The Art of the Collection: Vintage Desk Bells

As all collections do—the gathering begins with one. Often unbeknownst to the person at the time, the item enters their life and for some unknown reason—gives birth—to the collection.

You attempt to deny the yearning—as you coyly place the item of your new found interest in the verrrrrrry back of the cabinet. Committing yourself to forget about it or quite simply to view the obtainment as a single, independent action—never to be repeated again.

And then there were two.

Rationalization follows. The pieces are vassssstly different—one evokes simplicity in clean lines set in brass. The other is a work of artistry—mother of pearl insets, ornate carved bronze, a delicately feminine design.

The questions begin…

“How may I announce my arrival at the front desk?”

How kind and welcoming to offer me a sweet! Your world begins to expand—a candy dish and desk bell combined? Who knew?

Someplace between the quantity of four or five, you sigh, as you softly say to yourself, “It looks as though we have begun a new collection.”

Your taste evolves as it travels with you as you embark upon the discovery of style, function, form, material and size.

Last Sunday while at an antique show I was party to a conversation with a seller advising a “beginner collector” the appropriate way to collect. They explained a collection should begin with a size and a style in mind and to only collect those pieces that fell within that description. The seller further explained, in proceeding in that manner, the collector would be assured that the gathering would display well.

I respectfully kept my opinion to myself. Upon reflection of the conversation (my personal curse) I realized—I believe the precise opposite of those instructions!

Collect what you love, what moves you—inspires you, causes you to wonder, dream or ponder!

Allow yourself the freedom to evolve in your collection! In doing this you will grant your collection it’s very own history and story line. When the collection began and with which piece. Where you were and what you were thinking at the time.

By including varying designs, scale and form into your collection an interesting and unique presentation will be created!

After all—collecting is about love!

Art Lives!

4 Comments on “The Art of the Collection: Vintage Desk Bells”

  1. ed carr says:

    I have an accumulation of desk bells including the the first one you highlighted with the mother of pearl. Is there a market for such an accumulation

    • All of the desk bells which we have collected have been purchased ~ clearly there is a wonderful marketplace for these artistic pieces! Many of our purchases have been made at antique shows as well as on the internet from qualified sellers.

  2. SteamDawn says:

    Lovely! Have you continued you bell collecting? I’ve been collecting bells of this type since I was 19 years old (35 years now!). BTW, the “candy dish” is a sugar bowl, probably Reed & Barton; the mark should be on the bottom of the bowl under the bell. : )

    • Jeri Glatter says:

      Thank you so much for your comments! We continue to keep our eyes open for bells—and of course as all collecting tends to be, we have become more and more selective! Thank you for the information regarding the sugar bowl, versus the candy bowl. We have checked for markings and have been unable to see any.
      I wanted to share with you a custom we have with our bells! Once a year, either at Thanksgiving or New Year’s we decorate the dining table with a parade of bells down the center. We elevate them on paper or fabric covered boxes, dependent upon our theme! Candlesticks and petite flower arrangements are mixed in and between each bell to create a festive and beautiful display. At Thanksgiving guests are invited to ring one of the bells in salutation to something they are grateful for, which can be shared or kept private. On New Year’s guests are encouraged to ring in the new year as often as they wish as well as “ringing in” hopes or wishes for the forthcoming year! Children are delighted and music is created!
      We have found the various tones of each bell and the ringing of each personality of each bell and each guest adds a richness to our festive table. Perhaps your bell collection would like to join in the celebration at your cottage!
      Joy Surrounds!

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