Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Wondering about value of a bell…..

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    • #12235
      Stressman
      Member

      Hello, we have a bell on our property and we are wondering if anyone can help with giving it a value or add any history about it. Pictures are below. I can give you a bit of description. The bell is 26-1/2″ tall and the diameter is 35″ wide at it’s widest point. On one side of the bell, it is stamped with Buckeye Bell Foundry 1895 and the other side reads The E.W. Vanduzen Co Cincinnati. We purchased our property in 2003 and we have not done anything to the bell, except to ring it every once in awhile. It hangs from a big support that is concreted into the ground. Someone stopped by our house once, saying he lived here in the 1950’s and the bell’s pull rope which is attached to the bottom of the clapper came into the house and it was rang to let people know it was time for dinner. It is a very loud bell. I have no idea how long the bell has been hanging there prior to the 50’s. The building it is next to was built in 1938. We think the bell is bronze. I tried to put a magnet on it and it wouldn’t stick, but it did stick to the clapper, even though the clapper is very rusty. Please see pics. I look forward to hearing from anyone. Thank you very much. Julie

    • #17419
      jackbell
      Participant

      Your bell is bronze and is missing it’s original mounting hardware (yoke, A frames, rope wheel, and tolling hammer). Go to the search (above right) and enter buckeye bell foundry. There are many posts covering about everything there is to know about this foundry. Buckeye bells are still fairly common. Over 60,000 had been cast by 1922 (85th anniversary year) and the foundry operated until 1951.

    • #17420
      Stressman
      Member

      Hi JackBell,
      Thank you for your response. I didn’t know that bells are typically sold as a unit with the yoke, A frames, etc. Thanks for confirming that it’s bronze. I have keyed used the search for Buckeye and VanDuzen and read several postings as well as looked at other bell sites (in particular the few that are selling bells). We are thinking of selling this bell. It doesn’t get much notice around here beyond being a talking piece every once in awhile. Do people buy the bells without the accessory pieces or is it more in demand with all of that? Thank you again for your time. Julie

    • #17421
      Stressman
      Member

      Can you tell me if this bell is considered a “church” bell? I’m thinking that because of the size it is, but is tonal quality a requirement too?

    • #17422
      jackbell
      Participant

      It might have been used in a house of worship, school, courthouse, or even a firehouse or on a riverboat. The determining factors would have been the size of the structure and the amount of money available for purchase of a bell. Steel bells, though they could not compare with bronze in sound, were often favored because of their lower cost. Since your bell is not cracked or damaged there will be a buyer. List it on eBay for the greatest exposure and start at one dollar to minimize the listing fee, or if you come up with a figure you are willing to accept you can start the bidding there. In a week you will know what your bell is or isn’t worth in 2013. Give an accurate description with measurements and photos. Indicate if it is for pickup only or if you are willing to deliver it the entire distance or part-way. This is the same advice I give to all inquiries regarding value. You might want to watch eBay sales of large bronze bells for a few months before listing yours. Use the final prices as guides.

    • #17423
      Stressman
      Member

      Thank you again. I’ve looked at eBay and will continue watching. JS

    • #17424
      jackbell
      Participant

      On your enlarged photos I now see the rope eye on the clapper. Chances are this was not a swinging bell and was likely to have been used atop a firehouse or on a riverboat, ship, or even a lighthouse. Probably no parts are missing. I think you should consider keeping it.

    • #17425
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      … we have a bell on our property and we are wondering if anyone can help with giving it a value or add any history about it. Pictures are below. I can give you a bit of description. The bell is 26-1/2″ tall and the diameter is 35″ wide at it’s widest point. On one side of the bell, it is stamped with Buckeye Bell Foundry 1895 and the other side reads The E.W. Vanduzen Co Cincinnati.

      Jackbell has given you good advice. You may want to read what I have just posted in response to an inquiry about information on a Nisley Bros. and Co. bell at viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4780. There is no way we can tell you the history of your individual bell but, as Jackbell said, there is plenty of info on the “Bell Talk” Forum about the two foundries that are on your bell.

      ‘Just my opinion.

      Good luck,
      Carolyn

    • #17426
      Stressman
      Member

      Hi Carolyn, thank you for you input and I read your post about the Nisley Bros. & Co. bell. And I agree that JackBbell has given some great advice and things to think about, in particular I find it interesting about the eye hole on the clapper, thus indicating that it was probably not a church bell. I am curious about the age of the bell. I have been reading through posts and the history of the name changes for EW VanDuzen and Buckeye Bell. It looks like that particular combination began in 1894. Since the date on the bell is 1895, I’m thinking that 1895 is the year it was cast versus the date the company (the 2 entities) was founded. Is this assumption correct? That the date on the bell is the cast date?

      I’d also like to thank the older, yet very informative postings from Neil Goeppinger. Great postings! Thanks so much.

    • #17427
      Carolyn Whitlock
      Participant

      Glad I could be of help. I do not pretend to know much about big bells but Neil is a real expert! Although I’ve never met Jackbell (that I know of), he seems to know quite a lot about big bells, too.

      I think it is safe to assume that the date on the bell is the date it was cast. Obviously, yours is a very early one made by the newly combined companies.

      One more thing about your original posting. Personally, I see no correlation between the age of the building next to it and the bell. It is highly unlikely that you will ever find out about it’s life’s journey prior to being at your house. But, that’s all right. After 50 years in the same location, it is a part of the landscape of your home! Cherish it! There are people who envy you for having such a good quality bell!

      Carolyn

    • #17428
      Willie B. Herd
      Participant

      Hi Julie, IMO, I’m pretty sure this was/is a Church bell. The tonal quality of the bell is important and can be a clue to its use. Also, the bell may have been originally mounted in an “A-Frame” w/ yoke, etc AND ALSO set up to be rung by hand, (pulling the string). The type of stem used on the bell may help you determine this. It’s too big and heavy for a Riverboat, etc….. and most big Naval ships don’t have bells this large. Good luck 😀

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