Display straps with 6 nickel-plated stamped brass bells

The owner sent 18 bells, each 1 1/2" across, and asked me to clean them and put the bells on three display straps. I initially thought they were nickel-plated steel "jingle" bells, but touching the bells with a magnet proved these vintage bells were nickel-plated brass, which is much more desirable than steel. 

Although I work on both steel and brass bells like these, I advise owners that steel bells have little or no value on the collectibles market. It makes sense to restore steel bells only if they have a lot of sentimental value to the owner. View examples of steel "jingle" bells I have restored....

The earliest versions of this type of machine-stamped bell are the antique "patent" bells dating to the late 1800s. They are also called "Tucker" bells based on the last name of their inventor. Antique patent bells can be identified by a ring of patent dates around the bottom of each bell. Vintage bells from the early to mid 1900s, like these, were made of brass but were no longer marked with the ring of dates. By the mid 1900s, sheet steel was used to make this style of bell rather than more expensive brass. More about machine-stamped bells...

I gave the bells a light wash to remove surface dust and grime and then lacquered the bells per the owner's request. I put the bells on three dark-brown display straps. Each strap is about 17" long, not including the ring. I chose silvery stainless steel rings to match the silvery nickel plating on the bells.

This particular item is a custom, one-of-a-kind project made for a past client. Items in this Custom Projects section are for information only; they are not available for regular sale.

Price: For inspiration, not for sale