My name is Judy Blake and this is the story of my bell museum.
This collection started in the late 1950's with a bell in an antique store. Years later the symbolism of the Tibetian prayer bell was learned. Meanwhile, one after another the numbers increased. Then my mother began finding bells of her own. She had a $10.00 limit on any bell she purchased.
One of those was a small replica of the 190 ton, Czar Kolokol bell with perfect detailing. I have recently been offered $750.00 for it! Then the aunt, that bought me my first bell started her own collection. My father joined us when his company had a hobby show and our hobby became his.
My taste and finances have changed over the years and the collection reflects this. First were many inexpensive bells, that had been used on sheep, goats, camels and cows. Then a few crystal and porcelain bells were added.
In the early 1980's Charles and Beverly Blake started their collection with a liberty bell from their daughter. It quickly grew with related items of Santas and Nodders. Santa had to have a bell or be a bell. Nodders have a mechanism that resembles a clapper balancing a swinging head or hand. Beverly passed away in 1991 and in 1993 Charlie and I married and combined his, hers, moms, my aunts and my collections . With the sudden death of Charlie in 2006 it became necessary to move the collections. Now, as of April of 2009 the Shoreham Bell Museum displays a variety of ages, materials, values and uses of bells.
Today the museum has bells made of wood, clay, pottery, pewter, silver, gold plate, brass, bronze, tin, iron, copper, glass, crystal, porcelain, and any other material you can think of. They cover history, royalty, nature, utility, travel, novelty and holidays. The collection is eclectic and ranges in value from worthless to priceless. The value of a bell is really in the viewers' interest and pocket.