The canon 1.4 is very susceptible to damage. This is due to the old poorly designed front element focusing gearing and drive. I treat my gear well, mine still broke after a few years. Was gonna cost half it's price to fix two parts, not one but two parts. I bought the sigma, it is sharper and much better built. Research it.
You speak the truth. The 50 f/1.4 creates some beautiful images, but you have to take extra safeguards with it. Things you wouldn't even think about, like storing it in infinity mode, front element always pointed up, etc... Mine is in the shop right now...and I'm not guaranteed I'm going to get it back in one piece. After this whole ordeal, though, I will still likely replace it with another copy.