Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells 1828 "Ave Maria – San Antonio" Bell

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    • #11326

      Michael in Rhode Island writes:

      I’ve recently come across a bell which I believe may be of some historical significance. I believe it’s bronze, it measures 3 1/4 inches tall, 3 inches in diameter. There are several rings on the bell, it has 3 slots on top in the handle, it’s dated 1828 (embossed), also embossed is a cartouche style design in the front, the words “AVE MARIA S.(a small N above the S) ANTONIO. I believe it is an original mission bell which would have been used during the ringing of the bells (Ave Maria) 1/2 hour after sunset and early dawn. The only thing I could come up with significant to 1828 was the first established Anglo American children’s school “McClure’s School” in San Antonio. Any info would be appreciated. Also, have you any idea of the value? Thank you.

      If you can help, please post a response.

      This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.

    • #15469

      Michael, The bell that you have was designed and cast by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes of Los Angeles between 1914 and 1937, give or take a year. The name of the bell that Forbes gave it is AVE MARIA BELL MISSION SAN LUIS REY. During Mrs. Forbes time she visited many of the missions of the southwest as well as the California missions and sketched what she could see of the bells hanging in the towers. This one looked like one of the bells hanging in Mission San Luis Rey located about 45 minutes north of beautiful warm and sunny San Diego. Between 1914 and 1941 she made souvenir bells from 1 ½” to 18”. She was the only foundry woman in America during these years. This one is a souvenir bell sold at missions and gift stores throughout California from 1914-1941. This one , as others made be Forbes were never used during church services. There has never been a true accounting of all the different sizes and types of bells made by her, the most resent count approaches 300 items. The date of 1828 clearly can be seen, this is at the very end of the mission era of California and does not pertain to any early mission development. Why she put the date on the bell, we do not have a positive answer. To get a look at the vast articles on bells go to the ABA web site and click on ‘directory‘, a 37 page index of world class bell information taken from the ABA publication The Bell Tower. If you have more questions or wish to discuss bell subjects, expert assistance is always available. Max Kurillo

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