I never comprehended the relic guitar craze - I just never understood why guitarists would pay more for a beat-up guitar. John Bohlinger sums my thoughts up perfectly:
Guitars are like the Velveteen Rabbit: If the owner truly loves them and plays them enough, they will come to life. If you want your guitar to look played, play it so much that it seldom sees the inside of a case. After a few months, maybe you’ll find your 4-year-old son joyfully beating it with a drumstick. You’ll be pissed, but in due course, you’ll laugh it off.
After a year maybe you’ll swap out the pickups, and in doing so your screwdriver will slip and gouge the front. You’ll curse, but in time you won’t care. Maybe on a sweaty, lonely August night the neck will feel sticky and you’ll impulsively sand it down to the wood. It will look rough but eventually your hand grease will leave that neck smooth and buttery. Somebody will spill beer on it, blow smoke on it, airlines will do their best to destroy it, and hundreds of hours of music will vibrate through it. All of this will make your guitar an honest-to-God relic—a historical artifact of your musical journey. You can’t fake that.