Re: old painted hardware to bronze finish
A magnet will be most telling. If it's plated it's likely a steel base.
Rustoleum has some metallic spray cans in colors; I used their metallic black on my front door hardware and it looks pretty good, but it's not solid coverage; I think if you sprayed it over a colored base, like black metallic over a copper color, you could get enough variation in the finish to look convincing from 10 feet away. The copper will be visible through the black which is a clear base (I had to spray it over a solid black primer to get it at all dark).
Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.