Edward McNair inherited a signet ring with a family legend attached. He recently placed the ring on eBay with a "buy it now" price of $75,000, mostly because of the tale he'd heard as a boy.
Andrew McNair was the official ringer of the Liberty Bell. He got hold of a piece of metal that broke off the inside seam of the bell, where the two halves of the mold it was cast from came together.Nice story, but the Liberty Bell's chief caretaker, Robert Giannini, says it can't be true: the bell was cast as a single piece, and never had an inside seam. On the bright side, he says rings were made from metal removed during an 1846 repair of the bell, and Edward McNair might have inherited one of those. Back in the '70s, Giannini was offered one for $50.
In the early 1800s, the metal was taken to a jeweler who cast two signet rings. One he kept for himself, as payment for his services. The other remains in the McNair family today.
McNair took the experts' opinions of his family heirloom with good old American stoicism.
"I firmly believe that as a story goes along, it gets added to," he says.
"But the bottom line is, Andrew McNair was one of our ancestors and the signet ring is from a piece of the Liberty Bell - even if the story was added to or taken away from over the years." [Link]