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    • #11323

      I believe these to be Sarna bells, but I have not seen this type from him before.
      As such, I present them here for more knowledgeable members of his bell line to confirm or reject my supposition.

      If they are indeed bells he brought in, I am wondering how many other variations on the dual function bell theme he brought in? I have seen a plethora of ‘just bells’ but this is the first dual purpose one I have come across. Is it common and just something I haven’t seen before?

      I am jumping the gun here a bit, in that they are just purchased and have not arrived yet, so I don’t have the vital stats for you. But I suspect the photo pretty much tells it all.
      The seller reports that they are marked “India 1504 SJ” which I believe to be consistent with his marking scheme.

      Your opinions?


    • #15465

      These are India Brass Bells. They were probably produced in the 1960s. They look like Sarna Bells, but I have not seensalt & pepper shakers before. I have seen candle holders. It would be interesting to look through a Sarna Catalog from the 1960s to see if they are listed.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #15461

      Hi Harry!

      Yes, I agree, and I am curious to see the markings. The seller said it read: “India 1504 SJ” but was having trouble reading it. I am thinking that it was SS not SJ which is the way Sarna marked some of his stuff.

      I suspect that the 1504 is the model number from the catalog you mentioned, if that is true.

      Should arrive any day now!


    • #15462

      Well, The bells have arrived!

      Rather unusual having salt and pepper shakers for handles!
      But the markings appear to be pretty close to the seller’s description.
      I make them to be: INDIA / 504 . S.J. Stamped out in little free hand dots on the bell hip.

      Since all the records I have of Sarna show his mark as S.S. I guess they aren’t his.

      I’ll keep my eyes open for the initials SJ now though!


    • #15463

      Humm, I wonder…

      I came across this snippit:

      Sarna bells were sold beginning in the early 1920s by Sajjan Sarna who came to the U.S. to avoid an arranged marriage in Delhi, India. After his death, the businesswas carried on my his nephew, Jaswant Sarna. Jaswant died in May 2002.

      Could he be “SJ” ?

      It’s on a bell that has a bottle cap opener for a handle… Interesting!


    • #15464
      Carolyn Whitlock


      “Back in the day”, Mr. Sarna was a very active member of the ABA. I remember that he gave each attendee at convention one year a souvenir key chain with a little elephant bell on the end which, of course, was a Sarna bell. I have a set of the Sarna bell candlesticks that Harry mentioned and I’m sure plenty of other collectors have these, too.

      At the end of her The Bell Tower supplement entitled “Souvenir Bells of the ABA Conventions, 1945-1980, Becky Mayer tells us that Mr. Sarna provided eight different convention bells over the years. His first convention souvenir bell was given in 1950. He also did the convention bells or gave bell-themed convention souvenirs in 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1971.

      Ms. Mayer also notes that at the 1958 convention, S. S. Sarna gave a gift of a brass telephone dialer with a bell attached. The 1961 bell was also a gift of S. S. Sarna and it was in the design of a bottle opener. In 1962, the bell was a five inch napkin and placecard holder, compliments of S. S. Sarna. 1963 brought yet another Sarna convention bell that was a brass bell with a whistle in the handle. In 1971, a Sarna bell with a bottle opener as a handle was given. So, you can see that Sarna made more than animal bells and strings of bells.

      In her bibliography and credits, Ms. Mayer wrote:

      We pay tribute to S. S. Sarna for his generosity in providing eight years of bells from India – to mark the meetings of the early years. The first bell designed especially was inscribed with the year, date, and site. This came out in 1950 for the sixth convention. It is a “beggar’s bell” with red and black stars inlaid and three clappers! This was the best Sarna gift.

    • #15460


      You are an excellent source of valuable information yet again! I had come across the phone dialer (I had wondered why he produced them) and the bottle opener, and even the key chain ones. I do want to see if I can find the ‘beggars bell” now that I know about it.

      I also found reference to elephant shaped bells. Interestingly I just stumbled across a dog’s head bell with his mark inside it. Didn’t get it though. 🙁 Too costly.

      I am asking, in another posting here, about one that has his hang tag but look unlike any product of his that I have ever seen.

      And while I have seen the candlesticks and a couple other similar ones, I have never seen even references to ones like these shakers. Also, all the marks appear to be ‘Sarna’ or a variant, or SS. This is the first SJ one I have come across. Hence my question as to if it might have been produced by his Nephew who has the initials J and S. (I am thinking he put the surname first?).

      Thanks again for your excellent information!


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