Q: I’m 80 years old, so I’m cleaning out my attic. I have several small bells and have no idea where they came from. I think they are brass. They have etched decoration. Can you tell me anything about them? Are they junk or something to be handed down (to whomever may want them)? Are they from some other country? Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.
A: These look like the brass bells made in India that are often sold as souvenirs. Bells have been made of brass, bronze, pewter, silver, glass, porcelain, wood, and other materials in many different shapes and sizes. The American Bell Collectors is an organization for collectors, manufacturers, researchers, and anyone else interested in bells. They have a magazine, a website (americanbell.org), and hold an annual convention. These bells are fairly common and not very expensive. Some sell for $10, others for $30. If made by an important company, a collector would pay more.