American Bell Association Bell
August 18, 2011 at 12:58 am #11852sgunnellbParticipant
I recently acquired a small bell at an estate auction.
It says “American Bell Association. Boston 1964”. On the inside it says “SARNA INDIA”
Do any of you have any information on this?
August 18, 2011 at 2:18 am #16567Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
This is a 1964 American Bell Association convention souvenir bell. It was given to attendees by Sajjan Singh Sarna, the founder and owner of “Bells of Sarna”. Here are the specifications of this bell:
1964 – 19th Annual ABA Convention
Description: Bells of Sarna brass tea bell
Inscription: “American Bell Association, Boston, 1964”
Size: 3.25” tall x 1.5” diameter
Weight: 2 ounces
Price: Gift to convention attendees from Sajjan Singh Sarna
Number in Edition: Unknown
Artisan/Maker: Bells of Sarna
“Sarna Brass” is a trademark owned by S.S. Sarna Inc. of Manhasset, N.Y. The business was started by Sajjan Singh Sarna in 1920. Sarna was born in Rawalpindi in British India (now part of Pakistan). He came to the western United States to go to college and study dairy manufacturing. He found that people were interested in buying handcrafts from India, so he started an import business about 1920. Brass, textiles, and other items were among the products he sold. In 1933, with the Depression in full swing, he moved to New York and began selling goods imported from Japan. In 1938, after having a dream about a bell, he went to Indonesia to buy bells, which he sold to department stores in the United States. The bells, each with a “story” tag attached, were popular during the 1960s. His company became known as “Bells of Sarna”. Sajjan Singh Sarna died in the 1970s. The company is now called “S.S. Sarna Inc.” and sells a variety of gift items.
Convention Location: Boston, Mass.
You can find an interesting article about the origin of “Bells of Sarna” on this website at: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=656
If you have found this information helpful, please give serious consideration to joining the American Bell Association International, Inc. Each of our bi-monthly magazines, The Bell Tower, is loaded with information about all kinds of bells!
August 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm #16568sgunnellbParticipant
Do you have any guesstimate on price or number in edition? (I see below where these 2 are not answered)
August 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm #16569Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
You have happened to post this inquiry at the right time! I have recently finished researching and writing an article on ABA Convention Bells that is being published in The Bell Tower, the bi-monthly magazine of the American Bell Association. There was one of these for sale on that popular online auction site recently and the seller was asking for a starting bid of $9.99, I believe. I think that was a fair minimum price (this is my personal opinion). I was not able to find out how many were in the edition.
Sarna made an awful lot of bells. They were often found in gift shops in the 1950s-1970s or so. They were affordable, very different from American-made bells, and he usually attached a tag to each bell or string of bells that told a story about what the bell would have been used for in India. As a member of the American Bell Association, he helped the organization grow rapidly in membership during those years because he also put info about the ABA on the bell tags that told the price of membership dues and how to contact the ABA. Needless to say, that was before the Internet became available to the general public. Mr. Sarna was a very generous man and had a great personality. He and his family attended our annual conventions for many years and donated several convention bells to attendees.
Unfortunately, Sarna’s dream of creating a bell museum in Florida never materialized. However, there are still many of us who have bells from his personal collection now residing in our own collections. We treasure them.
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