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July 10, 2007 at 5:03 am #10611AnonymousInactive
I have a bronze 43″ bell, 32″ tall. It was manufactured by the Stuckstede Company, St. Louis in 1893. I need to sell this bell and wonder what it might be worth. Attached please find a few pictures. Thank you.
I am not an appraiser of large bells, only smaller ones, but I do have a bit of info on the Company that made that bell. It is taken from L. Springer’s “That Vanishing Sound”. “Eight or ten names of brass and bell founders drop in and out of Saint Louis directories over the fifty-year span between 1850 and 1900. The most enduring of these was the Stuckstede Bell Foundry, probably the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi River to celebrate a century and more of operation (1855-1962). Stuckstede went to great lengths to extol the merits of the many chimes it manufactured. In its giant catalog of 1896, not content with using mere words, the company worked out descriptions in a series of musical staffs showing the scale note to which each bell in a particular chime had been tuned, and its corresponding weight. At first glance, the result resembles a song book more than a catalog.” In addition if you go on the web and bring up “Stuckstede Foundry”, you can bring up addition interesting information. A large bell is only worth what somewhat who wants it badly enough is willing to pay. There’s not a large market for these. I hope this has been informative.
The Henry Stuckstede Foundry operated from 1855 to 1962. Saint Louis. The bell will sound the approximate musical note F and weighs 1,350 pounds without hardware, approximately 1,900 lbs with hardware.
Stuckstede was unique in engineering: The top of the bell was cast with a hole 5″ to 8″ diameter, depending on bell size. This opening was compression gripped by a pair of metal plates, one inside and one on top the bell. This was the only foundry to use this engineering technique. The Yoke is cast of iron, and according to industry standards, of lighter weight that standard. The bell is now 114 years old. Galvanic corosion has occurred between the cast iron hardware and bronze, deteriorating the hardware. Iron crystalizes at 80 years, making it very brittle. New bells from Holland retail for $12. per pound. This bell new would cost: $16,200. Pre-owned bells sell for 40-60% less than current retail, depending on the original foundry and musical quality. Stuckstede bells are difficult to re-work by foundrys to assure safe operation (public liability concerns), and are musically off and cannot be matched with other bells. This bell would retail for $9,720. Most companies capable of reworking this bell would probably offer $5,000. for this bell out of the tower.
Copper has gone up 40% since February. A pound of bell bronze (78% copper and 22% tin) is now $4.18 a pound. That increase means a 43″ diameter bell by Stuckstede which weighs 1,395 lbs is worth $5,831 for scrap, plus the value of the iron in the clapper, yoke and stands. Thus, there is little risk [for someone] to pay $6,000 for the bell. They could scrap it and break even. The value of these old bells has moved up with the price of copper.
This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. The responses are are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.
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