Ghein hand bell seeks new home
July 26, 2015 at 5:02 am #12600sitges_prenticeParticipant
Ghein hand bell, handle repaired/replaced with ship’s nail, “Petrvs Gheinvs Me Fecit – 1583”. Found by my father in 1940 in a cave in Haiti. Spanish owned Belgium at the time, figured it made its way on a Spanish exploration ship. Whether son or grandson of Willem Ghein unknown, Ghein family foundry founder(?!), from early 1500s to 1945. After Katrina evacuation, my father asked me to break into his house before looters did and take his bell home with me. I am the end of the line in my family and want to find a new appreciative home for it. Good written provenance on it; good story.
Anybody know value?… where I could sell it?
August 1, 2015 at 2:24 am #18046GarryParticipant
First, a ‘heads up’ statement: I believe you must be very careful in selling an object as old as you are suggesting. Assuming that the dating is accurate, there are a number of export documents you might need to have as it possibly could otherwise be considered a purloined heritage item from the country it was removed from. If you have that documentation, well and good, otherwise you might want to ask someone familiar with these issues about the guidelines. (Museums would know, for example.) Even selling items of that age within the country of origin usually requires documentation from the ‘heritage’ department in the Government (each country has it’s own rules). Just because great great grandpa picked it up, it may or may not be legal to have. (sigh, does create issues for collectors and such!)
You might want to seriously consider simply donating it to a museum that will display it, along with the documentation of course, and have your family name as the patron. That would be one way around it and if you pick the appropriate museum, a lot of people would appreciate it that way! You could do it as a 99 year loan or something, just to maintain it.
Otherwise you are down to three choices for sale. But we can’t price bells on line in this forum, there are too many variables to be able to do more than a guesstimate anyway, the evaluator should see the bell in person. There are a lot of subtle cues that we look for that simply can’t be found any other way.
(Besides, one of us might be wanting to buy the bell our self so you are asking us to negotiate against ourselves! 😕 )
These sale choices are:
1) sell at an auction (but consider approaching a major auction house for an antiquity to get the best price) such as the on line ones.
2) offer it on specialty boards like this one (But please use the appropriate “Bells for Sale” board/forum!)
3) Consign/sell it with an antiques dealer (you will have to do a substantial split of the proceeds here, because you are asking the dealer to take the price risks and costs of the sale, but you get a quick sale and usually the item will end up in the hands of someone who appreciates it. )
You will need to have as much documentation about the bell as well, to get the best price on it. If you can find a museum that carries similar items you might ask if they, or someone they can recommend, could help you. Take appropriate steps if you ship it out though.
August 1, 2015 at 2:30 am #18047sitges_prenticeParticipant
Thanks, Garry. Food for thought there.
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