Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bells Sold, Collection Downsized

Members of the American Bell Association (ABA) are connoisseurs of bells. They know which bells are collectible, and they know which bells they like. Sometimes the two categories don't go together too well. I think most everyone in the group has some bells that are worth money and others that are favorites even though they wouldn't appeal to collectors. At the ABA convention, a group of 150 collectors from all over the country and a few from overseas talked about bells, looked at bells, and bought and sold bells. There were slide shows about such bell categories as Disney bells, hanging bells, and bells with men depicted on them.

There was a "behold room," where several members graciously displayed groups of bells they brought. One table had bells by John Macombie, who may be the most popular bellmaker currently producting metal bells. One table displayed a collection of Chinese enamel bells; the whole table shimmered with bright blue and green tinted bells. The person who essentially planned and ran the convention brought her collection of all things with a flamingo theme.

There was also an auction, lasting 6 hours on Saturday. This was where the most serious buying occurred. I had some serious bells in the auction. Some sold well, although prices were generally low this year.

Also, a "sales room" was open specific hours. I had a sales table. I spent about 20 hours selling bells. It was a lot of fun because of the interest and love of bells expressed by everyone who visited my table...and most everyone did. I went to the convention with 11 boxes of bells to sell and came back with 9 boxes. So, I downsized!

Distraction: I bought 3 bells. I couldn't help getting a little bit into the quest. I bought one bell because it was pretty and a low price, one because I had wanted one like it and had bid on it and lost at the auction...I got the same bell for about 30% less at someone's sales table after the auction! Also, I got one bell that I bid on at the auction. It wasn't a valuable bell, but I liked it and I think my daughter will like it. No one else bid on it, so I got it at the lowest price. I bid on 3 more bells, but it was clear to me in all cases that someone else bidding wouldn't stop raising the price no matter what, so I gave up each time. When I got home, I realized that the bells I bid on and didn't win were not as nice as others like them that I already have. I was mostly glad I didn't win them. After all, I'm downsizing here, not building a collection!

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