Perhaps it is good luck in a way that what happened, happened to me and not you. As you may have learned from reading here on occasion, original Bantam emblems are not always easy to find in nice shape. Original Bantam emblems are beautifully enameled pieces. Small and sharp concentric rings lurk under a brilliant layer of translucent red. Circling the red and accenting the branding are small glints of chrome.
More often then not, the chrome is pitted and the enamel is broken exposing oxidized copper based alloy. I happened to get a nice one. I don’t remember how, but I’m thankful for the fact that it is very passable and only needs minor work. Two springs ago, I had the chance to find one attached to a very rough car. The seller offered to sell me some parts and the badge came along for the ride. It was interesting to see what the chrome plating was weathering into. While I appreciated its patina, I also was interested in seeing if it could be fixed. To get a badge refurbished properly, you need to be prepared to pay.
Here is the Bantam emblem the night I got it:
It actually came with pieces of grill bars as the seller felt it easier to remove that way. You can see the tarnished metal, broken enamel, and general sad shape of this badge.
A few names came to the top in my search including one who had some other Bantam parts in his shop for chrome work and other restoration. The man spoke of how he would restore the emblem. He would need to use hydroflouric acid to remove the enamel, then fill in the background, fire the badge, and finally replate the branding. He wanted $175 to do the job and asked me to send my emblem directly to him. He sounded trust worthy, and I decided to send this badge to him.
While I was lucky enough to have a decent emblem, I foresaw a need to get an emblem refinished and figured that some friends in the club would need to get theirs done. As this badge seemed to be shabby to me, I though I would send it out. While I would be annoyed if it was stolen or done poorly, I wouldn’t be upended.
I sent the badge out to the man and didn’t hear from him. I called to find out if he got it, he did. Months passed and I called for another status update; he was unreachable. For the better part of one and a half years, we played phone tag and I was inundated with excuses. After a while, it doesn’t matter how valid one’s excuses are, they just don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
I told him I was fed up with waiting and being fed one line after another; I only wanted my badge back so I could give another artisan a chance. Suddenly, he said he had just fired the enamel and was waiting to see how it came out. I asked for a photo. Silence was the reply.
A few weeks passed and I asked him to just send the item, in what ever shape it was in. He delayed in replying, finally saying it was done. I asked for a photo. He sent me a photo of a gorgeous emblem but said the studs broke off. At first I replied with how happy I was, I asked for a photo of the back side and realized it was a gorgeous reproduction which sells new for $38. I already had a reproduction, and they cost a heck of a lot less than $175. They also use screws that are fed into the back rather than studs which are fused onto the back of the emblem.
I told him I was through and wanted him to just send my part back to me. He told me that it was in the hydroflouric acid, but he would send it as soon as he cleaned it up. He sent me a photo of my emblem among a few others. Yes, he was commissioned to do work for about 5 other people. Each of them likely to be sent a reproduction emblem, told that their emblems had the studs broken off, or some such jazz.
Here is my emblem now, as it was shipped back to me:
He sandblasted it, destroying every precious detail of the concentric rings. Deleting the prominence of each line. Making it so this badge could never be properly restored ever again. The only thing that explains such a wanton disregard for the integrity of this emblem is spite.
I am not be publishing the man’s name or business here at this time, although I would love to. While I am saddened that this emblem has been destroyed, I am happy that this spare emblem was destroyed rather than your nice one which only needed a little work. Hopefully I can help you get your part to a person who will care for your part as if it were his or her own. If you need your emblem restored, please send me a note and I’ll help get it into good hands.
One artisan is willing to take on the task of attempting to restore this emblem. I will update you with the outcome.