What we have here is a beautiful dulled brass (bronze?) toggle-operated counter bell. Of an extremely old design, this bell dates to the 1870s or 1880s, and might’ve been found on any shop-counter or hotel lobby-desk around the world during the late Victorian era.
It’s very different from modern bells in that instead of being the now-conventional push-button design, it is instead of a spring-toggle design. The bell is rung by pressing the toggle at the base, to pull back the striking-hammer. Releasing the toggle strikes the clapper against the outside of the bell (as opposed to the inside, as is most common with counter bells these days), causing it to ring.
It’s a beautiful bell, about four inches high, and with a sweet, bright ring. It cost me a pittance! Just $4.00 at my local thrift-shop, and I’m thrilled to own something so old, unique, and beautiful 🙂