Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Vanduzen and tift cincinatti 1876 Bell need info please!

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    • #11884

      So today I was helping a friend out with some stuff shes trying to sell to make some extra cash, when her motherr came out into the garage and pointed out an old bell she was interested in selling if I could get info on it. I first saw it and she said she knows its over 100 years old that caught my attention as I’m big into antiques so i checked it out dusted it off and cleaned it real well. I’m not sure of much info on it. She said she got it many years back and that it was used on a church in old upper west Virginia. Thats all she really knows about it. After cleaning the bell off its really really nice. I noticed there are no chips none that I’ve seen anyway. The yoke around is 20 inches and the base is about 38 inches. The yoke is good as well as the bell inside. I took photos of when i first saw it and also more after I cleaned it off. at the top on the bell holder? it says pat oct 23 1866. On the bell it says vanduzen and tift Cincinnati 1876. I’m not sure weather its copper or bronze but i do know that where the bell hits the side on the inside it has been wore down over the years so the originally color shines through and wow… its beautiful. I took pictures though there rather blurry sorry for that. On any note ANY info on this bell would be highly appreciated. Also I’ve noticed alot of people mentioning the A base or A shaped sides…this bell does have the A sides on the base. thanks again and feel free to ask any questions and I can do my best to answer them if the bell doesn’t give enough info. 🙂

    • #16610
      Carolyn Whitlock

      It may be helpful to people if you told them the size of the bell (diameter at bottom and height) rather than the size of the frame. I presume that you have done a search on this forum for Vanduzen Tift and have read the four pages of discussions about Vanduzen & Tift bells. It is highly unlikely that anyone could give you the provenance of your bell (who owned it and when, where it was used, etc.) but you can find out a lot of information about the company that made the bell.

      If what you’re really hoping for is that someone will tell you the value of this bell, a good place to start is by reading the article at http://www.railroadiana.org/info/pgAboutValues.php . This article pertains specifically to railroadiana but the advice is universal. The section “Set Values” says it well:

      “Set Values

      The first question that you have to ask yourself is how much do you expect to get for all of this stuff? You have to think about this realistically. Like most investments, not everything we buy goes up in value. Another consideration is that not every piece in the collection is going to realize top dollar.
      Setting a price can be very difficult. If you set the price too high, it won’t sell. If you set it too low, well, you don’t want to go there either. Pricing is difficult even for the experienced collector. This is especially true of the extremely rare items, because comparable’s almost never hit the open market.

      Some people think about getting the services of an independent, professional appraiser. After all, this is a common thing to do in the general antique world. However, there are few professional appraisers who know railroadiana well, and there are few people within the hobby who are willing/able to perform this service. Leaving survivors/inheritors the task of finding someone to appraise a collection is a real challenge and exposes them to the possibility of dealing with unethical or self-interested individuals.

      So setting values yourself is a critical task and worth the time that it will take. Attend shows, talk to experienced collectors, and educate yourself on the values of the items in your collection. And write all this down!”

      Good luck!

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