Aquired at estate sale HELP!
February 22, 2011 at 2:28 am #11718
I knew as soon as I saw this bell that there was something special about it. Even if you all tell me its worthless it’s going to stay in my collection for a long time. Anyway I’m hoping to get some clue’s as to its origin. The (rich) gentleman who owned the estate I bought this at collected a lot of British lead soldiers and a large British history library.
I’ve looked this thing up and down and over and back and I cannot find any makers marks on the thing. The bell is about 5 1/2″ tall with a 3 1/4 inch diameter.
At first I was thinking greek or roman because of all the flowing robes and bust figure looked roman. Then I noticed a cross that one of the figures was holding and started thinking it was much more modern. Any help would be appreciated!!
February 22, 2011 at 2:35 am #16295hjlong3Participant
I believe that this is a replica of a Vatican Bell as it has the Papal Crown on top, and has the Papal Keys on the crest on the skirt. This does not appear to be a replica of the Apostle Bell that is commonly seen as the bell from St. Peter’s Basilica, but there are more than one Vatican Bell.
Harry Long, MD
February 22, 2011 at 3:06 am #16294
February 22, 2011 at 3:08 am #16293
great start, so I’m with you on the Vatican bell replica. Do you think this this would have been a common souvenir? I’m thinking not because the only bells I’m finding online are virgin Mary bell souvenirs. Here is another picture of the bust on the bell.
February 22, 2011 at 3:11 am #16299
That is great! I’ve been sitting here stewing over what this was for months until I stumbled on this website today! Great stuff! Thanks a million!
February 22, 2011 at 4:07 am #16298Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
My pleasure, Mandy! Here are pictures of my two St. Peter’s Bells. The first one has dolphins at the top around the Papal crown. It is a larger and heavier bell than the one with the cherubs. The third picture is of the plate that the cherub bell sits on. To be honest, I have no idea if they belong together but that’s how they came to me. Yes, the plate has a hole in the center. I believe all three peices are made of brass.
Please be sure to make time to check out our main website! https://www.americanbell.org to learn more about us! It seems hard to believe but the American Bell Association has been around for a long time. It started as the National Bell Collectors Club in 1940 and became the American Bell Association in 1945!
St. Peter’s Bell with dolphins beneath the Papal crown – 7″ tall x 4″ diameter – 2 pounds, 8.5 ounces
St. Peter’s Bell with cherubs beneath the Papal crown – 5.5″ tall x 3.25″ diameter – 1 pound, 6 ounces
Plate that fits under the St. Peter’s Bell with cherubs – 6″ diameter – 13 ounces
February 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm #16297
I saw another picture of this bell with the plate, which unfortunately I don’t have. If there is anyone out there who has a plate with no bell, please have them contact me, I’ll be happy to bring the two pieces together again.
I can be reached at email@example.com
Thanks again for the help!
February 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm #16296halanbParticipant
Pic 1 shows a bell (5 1/2″ x 3 1/4″) with dark patina and the underplate (6″). Note the small cross on the top of the papal crown. The bells all came like this, but the cross has almost always been broken off. The 5 1/2″ size seems to have been the most common, but I have seen them as small as 4 1/2″ and as large as 7 1/2″. The versions with dolphins are generally inferior to those with cherubs.
Pic 2 shows the underplate with a dove in the center. Lois Springer (Collector’s Book of Bells, plate 156):
One of the most desirable copies of the Saint Peter’s bell. When the replica is lifted, the full-bodied
image of the fallen dove is seen lying in the center of the underplate. Late nineteenth century.
Her phrase fallen dove has perpetuated itself through the literature about this bell. Yet I once asked a church scholar, a British Benedictine monk, about the meaning of the fallen dove. He was perplexed, saying that while a dove is often associated with the Holy Spirit, he knows of no specific fallen dove in Christian theology or why it would have been associated with St. Peter’s. Maybe some reader has additional information?
Pic 3 shows two of the rarest versions of the St. Peter’s bell, those with supporting ropes (7″ x 3 1/2″).
Each was made by the lost wax method to the highest standards, the basic elements are the same, yet the decoration in the bands is different. Perhaps there were slightly different models, or made at different times? Note that the center between the ropes is hollow. There is a slightly smaller and inferior (sand cast?) copy of this bell where the center is filled in.
There are several variants of this bell that may be encountered. Pic 4 shows one with a large cross (7.8″ high). These usually have dolphins, not cherubs. They are occasionally well done, this one is fairly decent, but are often inferior and should be examined carefully before purchase. Pic 5 shows a much simplified, later version (8 1/2″ x 4″), also with dolphins, and with something that resembles a bottle opener at the top.
February 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm #16292
Thanks for that, I was wondering about the top of the bell where the cross was. It looked out of place because it was rough and everything else was so well done.
I could also see why the dove did not generally survive on the plate as well since the clapper would be hit pretty squarely every time the bell was returned to the plate.
Is there any information in the book about who made the bell(s)?
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