernacular such as all facial tissue being called Kleenex, my offering stands. Natural patina is way, way, way different than manually applied patina and the difference as well as the effect is very easily identified. Not so much by an armchair antique assesor though. The natural change of surface that you describe is directly associated with environment and could not take place without oxygen, thus oxidation. Each time you remove this natural oxidation, you essentially remove a portion of that base metal. This is especially detrimental when dealing with gold and silver. If you allow, silver as an example, to oxidize and then clean it, it will wear even if you've never used it to eat with.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 6:54PM
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lindac

so....
Are you saying that silver, if tarnished, should never be polished?
And that the verdigris, naturally occurring on a bronze sculpture and an applied patina, such as has been applied by Rodin to his bronzes is more desirable than Rodin's applied patination?
Just asking.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 10:28PM
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windslam

Ok, it's obvious you might be re-categorizing my offering of information to mean something else entirely, generating a combative atmosphere. I don't wish to participate. The op now has enough varied information to do their research and make a decision which is what it is all about.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 12:47PM
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