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 Post subject: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:13 am 
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I have had a nice old 1860's-70's period line Infantry Pickelhaube in my collection, but lately its caught my eye next to its younger pre-WWI counterparts who stand out with bright brass.

The pickelhaube is in fairly good shape, all things considered with a couple of parts that need to be fixed, but the leather is good, no issues with stitching or an type of rot and the shape is good as I keep all my headgear blocked to maintain shape.

My question to forum members relates to the hardware on this pickelhaube in that it is nearly bronze colored with over 100 years of good patina.

All of the other helmets in my collection, the brass may have had a little patina so a little polish and cleaning was not an issue. In this case I would be going from night to day literally. Having spent years in the Museum world, restorations of artifacts was an art form meant to stabilize the artifact, not to alter it, though there was and is still great debate in the community. In my case, we as an Institution were charged with preserving an aircraft collection.

In some cases, aircraft were restored and they looked like they rolled off the assembly line yesterday. In many cases they required this level of restoration. Today you see more and more being stabilized, repaired and preserved, but not taken down and restored to look brand new.

Thus my question. I am not sure if there is a right or wrong answer as much a personal preference.

I would welcome members thoughts regarding how these older Pickelhaubes look all polished up verses just cleaned and with the hardware maintaining the patina time gave them.

Also one last question though not as pressing, does the polishing of hardware of this type impact value in terms of dollars or desire to have such a piece in ones collection, polished or not?

Thank you. I welcome your thoughts. Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:56 pm 
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Joe, once you remove 100+ years of patina, you can't put it back.

It will always be a personal preference, some like the fittings cleaned, others do not. I prefer to leave it the way it is, and only clean fittings as an absolute last-case, if there is rusting that needs to be addressed, like fingerprints on spike tops and chinscales etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:23 pm 
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As far as buying and selling , buyers usually want that found in the attic as is look.

Then they will take it and dress it up before putting it on the shelf .

I like some others , will buy a helmet needing lots of repair ( it usually sells cheaper ) knowing I can fix it up .

The more that you have to repair a helmet obviously the more work you have to do then the rest of the helmet needs to be brought up to match the repairs.

But all said and done there is no right or wrong .

You do not want to over shine things . You can go easy with your first attempt of tarnish removal to get the brown off to get that brass glow . Or apply more ( and buffing ) to get it to shiny. Next step bright shiny metal . To me that is some what of a turn off.

I just got this helmet in and it is really tarnished .

I will actually ( when I get the time ) will show some before and after pics when I will dress up the brass.
Image
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:26 pm 
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Thank you all for your thoughts. I have always been from the camp where with metal work -- mostly sword hilts -- that has a rich patina, that once removing what time gave, you will never be able to get it back in the same form. Here are a couple of photos of the next project, that will require a little cleaning and repair, but luckily not a complete basket case. Thanks again, I welcome any additional thoughts. Joe

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:33 pm 
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If that were my helmet I would just clean it with some mild soap and water, and then, leave it alone. I often use a high quality shoe polish to protect the leather, but that is largely because of where I live (very hard to control humidity in Arizona). The patina is beautiful. It would be a pity to risk messing it up.

That is also a very unusual helmet. It appears to be an M60, but it has a round front visor. It also has an officers twin ring Kokarde. Very unusual.

John :)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:00 am 
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Thanks for your note. When I purchased it at the time i just wiped it off, cut a custom block for it and put it on the shelf so it would maintain its shape. The front visor appeared to be original along with the stitching which you can see from the one photo, but I did I didn't think much of it. I will take some additional pictures of the marking on the visor and inside body as I have not yet attempted to make them out. Thanks. J


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:44 am 
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Scout2017 wrote:
Thanks for your note. When I purchased it at the time i just wiped it off, cut a custom block for it and put it on the shelf so it would maintain its shape. The front visor appeared to be original along with the stitching which you can see from the one photo, but I did I didn't think much of it. I will take some additional pictures of the marking on the visor and inside body as I have not yet attempted to make them out. Thanks. J


The front visor looks original, and I didn't mean to suggest that it wasn't. It is just very unusual, maybe a very rare helmet.
Congratulations. I do believe that the Kokarde is incorrect for this helmet, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find an original.

John :)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:54 am 
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Thanks John. No worries I had not thought you had implied the visor was replaced. I agree, I too believe the Kokarde is a later piece. Are there any really good references with a large selection of images of these earlier helmets that you would recommend?

Thanks. Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:26 am 
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But weren't these helmets meant to be polished originally?


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:38 pm 
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Scout2017 wrote:
Thanks John. No worries I had not thought you had implied the visor was replaced. I agree, I too believe the Kokarde is a later piece. Are there any really good references with a large selection of images of these earlier helmets that you would recommend?

Thanks. Joe


You will never find Pickelhaube research sites better than these:

http://www.kaisersbunker.com/

http://www.pickelhauben.net/

This forum has many older helmets shown as well. Use the search button at the top and you will get a lot of good information.

John :)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:40 pm 
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aicusv wrote:
But weren't these helmets meant to be polished originally?


Yes. It's just a matter of taste whether you want to polish the brass or not. This, of course, does not apply to officer or gilded helmets. They should never be polished.

John :)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:57 am 
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Not that I'm considering it, but can the fire gilding process be replicated today? I seem to recall it involved chemicals considered quite dangerous today (mercury?)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:13 pm 
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The original process of gold gilt wash that was used on swords, and I assume with helmet fittings was a gold mixed with Mercury and heated. The mercury would evaporate leaving a rich gold finish. OSHA these days would never allow this process.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:47 pm 
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Actually there is one guy who does do this re-gilding process. There is a guy named Dirk Meyers in Germany, here is his Youtube video. He uses Mercury and gold, it produces a nice frosty finish but it is expensive. I contacted him one time and he quoted something like $300-400 to do a wappen plate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZbzD6UhdJk

Here is his website:

http://www.fire-gilding.com/Studio.html


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:02 am 
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Thanks for the tip, nice to know even though I don't think I'll be making use of his services.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:58 am 
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Pontiac9999 wrote:
Actually there is one guy who does do this re-gilding process. There is a guy named Dirk Meyers in Germany, here is his Youtube video. He uses Mercury and gold, it produces a nice frosty finish but it is expensive. I contacted him one time and he quoted something like $300-400 to do a wappen plate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZbzD6UhdJk

Here is his website:

http://www.fire-gilding.com/Studio.html


$300-$400 WOW :o

You would NEVER get that back almost on any plate !!!


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Polishing Hardware
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:44 am 
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I thought it was a bit much too, but it might be worth it if you had a rare busted up plate that needed some tlc...


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