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Vintage BOJ EIBAR Brass Turtle Hotel Desk Bell
In Excellent Working Condition

Not much information supplied by the seller. Maybe you are supposed to know how it works – wind it up, press the head or tail, and it rings. I would take exception with the first two words in the heading. The U.S. Customs Office defines antique as an object at least 100 years old, which this is not. There are four similar items for sale on eBay at this time, a usual number, so I would not consider it rare.

The inscription on the bottom shows patent numbers and that it was presumably made by a company called [BOJ] in Eibar (northern) Spain. Most of these bells have the same inscription.

It seems like the standard version most often encountered and it sold in the standard price range.
The new owner will probably be happy with the purchase.
eBay listing: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130515653162&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Yet, If I were buying it for myself, I might look a slightly different version. The one above has what I call a “slab-sided” (flat) head and with relatively shallow detail on the neck. Compare it with the next picture, in which the head is more rounded and the neck has enhanced detail. You don’t see nearly as many of these, but they are around, were also made by BOJ (perhaps earlier?), and the one below sold in the same price range. Strictly a matter of personal taste – ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice.

The (steel) shell is decorated by a technique called Damascening, whereby gold (or silver) is inlaid into a darkly oxidized steel background. The effect is “light on dark”. It is most often associated with Toledo Spain, and the picture on the right shows many of the items for sale in tourist shops.

The next picture shows an older version on what seems to be a heavier iron shell with crimped edge. The underneath is similar to the ones above, but I cannot make out an inscription as to where it was made or who made it.

The final two pictures show a turtle also made by BOJ. The shell says Toledo and the bottom shows it was also made by BOJ. The style of decoration is Niello, whereby brass/silver/steel is engraved with a burin and the channels filled with a dark enamel type compound. The effect now is “dark on light”. This turtle probably could truthfully be described as rare, and it sold for just under $400.