This set of sleigh bells is a one-owner item, purchased by one of my ancestors in the late 1800s and actually used. before being stored away years ago in our family home. It is complete with a leather surcingle and would have fit a smaller horse -- one of my great aunts spoke about a horse named "Jim." It is fresh to the market, from my late mother's estate.
There are 30 matching solid brass bells, in lovely condition with NO splits, cracks or problems other than some verdigris that could be left or polished off, as desired. Each bell is about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. The color has darkened with age. There is a small, round brass "marble" inside each that makes a jingle at even the slightest movement. Their tone is so sweet and melodious, the perfect Victorian era holiday sound.
This must have been an expensive set, because the craftsmanship is superb: The surcingle, which is just over 1 inch wide, is just under 80 inches long. It is actually two separate leather straps: a liner strap (not found on cheap sets) runs underneath the full length of the outer strap on which the bells are mounted. The buckle has some light surface rust from age but is still in perfect working condition, complete with a roller under the tongue. And despite having been made in the 1800s, the stitching is still tight and intact.
The leather underliner was never stitched to the upper strap holding the bells; it was expected to stay in place when cinched around the horse.
CONDITION: (1) One bell pulled off the set many years ago, but we have it and will include it (see pictures). Its cotter key attachment is missing. AND (2) The only other issue is that the leather is very dry with surface cracking -- most caused by a different great aunt storing it in a dry attic. The leather could be restored significantly with a quality conditioner, which would greatly improve its suppleness, but the surface cracks are permanent.
Despite these issues, the fact remains that a full, complete set of sleigh bells with the harness straps is difficult to come by. When I was a child I used to close my eyes and jingle the bells and pretend I was in the sleigh that my horse was pulling down our snow covered road. It is time for this set to find another imaginative someone to appreciate it for the joy it brought in days gone by.
*** SIGN UP FOR EMAIL ALERTS of new listings or changes: Click FAVORITE "Heart" SHOP at the top of this page! ***Credit Card payments accepted through PayPal - just choose their "GUEST" option !
Antique Horse Harness Sleigh Bells Complete With Surcingle