Capri San Michele Bells

colekwok

Active Member
Just wonder if there are any collectors of these little bells out there? There is very little information about them online. And there are so many of replicas around. Do any of you fellows out there have the knowledge to date these bells?
 

a2jacketpatches

Active Member
Not much of a variety to be collected as opposed to being part of a collection. Probably just a few makers on the island that did them. A lot of them are dated, I've had quite a few and they'll have dates, "Lucky Little Bell of San Michelle" a little shamrock looking thing, etc. stamped into them. An honest patina is the best way to actually date them as vintage. I have seen a repro here and there and actually looked into having some made up. Not very profitable unless you do the casting process yourself. But I would think the lost wax method would be the way to go. Last original I had went for around 75 bucks.
 

Vcruiser

Well-Known Member
I've seen some really awful repro Capri bells.
I have an original stamped 1944 on a repro A2. I think it cost me $70 fron eBay several years ago.



Van
 

colekwok

Active Member
I have the Aero one, and I must say, it is quite rubbish when you compare it to any available photos of the originals. I am not quite sure what capri bell that they are trying to reproduce. I also have a few in my procession, and only two of them has got the 1944/45 on them.
 

John Lever

Moderator
I had one that my late mother bought on holiday on Capri in the 1960's, sadly it got lost when we sold her jewelry. Silver seems to have only scrap value.
 

bseal

Well-Known Member
My wife wears the original I gave her on a necklace and often gets compliments. That darn thing sure tarnishes pretty quickly though.
 

Edward

Well-Known Member
just looking for a home for the Capri Bell info I have collected and this is good as any for posterity just in case I ever lose my hard drive.

recently found two more pics of AAF guys wearing the bells which is the most difficult thing to find... so here is what I have...

my latest pic find: B-26 41-34868 437th Bomb Squadron, 319th Bomb Group Corsica. (last man in line wearing his.)

B-26 41-34868437th Bomb Squadron, 319th Bomb GroupCorsica.jpg


Tuskeegee Airman wearing his on his uniform pocket.
TuskeegeeLuckyBell.jpg


af003ed7160c8eceb3b799f705cabf58--aviator-engineers-1.jpg
souvenirball.jpg
ww14.jpg
BellOfMichele.JPG

LuckyBell01.jpg
LuckyBell02.jpg
 

Lorenzol

Well-Known Member
Interesting story. Did USAAF airmen take to wearing the tiny bells while stationed in italy there and upon hearing the stoy of the bells?
 

Edward

Well-Known Member
Interesting story. Did USAAF airmen take to wearing the tiny bells while stationed in italy there and upon hearing the stoy of the bells?
yes. many guys in the Mediterranean (15th and 9th AF mostly) got to take leave in Capri and the bells were a favorite tourist item. many flyers were a touch superstitious and liked to hold on to luck charms or repeat mantras before a mission. the Capri bell was a perfect little item to use as a talisman especially if it was marked with the four leaf clover. this was reflected in the latest version of Catch-22 on Hulu.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Edward is right, airmen tended to be a bit superstitious and especially bomber boys, probably because the perceived element of luck to what they did, eg getting hit by flak which seemed very random in its affects. There were a LOT of airmen who carried or wore a lucky token.

Really should get one of these little Capri bells, I was reminded of them again in the recent Catch-22 series.
 

crism1

Active Member
yes. many guys in the Mediterranean (15th and 9th AF mostly) got to take leave in Capri and the bells were a favorite tourist item. many flyers were a touch superstitious and liked to hold on to luck charms or repeat mantras before a mission. the Capri bell was a perfect little item to use as a talisman especially if it was marked with the four leaf clover. this was reflected in the latest version of Catch-22 on Hulu.
Ah, i missed the bells in catch22!
 

H.Franco

New Member
Your Posting was great I really appreciate and yes you are right there are so many of replicas around here.
 

colekwok

Active Member
Oh, just saw this thread has been revived! And nice Catch-22 details!

I've noticed that the recent price for 'real, antique' Capri bells have inflated so much in the past few years. I am sure they made plenty in the 1944-45, but I wonder where all these little bells are nowadays?
 

crism1

Active Member
Yesterday, after exchanging some posts on Capri Bells in the "what jacket are you wearing" thread, I went back in this one here to check the Chinese store link. After browsing a bit I noticed how weirdly is the bell strapped on Yossarian'a Jacket.

These are the biggest and clearest picture I found on the internet and still I can't make up my mind on how does it hang that way.



The bell doesn't seem to be stuck in the small metal arms on the collar, otherwise, if done on the right side, the bell would hang on the inside part of the jacket, but it rather seems to pass through the holed studs. However, the small bell's bar seems way thicker than what the hole would let through.

The only thing that crosses my mind is that they kinda tinkered on the chain loops, but the operation would be extremely tricky and not needed since you can pretty much sort the same effect simply strapping the bell on the left metal arms.

What do you guys think?
 

Edward

Well-Known Member
Yesterday, after exchanging some posts on Capri Bells in the "what jacket are you wearing" thread, I went back in this one here to check the Chinese store link. After browsing a bit I noticed how weirdly is the bell strapped on Yossarian'a Jacket.

These are the biggest and clearest picture I found on the internet and still I can't make up my mind on how does it hang that way.



The bell doesn't seem to be stuck in the small metal arms on the collar, otherwise, if done on the right side, the bell would hang on the inside part of the jacket, but it rather seems to pass through the holed studs. However, the small bell's bar seems way thicker than what the hole would let through.

The only thing that crosses my mind is that they kinda tinkered on the chain loops, but the operation would be extremely tricky and not needed since you can pretty much sort the same effect simply strapping the bell on the left metal arms.

What do you guys think?
They definitely customized how it was attached probably so as not to lose it during production because you can’t physically attach it the way they have it unless taken apart and perhaps even the clasp Hole in the jacket bored out a bit to cram the chain link through it. The normal way to attach it certainly lends itself to the possibility of it falling off the jacket when tossed around although I’ve never had that problem myself.
 
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