Each year we refinish quite a few of these. Though you can get new clawfoots for 1,600-2,000 these are not heirlooms. Most range from 1900 to 1940. Refinishing completely in NC goes to approx $800, 1/2 as much as a new one.
Once we are done, there is no comparison. Sometimes we even cover up holes front and back. You can go with basic paint on the outside and urethane epoxy on the inside.