Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells please help identify this bell

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    • #12019

      I picked up this bell today. it is only about three inches wide by about 4 tall. It appears to be bronze and pretty old, though for all i know it is nickel and 10 days old. Around the top it says “S. vicente viva Jesvs” and around the bottom it looks to maybe have some latin and the year 1726 (last digit may not be a 6). Did lots of checking on google and ebay, but I cant find anything even close to it. Anybody know anything about it or suggest a place where I can? thanks for the help.

    • #16921

      Wow, interesting problem.
      I would try the following:
      1. put a magnet against it. Iron bells will stick, brass/bronze will not.
      2. Try a rubbing (thin paper over the date and rub gently with pencil) to see if you can bring out the date better.
      3. Copy out all of the inscriptions so that we have more to go on. They will give clues.

      The S. appears to be St. in your photo, so “St. vicente viva Jesvs” translates to (I believe) “Saint Vincent loves Jesus”
      There are a number of possibilities arising from that so we really need the date.

      A couple examples:
      The capture of St.Vincent Islands in 1796 (if the 2 is a 9 in your date, can’t tell in the photo)

      John of the cross had “Vicente” in his name as well, and he was Canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726, so a commemorative bell for that would also be possible:

      As I recall there was a Mexican General by that name that lead Mexico in the Spanish American war that ended in about 1726 as well. (My history knowledge of Mexico is a bit shaky though.)

      So the date and rest of the writing would be a great thing to get.


    • #16922

      UPDATE: So after some digging today I found out the bell is a model from the San Juan Capristano Mission in California. The mission was founded in the 1700’s and was partly destroyed by an earthquake in 1812 or so. It has or had four bells with this bell being modeled after the largest of the four. It apparently is a pretty well known mission and there is plenty to read about it on the internet, but I still cannot find where this particular bell came from or the time period from which it was made. Some of what I read suggest the mission may have been making replica’s of the bells since 1906 and selling them to continually rehab this mission, but the ones they have for sale today and the only ones I can find online don’t look like mine. So part of the mystery is solved, but I could still use some help determining the rest. Thanks for helping.

    • #16920

      Max Kurillo might have information on this bell.
      Harry Long, MD

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