Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Value of VanDusen & Tift Bell

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    • #11022
      Anonymous
      Inactive


      Travis in Illinois writes to say that he and his wife have bought an old Methodist Church which they are converting to a home. They have decided to sell the VanDusen & Tift bell that came with the building.
      Their dilemma is that they don’t know what a fair asking price for the bell would be. They’re hoping some ABA member can give them an opinion as to the bell’s value. He says:

      I tried myself to do some research on the company that made it. My online searches turned up some, but not exactly what I was looking for. Best I can give you is BUCKEYE BELL FOUNDRY AND VANDUZEN & TIFT made cannons up until the Civil War. Once the war was over they switched over to bells. I was not able to determine how long they made bells or if there was any way of knowing how many they made. I have searched all over the outside of the bell for any special markings or numbers that would hopefully mean something, but did not find anything. The bell being so heavy I have not made this attempt underneath or inside, so there is the chance for a marking there. I did send online photos to a bell company in MN or WI can’t remember which now. He said based on the photos provided and if it was in as good of condition as it appears to be and I say it is, and that it does actually ring……which it does, then it would be worth at least $4000.00. This estimate was done in 2005, so I have no idea what it would be today, but I’m guessing not much change.

      If you can help, please post a response.
      Admin

      This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.
      -01058-

    • #14287
      lucky13
      Member

      Travis: The Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati cast bells from 1837 until about 1950. The partnership of Vanduzen & Tift operated it from 1866 until 1894. A hundred dollars an inch (diameter of mouth, not circumference) is a guideline but this varies depending on condition (damage, repairs, missing parts, etc). Larger bells such as yours have a more limited market. It appears to be a very nice one. You should consider keeping it and mounting for display.

    • #14288
      lowerbells
      Member

      I would be interested in buying any vanduzen bell ,will pick up .
      thanks todd lower
      419-350-7262

    • #14289
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I want to thank each and everyone of you at American Bell.org for all the help and information. As I said in my Ebay listing I’m not a collector so totally at a loss for what I was doing or what I had. We have prayed over this bell for about 3 years now that when we need to sell it, it would and we would get a fair price. Turns out the prayers have worked our reserve on Ebay has been met which turns out to be more then the suggested $100 per inch, so I will take that as answered prayer. Again you were all so very helpful and the responses that I have spoke to over the phone have been so kind as well. You are a great group of people.

      Travis

    • #14290
      lucky13
      Member

      Travis: I can’t find your eBay listing. What is the item number?

    • #14291
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Lucky13,

      One of the rules of using the “Bell Talk” Forum is that we don’t allow people to advertise their online auctions. You can contact people by clicking on the PM icon and send them a private message. In this particular case, this wouldn’t have worked because I am the one who posted his inquiry so the PM would have been sent to me and I would have forwarded it to him.

      For anyone who wants to ask a question of a poster but doesn’t want to post it on the forum, clicking on the PM icon is the way to go.

      Carolyn
      Admin

    • #14292
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Neil Goeppinger added this information about Travis’ bell:

      First, your bell is made of bronze, not brass (approx 78 to 80% copper and the rest tin). Brass is copper and zink and makes a sharp shrill sound so it is used for alarm bells like locomotive or fire engine bells.

      The circumfrence of your bell appears to be about 88 inches, which make the diameter around 28″. At that diameter, the bell will not weigh 900 lbs. It will weigh less.

      As to a value, I would say between $120 and $140 per inch of diameter if the bell is complete with all the parts and not chipped around the rim of the mouth. From the photos, the lettering does not appear to be as nicely formed as is usual on a Vanduzen bell.

      Vanduzen was the successor to the G. W. Coffin Co bell foundry of Cincinnati, Ohio. G. W. Coffin made the most ornate bells in the U.S., but when Vanduzen took over the foundry, he dropped the ornamentation. He also changed the shape of the bells so they produced a better tone than the previous G. W. Coffin bells.

      Vanduzen was one of the large bell foundries in the U.S. and made thousands of bells. — Neil

      This inquiry was originally sent to the ABA’s Internet Coordinator. Responses are opinions of individuals based on their personal research and knowledge.

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