please help me identify this old bell
Tagged: Stork Bell
April 26, 2018 at 8:18 pm #26694
I have come across an old bell. It seems to be brass or bronze with traces of gold gilt. it seems quite old and naturally has some dings and wear. There are some sort of birds(swans?), whales swimming along the bottom. on the top looks like two dolphins or fishes. Im guessing it may be french but im looking to the forum for help in identifying this bell.
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April 26, 2018 at 8:24 pm #26696
May 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm #26704Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
Your beautiful, old bell is known as the stork bell. It is a type of ecclesiastical bell and is described in
- The Collector’s Book of Bells
by L. Elsinore Springer as follows: “The stork bell has slender profiles of the storks whose outspread wings form the skirt of the bell. Other symbolicism is noticable in the scallop shell motif (emblematic of Jesus’ baptism) and in the fish forming the handle (in Christian art, emblematic of the Christ.”).
Originally, the bell sat on an underplate.
My stork bell is about 4″ tall and 3 3/8″ in diameter at the bottom of the skirt. The bell is quite heavy which leads me to believe it is made of bronze but I don’t know that for a fact. Hopefully, someone who is more knowledgeable about metals can tell us.
Enjoy your fabulous, old stork bell!
May 17, 2018 at 7:20 pm #26722
Thank you so much for your information on my bell. I ordered the book and they described that Bell as being silver in color. Mine is gold. If I’m allowed to ask I was curious what your opinion on the value might be of this Bell because I’m looking to sell it. Thanks Jordan
May 17, 2018 at 8:13 pm #26723Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
If you go to https://americanbell.org/resources/frequently-asked-questions/, you will find a section titled “What is the value of my bell?”. It tells you the following:
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.
It is not unusual for fine bells to have been made in silver (or silverplate) as well as in bronze or brass. For instance, I have two beautiful bells depicting Old Mother Hubbard that have nodding heads on them. One is silver and one is bronze. Both are beautiful bells!
Now, back to your question about value of your bell. Another excellent book is
- Collectible Bells, Treasures of Sight and Sound
, a Schiffer Book for Collectors, researched and written by Donna S. Baker and copyrighted in 1998 by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. This book was published 20 years ago so I can’t tell you what today’s value may be. The book says the bell pictured is a twentieth century version of an early Sanctus bell that is 4.25″ high and the underplate is 5″ in diameter. They list its value in 1998 as being $150-$175 at that time. That does not necessarily indicate that the bell without the underplate is worth that much today.
I believe my bell is one of the 20th century versions due to its crispness of detail and shiny patina. Yours looks older to me. Please keep in mind that I am not a bell appraiser but I have been a member of the American Bell Association for over 50 years and I’ve seen a lot of bells during that time! My opinion is that yours is a very nice bell, is in good condition, and not too often seen for sale.
There are professional bell appraisers and antique dealers who give appraisals. You may want to do an online search for “Appraisers of Bells” and see if you can get some leads.
Wishing you luck in finding a reasonable value for your swan bell!
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