Need help on bell
October 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm #12327ctscorpioParticipant
I have a Pennsylvania Railroad Bell from probably the early 1900s- no marking on it, but has a cradle with B163 on it. I am clueless about value. It is pretty large. Probably at least 13″ tall. any advice?
October 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm #17640Willie B. HerdParticipant
Accurate measurements and pics would be heplful. Shop and compare on Ebay.
October 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm #17641GarryParticipant
yes, some photos and measurements please!
These bells came in different sizes and mounting styles. Some were also later adapted for other uses and/or mounts. We have even had some identified as one type of bell (ie railroad) and really it was for something else (ie boat or fire or church). Sadly they are mus-identified many times.
So we really need to see a lot of photos, from different angles (including up the skirt shots!) to see the hardware mounts and clappers. Even the screws and hooks give clues. We could follow up with requests for more information, such as some simple tests or close ups of an area. Please remember though that we are unpaid volunteers and have day jobs and families! May take us a while. If you want really accurate evaluations you need to take it in to an expert who can look it over physically. Photos only go so far!
As far as values, sorry, we are not really allowed to comment here. The problem is that there are so many variables – how does it sound? (can’t hear it from a photo), is there damage? May not show in a photo, What is it’s metal? (can’t do tests from a photo), what is the screw thread size (not in most photos), where are you selling it? (different areas and countries have different values), and the list goes on.
So any value we would give, would have to be a rather large and conservative range, &/or couched in so many proviso’s so as to make it pretty useless. Plus All it takes is someone trying to sue us either individually or as a group because we gave a price and it turns out that the bell was worth more because of something we couldn’t see (i.e. a detail later proved it to be from the train that killed dumbo the elephant and now it sold for ten times the value – but we couldn’t see it in the photo or the requester withheld info accidentally or otherwise.) Yes, unfortunately there are those who would do that, ask for free evaluations based on photos only and then getting upset that something was missed. Go figure. Even if they lose we still have the time and legal costs on our side to deal with.
And that even doesn’t account for the fact that we are bell obviously bell collectors. If you are selling it, it’s a possible conflict of interest for us to price it! We might be the one to try and buy it after all! You likely will be given a fair price, we are a pretty honest bunch, but what if you later think you could have done better? Nope, it’s best for us to simply pass on valuing the item. Check out the auction sites and bell retailers for prices – that will give you the best idea.
October 9, 2013 at 1:24 am #17639Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
To clarify, the American Bell Association does not appraise the value of bells, nor does it recommend appraisers.
All postings on the “Bell Talk” Forum are OPINIONS from individual posters. Individual postings should not be considered an official opinion or endorsement by the American Bell Association. By no means are all posters members of the ABA. (We wish they were!)
There is no conflict of interest if someone chooses to inquire about the value of a bell and then announce it for sale on this website. But, please be aware that there are rules for posting a bell for sale.
If this information has changed, I’m sure the “Bell Talk” Forum administrator will let us know.
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