Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Iron 14 inch swinging train bell

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    • #25217

      I am considering buying a 14 inch train bell with original yoke crank and clapper for 175.00 dollars. Are these iron swinging types rare and would it be a fair price to pay? It does not have the cradle. I would appreciate any help from someone.

    • #25222

      Welcome Nightflier!

      I would suggest that you do a google search on line for combinations like “14 inch iron train bell” and a similar one on sites like kajiji, ebay. Pay particular attention to the bell construction and where it is being sold. You will find a number of examples with prices to compare to. Remember to compare with those having similar parts as yours!

      We can’t really give valuations here on this site – please bear with me, I’ll try and explain! It’s not that we are being coy or wanting to be unhelpful, it’s just a combination of the following points makes it impossibly difficult. We could only give you very very rough guesstimates and you would see better doing the searches outlined above!

      So why not? …

      – values of items vary depending on a lot of factors: How complete is it? How worn is it? Any repairs? How does it sound compared to other bells of a similar nature? What markings does it have? Are there any replaced parts? Has it any damage due to use? rust? any mixed metals in it?… and so on. Without a hands on examination it would be impossible / irresponsible to put a value on it. We would of necessity either be too conservative (low) or optimistic (high), and both would be bad for you.

      – values of items vary on location. If you are living in an area where trains were built and dismantled, with a lot of scrap yards around, then this item would likely be much less rare (therefore less pricey) than if you were in a part of the country where few train collector pieces exist. In the first case you would likely get it at the price of the metal content, the second would probably be 2 or 3 times that amount. Location is important and we don’t know yours or what is in your area.

      – Many parts have serial numbers and other marks that could add to the value. You would need to chase down the rail company and see if they can trace it for you to the engine it came from. That could add to the value. Again inspection is the key.

      – How many people in the area are interested in the item? That also drives up prices.

      – What is the area economy like where it’s being sold? Where I live, we are in a major economic downturn, prices here are about half or less what they were even a year ago!

      – Now we turn to the ‘cost’ to us. If we were to put a value on it, especially sight unseen (not even photos), and later examination turned out a much different price then where would we stand? At best our reputation would be questioned and you could be very upset. At worst we risk a possible lawsuit (likely not winnable – you do get what you pay for! – but still costly to all involved) as sadly, many people want to pass blame to others and not be responsible themselves for their decisions.

      So really, once you do the searches, you simply have to ask yourself:
      Is it affordable?
      What does my research show? (ie Are others (similar) available in the area?)
      What price am I willing to pay?

      The way I work this is; if you still want it, and the price is too high for you, then offer what you can afford. Here the idea is that you don’t / can’t pay the asking price and therefore say nothing, you are guaranteed not to get it. If you offer what you can / think it’s worth, then you at least have a chance to get the bell. If they say ‘no’ then you have lost nothing, you wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. But who knows? maybe you will luck out! I have found a number of times where the seller knows they are high or have no real idea if they are asking high or not, and will be willing to settle for a reasonable counter offer.

      Good luck!
      Let us know if you get it and post some photos! We like looking at bells!


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