Reply To: Old Church Bell
As a follow-up, Mr. Forbes sent me a personal e-mail asking the same question. I sent it and a picture from Mr. Forbes to many of my bell friends and got several responses. Former ABA President Rita Walker offered this information:
The bell is Mexican all right, and my experience with similar types from that country is that they are not really what they appear to be. Most folks think they are old, but in most instances they are contemporary. It’s a copy of a religious type.
When we visited Mexico in the late 1960’s we saw many of this type. I was in the early stages of bell-earning back then, and I asked a merchant about that type of bell. He confided in me and said that the reason they have that “old” patina is because they bury them in the ground to get them to look that way. When they are “seasoned” properly by the soil, then they are dug up and put on sale. Some of them have a raised inscription on the skirt that appears to be “1838”, and that really fools a lot of folks too.
The pictures are not really sharp, but from what I can see the detail on the bell is not of a high quality. That in itself indicates to me that they are not what they appear to be at first glance. The clapper is probably original, and typical of the type that are placed in newer bells.