Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells American Casting Co. bell

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    • #12215

      I have an American Casting Company bell marked Birmingham Alabama. It is 19″ in diameter and has all parts. I believe it is a #4 farm bell. In 2008 someone on this site valued it at $650. An antique store dealer would like to buy it. What is a fair asking price? I’d appreciate any help.

    • #17368

      Hi Susan!

      Unfortunately you usually won’t get someone here to answer that question, except maybe vaguely. I am surprised that someone gave you a price in 08.

      It’s not that we are anti social or stuck up or rude, but your question is difficult for us to answer for a number of reasons:

      1) Even with photographs (which aren’t posted!), there are a lot of factors, some quite small, that can impact the price of a bell. The type of lug mounting for one example of many! Is it a tang lug? a screw mount? is it raised a lot? a bit? not at all? and so on….

      2) The tone of the bell influences the price and can tell if your bell has been repaired or not (some repairs are hard to see). We can’t hear it from here! (sorry about the pun, but couldn’t resist!)

      3) It takes a close examination to see if the mounting hardware is all there and all correct. We can’t do that without seeing the bell.

      4) Markets are variable. What would sell well in one area won’t sell at all in another. We don’t necessarily know your selling location.

      5) The economy dictates how much disposable cash is around so with the budget issues you will probably find that the prices are down now.

      6) There are a number of unfortunate individuals who believe that, if they make a bad or unfortunate decision themselves, someone owes them because they can’t possibly be responsible for the decision they themselves made! And being irresponsible, even if they got the evaluation for absolutely free, they will therefore try and sue. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and they don’t seem to understand that concept. We only offer opinions, not evaluations for that reason. You will note that this is a free service and so neither ABA nor the members can afford law suits, even if we win we lose!

      7) We are a group of experienced individuals, and you are asking for an opinion. As such what I would value a bell at will definitely be different than another on this site. We probably would be fairly close, but it will be different.

      So the best you might get is a range of possible values, which changes over time and location.

      My advice?
      1) Check out the common auction sites. See what the bells are selling for (not the asking price, they can ask for the moon, what are they actually getting.) Also note WHERE it’s getting those prices, location as mentioned is important!
      2) If you are talking to a dealer, expect that they will be offering 40-75% of it’s real market value in his/her area, depending on a number of factors. Be fair and expect that, you aren’t selling to the end collector at the retail rates – you are at the wholesale sales level! They are trying to earn a living here, and cannot buy at full value expecting to make a profit. They have expenses and are taking a risk on it’s resale. It could sit around for years before selling. You benefit by having the sale now, without risk.
      3) Be comfortable, not greedy. Are you getting a price that makes sense to you? How much did you pay for it vs how much you are being offered. Remember that cast iron farm bells are reasonably common, compared to most other bells!

      If you make it a pleasant experience for both of you, it will pay off in the long run! Another thought, if you think you aren’t getting the price you want, is to have a look around his store, most dealers will barter!

      Good luck!

    • #17369

      A couple additional thoughts:

      1. do a search for “parts of a farm bell” to get some idea of the differences I am talking about (and why photos are important).

      For example this one turned up for me:

      Note they show two different ‘farm bell’ types and a third variant they call a school bell!

      Now you get an idea as to why we are usually so insistent on photos!


    • #17370


      Wow! Thank you so much for all of the valuable advice. This bell was on my grandparents farm. I was selling it because I have no place to put it and it makes me sad to see it just sitting in the shed. My grandmother actually rang it to call granddaddy in from the field.

      Anyway, thank you so very much. I will definitely be following all the leads you have given me. I did not expect to get anywhere near the 2008 quote. I was thinking maybe in the range of $100 – $200. Like I said, I have no place to put it. I will post a picture if I can figure out how to do it.

      Thanks again for your time and advice.


    • #17371

      Thanks Susan!
      We would all enjoy seeing your bell! I personally think you are being reasonable in your price expectations, at least for the area I live in!

      Most people forget that the size of the image file is what restricts the download to a site like this. There are a number of free programs and even web based ones that don’t need to be installed, that will reduce the size of the image for you.

      Then they upload!

    • #17372
      Willie B. Herd

      Hi Susan, to get an idea of your bell’s worth, U can shop-and-compare on Ebay. Also, create a photobucket account (an image hosting web-site) to store and post your pics easily. Good Luck!

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