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tline3open  what to do with etched i.d. numbers?

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Author Topic:   what to do with etched i.d. numbers?

Posts: 966
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-27-2007 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I personally think etching an i.d. # on the underside of a piece of silver is vandalism, but what does one do with a piece that has one? Leave it or have it buffed out? opinions?

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Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 01-27-2007 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Leave it alone as it is now part of the items history. Also, if it does not show then what does it hurt. In addition to the foregoing; you say that you consider the id to be vandalism. Then by having it removed that in itself could be considered vandalism. Unless whatever has been done threatens the integrity of the piece my stock response has always been 'leave it alone'. You could always tell people that the number was George Washingtons' social security number.

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iconnumber posted 01-27-2007 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These usually date from the period 1970 to 1985 and were part of an anti-crime effort. Local police stations had an electric pen that would etch the letters on items of value. One borrowed the pen, did the etching and received stickers to put on points of entry. The stickers proclaimed that everything of value was marked so it would be hard to fence. Actually, this did deter thieves.

Keeping a record of each piece with its number would be a good way to retrieve stolen items. Insurance companies tended to like the system.

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Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-30-2007 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
the flaw in that logic tho is that anyone can buff the numbers off. With computers it is much easier to keep a detailed photographic record.

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Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 02-01-2007 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my mind there is a fine line between vandalism and being part of an object's history. For example, lets say I'm washing a beautiful set of sterling flatware in my sink and a spoon accidentally slips down into the drain without my eagle eye noticing. Then later if I turn on my garbage disposal and hear that heart rending GRRRIIIIINNNDDDDDD for the split second it takes to quickly reach over and slam the switch off. Then, when I pull out the spoon I suppose I could say that the chew marks are now part of its charm and history. But I know I wouldn't have my heart into believing it was anything but a good candidate for the melter's pot. For me, some minor wear that has developed over an object's lifetime is fine, but recent serious wear or marring is damage.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 02-01-2007).]

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Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 02-01-2007 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On damage, see also discussion in the How to start collecting thread in the New Members Forum....

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Posts: 966
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 02-01-2007 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was thinking tho, how does all this compare to "nobody will ever know what was going through...Laszlo Toth's brain when he climbed over the guardrail of the chapel of the Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica and started battering with his hammer at the Madonna's resigned stone arm, the folded veil, the nose, the translucent shell of her left eyelid." This was in 1972, and of course it was quickly restored.
Or how about the Sistine Chapel ceiling that was recently restored. Was that removing the 'history' of the piece? I'm really asking to get a serious dialogue about this going.

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iconnumber posted 02-01-2007 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Removing accumulated dirt and discoloreed varnish from a painting in not unlike removing tarnish from silver - it allows the still existing original surface to be seen and appreciated. I know of no silver collector who would object, unlike one school of pewter collectors, who prefer a tarnished patina.

Replacing vandalized portions of an object is not the same as, say, removing an added spout from a tankard -- a useful alteration at one point in its history -- which would only leave you with a patch which would forever require explanation.

Whichever course is followed, no damaged piece will ever attain the value in dollars of a like undamaged piece; repair or restoration will improve its value, but not to the comparable original level. No one can guarantee 100% accuracy or authenticity of a repair/replacement, as no one but the original artist/craftsman could truly duplicate the original areas/portions, anyway.

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