"Isle of Wight" Sandbell, ca. 1855

Value (2012) | $5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

I'm not sure where it came from. My dad got it from maybe his father.

And you've been caring for it then for the last... how long?

Oh, probably since the '50s.

And it's called a sand bell, of course, as you know. You have this glass vessel,which is blown glass. And they had to turn it upside down, right, and fill it somehow, right? Because there's no opening up here on the top.

No. APPRAIESR: So on the bottom, and I peeked for a little while. I don't know if you've ever looked on the bottom.

I'm too scared to look.

I know what you mean, because the sand will jiggle, right? This is all sand here. It's a blue paper with what appears to be a plug. And can you imagine, this had to be filled and the grains of sand moved around with a fine instrument to arrange the grains of sand and have it be solid to the bell. If you look at the top, you see these flower motifs, and then these sea scrolls, and then this Gothic arch. And then we get into this seashell, and then this great picture. Do you know what that represents?

Is that the Isle of Wight?

That's exactly right. It's the Isle of Wight with the needles, these chalk formations, which is a really famous tourist attraction. And there's a little ship, and the castle up on top of the cliff. And you come down below, you have a figure of Britannia, the symbol of England, seated here with a trident. And then here, an oval portrait probably of Queen Victoria in profile, so the Queen at the time. And then you go around to the side, and these amazing windows with a Gothic peak on the window. And a waterfall on the back all in grisaille, which grisaille means kind of a shaded gray and black. So it was made 1850 to roughly 1865 in the south of England, probably.


This base is marbleized, so it's kind of a trompe l'oeil marble. And there is a little damage. The crack right next to the paper label. But what happened up here?

I don't know.

Do you see how it got shaken up? It all got mixed together.

Is that from transporting it?

Yeah, and I bet you you didn't do that. There were some that are really rare that were made by a man named Andrew Clemens here in Iowa. Did you know about him? Andrew Clemens. And he made some amazing sand jars also. The thing is, if it was by Andrew Clemens, it's worth a multiple of what it's worth as an English piece. In the marketplace right now, a conservative estimate on this would be $5,000 to $8,000.

Oh, wow.

Now, if this work were by Clemens of Iowa, it would be worth about $50,000.

Appraisal Details

Keno Auctions
New York, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Cincinnati, OH (July 21, 2012)
Folk Art
Glass , Sand

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