July 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm #12595suethParticipant
The name on this bell is TIATNIC not TITANIC. The date is 1912. It’s been hiding in the basement for over 50 years so I don’t think it’s a replica though I could be wrong. No other marks. Any ideas?
July 17, 2015 at 9:58 pm #18028GarryParticipant
Actually I DO think it’s a replica – actually a memorial souvenir type – “Titanic” bell. I can find no reference to a ship called “TIATNIC” anywhere. I suspect you will find it was a rushed production to take advantage of the upwelling of feeling that occurred after the Titanic sunk. (Rather like what happens on the computer today when something happens there is a rush by those trying to cash in on the disaster to sell you memorial items or solicit money for relief, etc.) Likely it was commissioned to a foundry (like in India) where they simply did not handle the English language well (as it is not their mother tongue), hence the mis-spelling (note the “A” & “T” are only reversed after all!). The fact that it’s old, is also spoken to by the detail on the skirt (double ring) that also speaks to the likelihood it’s an early production bell. Later they would have had the spelling corrected (probably after the person ordering it noticed the error, but sold these bells anyway to recover costs.)
IF you do a search for Titanic Bells, you will see quite a number of them for sale on e-bay and the like. They all look similar to yours but with a different style skirt rim. I think they are being produced even today. So I believe you will find that it is a memorial type production to commemorate the ship’s sinking.
It looks like a nice bell, and the misspelling likely makes it a bit more valuable than the others as a probable first run bell. It certainly will be a good conversation piece! I hope you will enjoy it. How does it sound? Crisp and clear ring?
July 17, 2015 at 10:47 pm #18029suethParticipant
Thank you for your input. It’s very helpful. Yes the bell has a good crisp clear ring. Any thoughts or tips on how I can find out it’s value?
July 18, 2015 at 3:20 am #18030GarryParticipant
Value is always hard to come by and, from the way you asked the question, you do realize that we can’t price things here (for many obvious reasons!).
Basically, to get the best sale, it will take a lot (and I mean a lot!) of work – so it is, in part, dependent upon how much effort you want to put into it!
The first and biggest step you have already started – find it’s provenance. If it’s been in the family for a long time, try and talk with relatives – who bought it? Where? When? Do you have any early photos with period identifiable backgrounds? (someone in period clothing reading a newspaper beside the bell with the date on the paper visible is a the type of thing you are looking for!) Record as much as possible and KEEP IT WITH THE BELL. Collectors pay for this!
You can possibly age the bell through some metallurgy tests, they can sometimes give location of manufacture and / or age. Again this is further proof.
Look for additional hidden markings and construction, including those that might debunk the age – that is important to know too! For example the threads of the bolt holding it to the stand how are they attached? how course a thread? What style of clapper does it have? Does it show wear anywhere? Does it hold a rare earth magnet showing iron content is high (thus lower quality)? This all gives hints.
Research the markings. It will take time, and you may have to write to various groups. For example, there are titanic collector groups that might help you.
Scan the on line sales sites ebid, ebay, etc. for similar ones.
You will find that items have better value in areas that it has local meaning in. Newfoundland (where it sank) or Belfast (where it was constructed) as typical examples. In the middle of North America well away from oceans it will probably do less well from lower competition of interested parties.
If you can get a lot of provenance and find it’s a rare piece you might approach a major auction house to see if they will handle it, to market it to select groups. That kind of thing.
Selling to a reseller, Dealer or picker, usually nets you about 30-40% of the value. That’s fair because you get an assured sale while the guy buying it has his money tied up and will maybe get a profit if his guess is right. Plus he has to pay his bills too, before the sale.
We also do have a for sale board here, for example, that you can offer your bell on, if you want to reach our bell collectors to try that route.
Or you can just do an online sales site and hope for the best!
Hope this helps!
July 21, 2015 at 1:31 am #18031Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
Garry has given you a lot of good suggestions and I encourage you to follow up on some of them.
There is one thing I would like to point out, however. Our “Bells for Sale” forum is NOT for the purpose of determining the value of bells. It is for people who have bells they want to sell and have determined an asking price. We do not accept “Make an Offer” statements in those ads. Besides, you have said nothing about wanting selling your bell so an inquiry about value is not appropriate on that forum.
The American Bell Association International, Inc. is an all-volunteer hobby organization. We do not buy, sell, or appraise bells nor do we maintain a list of appraisers. This is a public forum. Any information posted here is the opinion of the poster based on his or her personal experiences and/or research. Responses on the ‘Bell Talk’ Forum do not represent official information endorsed by the American Bell Association International, Inc.
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