Theiss Plating Corporation


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Should I refinish this antique?
Or, will that hurt the value?

This is a question we hear often from people who have an older piece in badly tarnished or corroded condition. They are fond of the item and would like to see it brought to a condition that can be used or displayed but fear they may somehow cause the “antique value” of the piece to be reduced if the original patina is lost.

While this is sometimes true, in the great majority of cases it simply does not apply. People often have the impression that any item that is 50 or more years old and has a tarnished or weathered appearance is going to be worth more if it retains the original finish, however rough or unsightly it might be. Historical artifacts and museum quality pieces notwithstanding, few antique metal pieces will meet those standards for rarity and historical significance or have their original finish in exceptional condition.


Careful and appropriate restoration will enhance value in almost all cases. Your enjoyment of heirloom silver candelabra, fine lighting fixtures or your home’s original hardware, for example, will be much improved with their appearance restored but antiques and collectables as well as all types of liturgical metalware for churches and synagogues will benefit as well.

It comes down to personal preference in nearly all cases. Some owners prefer the vintage patina of old copper, brass or bronze and when the finish has simply tarnished with age the effect is often pleasing. Many times, however, the finish has weathered in a rough or uneven fashion, often showing areas of corrosion and pitting that is unsightly at best. For those who like an antique to “look old” we can replicate that look beautifully, giving a rich, aged patina that is smooth, clean and even. Use of a matte lacquer deepens the color but avoids the shiny gloss for a subtle, natural appearance.

For those who wish their item to look as it did when it was new, bright polishing and lacquering can make for an amazing transformation, revealing the brilliant beauty hiding under the dull oxidized surface. This approach allows you step back in time and see the piece as its original owner did when they first acquired it many years ago!

"A quick note to tell you how pleased I am, once again, for the beautiful work your team has done for me. Your staff is great."
~ Stacey S, Missouri