Are church bells worth anything?
May 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm #11131AnonymousInactive
Ken in New Hampshire writes:
Are church bells worth anything? I have a buddy who has a Henry McShane from 1880’s collecting dust, any value? It is complete with mount and everything, hung in an old church so its……..”church size” Not really excited to sell, i like old stuff and told him i would ask around and give him a rough guess as to value. I guess if its worth good money he would sell, if not just let it sit.
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.
May 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm #14632GarryParticipant
Yes, I find that all bells have a value. You need to give some more details of the one you are referring to, before any reasonable ‘ball park’ idea could be given. Things like sizes, weights, mounting styles, mounting brackets, condition etc. Also, if there is a documented history of the bell, that helps improve it’s value too. Even answers as simple as, which Church? can add to it’s value.
Also you should consider if you are looking for sale values, Auction Values, or Insurance Values – they are quite different numbers some times.
To give a VERY rough idea: A good, Bronze, midsized Church bell sells in the high hundreds to low thousands of dollars, generally, so I would insure it for that range too.
I don’t think that this site allows specific values to be given, but there are a number of sites that do. A fast Google search on antique church bells will pull up a few for you.
May 19, 2009 at 1:20 am #14633AnonymousInactive
This site does allow “specific values” to be given but… Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge. Any values of a bell posted on this site are NOT appraisals made by a certified appraiser representing the American Bell Association International, Inc.
There is a response to the question, “What Is the Value of My Bell?” in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section at https://americanbell.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=624 that will give guidance.
May 26, 2009 at 2:04 pm #14634Green GrassMember
Current value of a church bell is the market scrap value per pound, plus an added value for the musical quality of the bell, depending on the foundry.
Meneely’s bring the highest value for casting & musical quality.
Certain foundries are highly collectible, Coffin Foundry, for example, and therefore bring the highest value for church bells.
With church bells the main determining factor is the musical quality, and our ability to match new cast bells to the old bell. Historically, the music quality was A420-430 standard, today bells are cast on A440 standard. We have been successful lathing pld bells to the new music standard.
May 27, 2009 at 12:30 am #14635hjlong3Participant
McShane bells are quality bronze bells. The value is determined by the size and weight of the bell, its tone and whether it has all of the original hardware, as well as its history. If you sell it to another church or a collector, you will probably get a higher price than if you sell it to an individual who will refurbish it and list it for resale. The latter will absorb a certain amount of cost for transport, storage, renovation and transport and installation at the new site. In addition, the resale will need to include a profit for the seller.
Harry Long, MD
June 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm #14636AudinosParticipant
I have heard some McShane bells with excellent tuning, but I also know of a nearby peal of four McShane bells cast in the 1990’s which are untuned and sound awful. Variances in quality occur among other founders (i.e. Stuckstede), but a bronze bell that has been properly tuned should command a higher price over one that isn’t, or over one made from some experimental alloy, steel, or cast iron.
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