Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Help ID this (Church?) bell, please.

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    • #29274
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Hello,

      I am new to the site, although had been interested in bells for quite some time. I have a few bells in my collection, mostly pre-revolution Russian.

      Yesterday I came across this fairly large bell. It measures 14.5 inches in diameter and 14.5 inches tall. It’s made of bronze, I think, – magnet does not stick, clapper and clapper loop is iron, very rusted. The original clapper ring was lost and now it hangs on a wire. The bell is very heavy and quite old, judging by the deep groves from beating the clapper, both in it’s original location and the new one. It is decorated with christian motives – cross patterns, as well as what looks like feathers. The letters that I could make out are as follows: “SANTE MYCAEL ORA**ONORY(or U?)S”, where * is illegible.

      Any help will be highly appreciated.

      Thanks.

    • #29277
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Pics

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by vovkaonline.
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    • #29278
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Please let me know if more pictures is needed…

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by vovkaonline.
    • #29286

      The Latin words should be “ora pro nobis”, so the probable translation is “St.Michael, pray for us”. Since the letters are individually formed, it is possible that there is a typo!

      The style of the cross made of diamonds strongly suggests that the origin of this bell was in a Spanish culture – possibly Mexico, but also possibly Spain. My guess is 17th to 19th century. It’s clearly anonymous; without knowledge of its actual history it seems unlikely that any more could be determined.

    • #29289
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Thank you very much, Carl.

      Are these bells rare? Any guesses of the value, a ballpark? I know they are here – I’ve been collecting various antiques for decades and this is the first time I’ve seen this type of bell in Minnesota. And at a flea market, out of all places…

      As far as improving the looks for display – any pointers? I was planning on gently clean it, getting rid of the dirt, but preserving patina. Maybe WD40 with 0000 steel wool, or is it too aggressive? shall I de-rust and re-hang the clapper, or leave it as is, since it has been this way for many years, and the groove corresponds exactly to the way it hangs right now?

      Also, any good references I can dig in about this type of bells? Books?

      Thanks again, and sorry if some of the questions sound silly to a seasoned bells collector – I am getting there…

      Vlad

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by vovkaonline.
    • #29291
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Anyone, please?

      Or am I asking in a wrong forum/topic?

      Thanks in advance.

      Vlad

    • #29293
      nightflier51
      Participant

      If this is an original, it is a meseum piece and very valuable. Its probably a mission bell…

    • #29295
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Thank you.

      As I mentioned before, the inside has very deep groves from the clapper, which suggests decades of use. The green patina is very thick – I carefully cleaned the dirt off with 0000 steel wool and some oil and patina did not even start to wear off. SO maybe it is original? Any place someone can suggest for me to contact for a definitive determination?

      Thanks again.

      Vlad

    • #29316
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Here are some more pictures after some cleaning and clapper removal.

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by vovkaonline.
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    • #29318

      The collection of subscribers to this forum is about as authoritative as you can find on this continent. Your bell in undoubtedly an original, and normally would be worth putting in a museum. However, with documentation of its provenance, most museums would not be interested in it.

    • #29320
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Vovkaonline, That’s quite a bell!

      Carl has given you some good advice. I would like to add that one of the benefits of being a member of the American Bell Association is that if you join one of our chapters and/or attend our annual conventions, you may have access to other bell enthusiasts who can be very helpful in sharing their bell knowledge and expertise with you.

      In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of this website it states that “The American Bell Association International, Inc. does not appraise bell(s) nor does it maintain a list of appraisers. However, some ABA members are glad to offer an opinion based on their research, experience in buying, and watching the prices of bells on eBay, in antique shops, at flea markets, and at auctions. Please bear in mind that if you were to ask for an opinion, it would be just that. The individual would not be an official representative of the American Bell Association.”

      Carolyn

    • #29325
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      Thank you all very much, big help. I’ll consider membership for sure.

      I do have several other interesting bells – I’ll post some pictures later.

      Thanks again.

      Vlad

    • #29326
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Yes, Vlad, please post pictures of some of your other bells! We all learn from others. Do you collect a specific kind of bell (such as church bells) or do you like all kinds of bells?

      Carolyn

    • #29331
      vovkaonline
      Participant

      I am interested in all bells, larger ones in particular. Working on the pictures, I have a few. Meanwhile, please check out a large 22″ Buckeye Bell foundry bell with yoke that I put in a separate post.

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