I recently got a big bronze bell, I think it is bronze anyway. It is about 27″ in dia. at the bottom or skirt, and is about 24″ in height. I had to rig a contraption to get it into the truck! There is an inscription along the top, “FRANCISCE GABERI ORAPRONOVIS ANO 1727”. I was told it came from a light house in the Bahamas. If any one reading this knows anything about it, or can point me in direction for help I’d be much thankfull.
The inscription is a Spanish variant of the Latin phrase “orapronobis” which means “Pray for Us”. “Ano 1727” is “The year 1727”.
Francisce Gaberi is a name, perhaps of a patron saint. The inscription therefore reads”Francisce Gaberi Pray For Us”. The date is likely the date of casting of the bell. Although it could have been a Lighthouse bell, it probably was originally a church bell. Do you have a picture?
Harry Long, MD
Dear Dr. Long,
Thank you for your input. I am not very proficient with digital camaras (or Latin for that matter) and posting them to an e-mail, but I will try. I must admit also that your knowledge amazes me. I must have spent two or more hours over the course of a few months trying to find out about this bell with no luck at all. Once I do get an history of the bell what do I do with it? I don’t really want to get rid of it, but I’m broke. How hard is it to sell such a large and heavy bell? What is the market like? Anyway, thank you again for your help.
If you have a unique bell, you will be able to find a buyer who wants it and will pay for it. The market is tight and there are fewer collectors of big bells than in the past, but a unique bell wil be more marketable than an average bell. If yours was cast in 1727 and is of Spanish origin, it could be very collectable.
Harry Long, MD