Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Small Bells Set of Gorham bells…..Can anyone tell me about them?

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    • #11053
      Sarah
      Participant

      I inherited a set of Gorham silver-plated bronze bells from my grandmother. Each has a certificate of authenticity and there is a book to go along with the set. They are from the set “The Women who changed the course of History” that was produced by the Gorham Corporation and the Hamilton Collection. The women depicted in the bells are: Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, Isabella I, Marie De Medicis, Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I. Can anyone tell me anything about them or would anyone be willing to take a stab at what they would possibly be worth?? I am unsure of what to do with them!

      Sorry about the horrid picture. My camera was giving me fits!

    • #14419
      halanb
      Participant

      The bells were made (always by Gorham) and sold in the late 1970s, one at a time in series to a collector’s club, as a cost of $75 each. The original set was marked with a Hamilton logo and were not silver-plated. Only about 60 sets of the bronze version are known to have been made. Perhaps the early marketing was not successful but, in any case, they were thereafter issued with a Gorham logo and were silver-plated. It was intended to be a limited (?) edition of 5000 sets. I have seen them numbered in the 45xx range, so the 5000 figure may be correct.

      They are very good quality bells, but they are not at all scarce so the prices are modest. The buyers 30 years ago were probably middle-aged women, and many sets have come on the market in recent years. The number of active bell collectors is relatively small and many of this group already have a set. I have seen them sell on eBay for as low as $55 for a complete set, though the average may be more in the $150-200 range. One can never tell, and there are always “new fish”. If two active bidders become interested then the price could go higher. The set might sell for a higher price in an antique mall, where most of the browsers would probably not know the history.

      Unless you are completely overwhelmed with “stuff”, you might wish to keep them as a remembrance of your grandmother.

    • #14420
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      A few years ago, I saw a complete set of these bells for sale in an antique shop in Las Vegas with a price on them of $1,200, which averages $200.00 each. A year later, I went back and they were still there with the price marked down to $700, which averages $116.67 each. In August 2008, I bought a set of them on ebay for $191.38, which averages $31.95 each. They were too good a buy to pass up! It was one of those purchases that compensates for the bells I’ve bought and paid too much for!

      Your grandmother did you a real favor by keeping the paperwork with the bells. That booklet about “Six Women Who Changed the Course of History” gives all the information about the bells and the women honored in the series. Alan has filled you in on the rest. I agree with him. This set of bells should be saved as a part of your family memorabilia. Not everyone can say they have something that belonged to their grandmother. But then, I’m a big sap for family history. I just love to hold something in my hand and say to myself, “This was touched by my great-grandmother!”

      I suspect many people have some of the bells in this series but not so many have a complete set. My recommendation would be to polish them up, then go to a store like Bed, Bath, and Beyond and buy some bags made of silver cloth. Wrap the bells in the silver cloth and pack them away in a dry place. They will keep their shine for a long time and will look lovely when the right time comes for you to take them out, hold them in your hand, and say to yourself, “Grandma wanted me to have these.”

      Cherish them,
      Carolyn

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