Gilbert Anderson wisely pointed to a definition of Patina as a surface that
has weathered inside and thus remained largely intact. Such surfaces on
furniture are often a mix of wax, dirt, cigarette or other smoke, more dirt,
etc. I had the luxury of discussing this with Margaret Merrill, one of the
top experts in the field of New England Antiques (Her son Dick is probably
still the most famous auctioneer of such things) many years ago and asked
about cleaning an object. Her reply was a tart "Why I hardly think it would
have been used dirty!" Of course hers is not the only thought on the
Now what about finishes that were not protected by an interior environment?
Cigar Store Indians were routinely exposed to the elements...they were
routinely repainted every few years (their feet rotted off, too)...a finish
that did not have several layers beneath it would be a point to arouse one's
caution in the buying of one. Bikes obviously are ridden on the road.
Stones, dirt, rain, even snow and hail (well maybe not hail) and the random
accidental contact with other objects were often showered upon them. If
their surface is ruined by years of hard usage, are they to be considered
inferior? Some cherish this very aspect of them. Obviously most would
rather have a nice original finish...some would covet a new in the box ware
house find kind of finish...
None of these folks are wrong...only opiniated differently.
We sometimes in our zeal want to assign a "wrong" or "right" to such
opinions. If you must...so be it. However I think it is a bit
presumptuous, and degrading to folks who do not share your opinion, if you
Frankly, aside some consideration of resale value, if it's my bike I will do
with it as I please and I think consideration of such a viewpoint should be
paramount in a discussion among friends.
Lansing, Mi USA