Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Hand painted Cast Iron Cowbell?

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    • #12318

      Hi all,
      I recently acquired a few bells in an auction lot and I’m looking for some expert advice on this little old cast iron hand painted bell.
      I’m completely new to bells and I was just hoping someone could tell me where and when this may have been made and if there’s anything particularly interesting about it.

      It’s iron (it’s magnetic), definitely hand painted but I cannot find any markings but the detail in the painting is very nice although slightly mucky due to age.
      Dimensions: 6cm tall by 5.5cm wide by 3.5cm deep.

      Pictures via dropbox below:



      Any info would be appreciated, I’ve said this before…I don’t expect it to have any monetry value but I’d love to be corrected 🙂 I think I’ll be keeping this little guy anyway. The lot I purchased was filled with stuff from between 1920s and 1960s if that helps (mainly the latter).

      Thanks in advance
      Kind regards,

    • #17626

      These are often classed as a “Swiss” cowbell. They are not cast, but constructed from a flat piece of galvanized sheet metal. Smaller ones are usually soldered, larger ones are usually riveted. Smaller ones often have a horseshoe nail for a clapper, as this one does. Some are left as plain metal, some are painted gold or black, and may have a painted portion, often flowers or an Alpine scene. Some have attached straps, and may have a locale name if intended as a souvenir of that area.

      Yours appears to be an older model, and your 1920s to 1960s era could apply. It appears that it could have been painted black at one time. You should leave the painted portion alone, but you might try to clean some of the rusted areas. You could repaint, or at least apply a coat of wax. I would estimate value in the $10 range, somewhat higher if in more of an original condition.

      Pictures below show two other examples, 2.5″ and 6″.


    • #17627
      Carolyn Whitlock

      Dear BFC,

      If you go to the search box at the top right corner of the page and enter the words “painted bell” you will see that there are quite a lot of postings on the ‘Bell Talk’ Forum that may be of interest to you. It is not unusual for a person like you to find a particular kind of bell and become interested enough as to find other similar ones and, BINGO!, a new bell collector has been born!

      The ABA always hopes that this website will lead people to our orgranization. For some, the cost of membership seems steep ($35.00 USD) but once people see the quality of our bi-monthly magazine and learn the benefits of membership, they realize that the opportunities and education afforded to them through membership are priceless! https://www.americanbell.org/join.htm

      Happy searching!

    • #17628

      I’m sorry for appearing rude and not replying to my own thread but I’ve been in hospital. Nothing serious, on the mend and back to researching my finds now though 🙂

      Halanb thank you once again! The value of coming to places like this and asking the people with real expertise really can’t be stated enough. I do really like this little bell and I may be following your advice about cleaning it, although I’m a little afraid of repainting it.
      You should know also I did clean up that figural bell as you advised and I don’t think I did a bad job – her armpits look much less flaky now.

      I really appreciate all the info.

      Thanks Carolyn for taking an interest, I will certainly consider your suggestion.

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