Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Articles About Bells Ballantyne Bells – List and Pictures

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      halanb
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      Gerry Ballantyne Bells

      Gerry Ballantyne acquired his first bell in the early 1950s, when he brought one home to his wife, Lyn, as a souvenir of a business trip. Twenty years later, with a background in metallurgy but no formal artistic training, he decided to make his first bell, a French Officer. He brought this prototype to an ABA Annual Convention to inquire if others would wish to purchase table bells that he would make. Response was favorable so he began production.

      The prototype bell is pictured in Dorothy Anthony, World of Collectible Bells, plate 16. The description reads: “Figure of a French officer, circa 1800, of silicon bronze, and one-of-a-kind, this was Mr. Ballantyne’s first bell made about 1971. Ornate embossing and fine detail on the base, 9.5″ high, weight 3.75 lb.”

      All bells were made by the lost wax process, cast in silicon bronze, and finished with a brown patina. The metal was poured at a foundry, but all the other work – design, rubber mold, wax figures, investment, cleanup, chasing, patina, clapper – was done by Gerry himself.

      For the first three years, he made one Annual bell. Then in 1975 he began making one Annual bell and one Special (or Nodder) bell for each year. The two per year schedule was very time consuming, he was getting behind in filling orders, and so he cut back to one per year again in 1991. His last bell was issued in 1996. In all, Gerry made 41 designs and delivered over 10,000 bells.

      All bells, except the Jesus Bell, had a planned maximum edition of 200 – 500 bells each. Gerry would make a large initial batch, then continue making additional smaller batches as orders arrived. For example, the list shows that Paul Revere was planned for a maximum of 500 bells, and 475 were actually constructed. The bells are numbered and signed, and the end of the clapper has the initials “GB”.

      Most of the bells were of the figural type, and most of those had additional elements on the base to augment the story of the figure used for the handle. One of the bells was of the figurine type, and five were nodders. He also produced a Wheat Shaft bell for the 1979 ABA Annual Convention.

      The list below shows the estimated prices at which the bells can be purchased in 2011. I have information about the prices that Gerry charged for some of his bells in the early years. Another ABA member has kindly shared prices that he paid in later years for bells issued earlier. A price in parentheses ($xxx) is the price paid when purchased directly from Gerry near the time of issue. A price followed by a date in brackets [$yyy dddd] is the price paid for a bell at a later time. The prices fetched when bells were sold on the open market rose rapidly and peaked around the year 2000. Individual bells were selling for 2-3 times the 2011 value. A complete set could be purchased in the $10,000 range. A complete set, all with the same one-digit serial number, was sold for $15,000 in 1999. The value has declined in the past ten years, as is true with many collectibles.

      For additional information about Gerry Ballantyne, see:
      (1) – ABA Book IV, The Lost Wax Process of Casting Bells, pp 8-9
      (2) – The Bell Tower, Sep-Oct 1997, Profile of a Bell Maker, pp 10-11
      ====================================================================================================

      5 May 2012 – Additional information from pmpatton concerning two more bells.
      See: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=4802, and the pictures at the end of this article.

      The first is a silver Paul Revere, of which only 5 copies were made. According to pmpatton, these were solid silver, not plated. He understands that Gerry experimented with several silver alloys before choosing the one that he thought gave the best casting results, but he does not know which particular alloy was chosen or its silver percentage.

      The second was a custom bronze bell for his grandparents, and only one copy was made.

      ====================================================================================================

      Gerry Ballantyne Bells

      Year_ . Name_______________________ _#Made_ . Price

      1971_ . French Officer (Prototype, 9.5″)__ __1/__1 . $nfs

      1972A . Augusta Drusilla (Livia)_________ 200/200 . $300 . ($ 28) . [$450 1988] . [$900 1999]
      1973A . Maria Theresa________________ 200/200 . $300 . ($ 38) . [$100 1987]
      1974A . Hans Brinker_________________ 300/300 . $200 . ($ 35) . [$100 1987]
      1975A . Henry David Thoreau__________ 300/300 . $200 . ($ 35) . [$100 1987]
      1975N . Catherine of Aragon (4.8”)______ 250/250 . $300 . ($ 65) . [$425 1989] . [$900 1999]
      1976A . Paul Revere__________________ 475/500 . $100 . ($ 68)
      1976S . Bicentennial Bell______________ 376/500 . $100 . ($ 40)
      1977A . Becky Thatcher_______________ 344/500 . $100 . ($ ??) . [$125 1986]
      1977S . Jesus Bell____________________ 500/___ . $150 . ($ 75)
      1978A . Indian Buffalo Dancer__________ 360/500 . $100 . ($ ??) . [$125 1986]
      1978S . Gibson Girl___________________ 299/500 . $100 . ($ ??) . [$125 1986]
      1979A . Joan of Arc__________________ 395/500 . $100 . ($ ??) . [$125 1986]
      1979N . Friar Tuck (4.6”)______________ 460/500 . $200 . ($ 95)
      1980A . Chinese Mandarin_____________ 336/500 . $100 . ($ 85)
      1980S . Evangeline___________________ 252/500 . $100 . ($ ??) . [$125 1987]
      1981A . Pioneer Schoolteacher_________ 330/400 . $100 . ($ 75)
      1981S . Robin Hood (6.5”)_____________ 287/400 . $100 . ($110)
      1982A . Court Jester_________________ 302/400 . $100 . ($ 82)
      1982S . Town Crier___________________ 311/400 . $100 . ($ 75)
      1983A . Circus Clown_________________ 276/400 . $100 . ($ 82)
      1983N . La Esmeralda (5.2”)___________ 342/400 . $200 . ($105)
      1984A . Cinderella___________________ 252/400 . $100 . ($ 90)
      1984S . Swiss Herdsman______________ 283/400 . $100 . ($ 82)
      1985A . Della_______________________ 250/400 . $100 . ($ 90)
      1985S . Jim Bridger, Mountain Man______ 220/400 . $100 . ($ 90)
      1986A . Jack and the Beanstalk________ 236/400 . $100 . ($ 90)
      1986N . Omar Khayyam (4.7”)_________ 280/400 . $200 . ($110)
      1987A . Dorothy in Oz________________ 257/300 . $100 . ($ 90)
      1987S . Rip Van Winkle_______________ 253/300 . $100 . ($ 90)
      1988A . Edgar Allen Poe______________ 265/300 . $100 . ($ 95)
      1988S . Mumtaz Mahal________________ 226/300 . $100 . ($120)
      1989A . Aladdin’s Genie______________ 228/300 . $100 . ($ 95)
      1989N . Santa Claus (5.4”)____________ 300/300 . $400 . ($125)
      1990A . Ponce de Leon_______________ 244/250 . $100 . ($120)
      1990S . Cleopatra___________________ 232/250 . $100 . ($120)
      1991A . Empress Eugenie_____________ 250/250 . $100 . ($120)
      1992A . Blackbeard__________________ 250/250 . $100 . ($120)
      1993A . Hopi Kachina________________ 250/250 . $100 . ($130)
      1994A . Scarlet Letter_______________ 220/250 . $100 . ($130)
      1995A . Chimney Sweep______________ 226/250 . $100 . ($152)
      1996A . Leif Erickson________________ 220/250 . $100 . ($152)

      1979_ . Wheat Shaft Convention Bell (4.6”)______ . $ 25 . ($ 18)

      Most bells are about 6” tall, exceptions are noted as (x.y”)

      Note 1: Estimated prices courtesy of Bruce and Jane Clayton (bruceclayton@sbcglobal.net).
      These are “average” prices that they have observed in recent years, but the actual price
      can vary from one transaction to another.

      Note 2: Thanks to Bill Martin for searching out the original prices of the bells.

      Note 3: Thanks to Gary Childress for his comments and the Dorothy Anthony reference.

      ====================================================================================================

      1971_ . French Officer (Prototype, 9.5″)__ __1/__1 . $nfs
      1972A . Augusta Drusilla (Livia)_________ 200/200 . $300
      1973A . Maria Theresa________________ 200/200 . $300
      1974A . Hans Brinker_________________ 300/300 . $200

      1975A . Henry David Thoreau__________ 300/300 . $200
      1975N . Catherine of Aragon (4.8”)______ 250/250 . $300
      1976A . Paul Revere__________________ 475/500 . $100
      1976S . Bicentennial Bell______________ 376/500 . $100

      1977A . Becky Thatcher_______________ 344/500 . $100
      1977S . Jesus Bell____________________ 500/500 . $150
      1978A . Indian Buffalo Dancer__________ 360/500 . $100
      1978S . Gibson Girl___________________ 299/500 . $100

      1979A . Joan of Arc__________________ 395/500 . $100
      1979N . Friar Tuck (4.6”)______________ 460/500 . $200
      1980A . Chinese Mandarin_____________ 336/500 . $100
      1980S . Evangeline___________________ 252/500 . $100

      1981A . Pioneer Schoolteacher_________ 330/400 . $100
      1981S . Robin Hood (6.5”)_____________ 287/400 . $100
      1982A . Court Jester_________________ 302/400 . $100
      1982S . Town Crier___________________ 311/400 . $100

      1983A . Circus Clown_________________ 276/400 . $100
      1983N . La Esmeralda (5.2”)___________ 342/400 . $200
      1984A . Cinderella___________________ 252/400 . $100
      1984S . Swiss Herdsman______________ 283/400 . $100

      1985A . Della_______________________ 250/400 . $100
      1985S . Jim Bridger, Mountain Man______ 220/400 . $100
      1986A . Jack and the Beanstalk________ 236/400 . $100
      1986N . Omar Khayyam (4.7”)_________ 280/400 . $200

      1987A . Dorothy in Oz________________ 257/300 . $100
      1987S . Rip Van Winkle_______________ 253/300 . $100
      1988A . Edgar Allen Poe______________ 265/300 . $100
      1988S . Mumtaz Mahal________________ 226/300 . $100

      1989A . Aladdin’s Genie______________ 228/300 . $100
      1989N . Santa Claus (5.4”)____________ 300/300 . $400
      1990A . Ponce de Leon_______________ 244/250 . $100
      1990S . Cleopatra___________________ 232/250 . $100

      1991A . Empress Eugenie_____________ 250/250 . $100
      1992A . Blackbeard__________________ 250/250 . $100
      1993A . Hopi Kachina________________ 250/250 . $100

      1994A . Scarlet Letter_______________ 220/250 . $100
      1995A . Chimney Sweep______________ 226/250 . $100
      1996A . Leif Erickson________________ 220/250 . $100

      1979_ . Wheat Shaft Convention Bell (4.6”)______ . $ 25
      _____ . Ballantyne clapper

      Silver Paul Revere (only 5 made)

      Custom Bronze bell (only 1 made)

      =================================================================================================

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