Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Six Concertinas in need of TLC

A friend who’s been clearing his attic prior to moving house has come across a box of six old concertinas. They’ve been kept in very dry conditions - no sign of rust but will need a lot of restoration to be playable.
(My knowledge of concertinas is almost zero)
He’s not interested in any money for them but doesn’t want to throw them away if possible. ( I’m in Stirling in Scotland)
I’ve listed details below and can send photos or more info if anyone’s interested. I’d be happy to send them by carrier for the shipping cost but would like to see them go in one batch, not piecemeal.
C Jeffries 28 button + 1 Anglo system?
2 x C Jeffries 37 + 2 Anglo
C Jeffries 30 + 2 Anglo
Wheatstone Linota 32 + 1 serial # 32451 (Split Bellows) Anglo?
Unknown 50 + 1 English? (Split bellows)

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Think carefully and do some research on this Mike. Jeffries concertinas sell for £1000s. I would think it well worth spending money to have them restored. Please don’t rush into a decision on this.
I suggest you look at previous discussions on “Jeffries concertinas”, especially check the prices when “for sale”.
https://thesession.org/discussions/19990
https://thesession.org/discussions/46023
https://thesession.org/discussions/42244

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Thanks Kenny,
I’ve passed the info back to Clive who’s a bit gob-smacked. I’ll leave the post up meantime to see what responses come back. Neither of us have any idea about how we could get them restored in Scotland - they’ll need a lot of work - but I guess my previous comment about him not wanting anything for them will have to be revisited.

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Have a look at https://www.concertina-restoration.co.uk/ as a possible source of information and advice about these instruments. It’s the website of David Robertson: he is an acquaintance of mine from University days in the ’60s - though I hold no brief for his current business interests as a concertina restorer - but I’m aware that he’s regarded by concertinists that I know in my area as the go-to person for repair work. But, of course, take the time to shop around for advice from various sources before deciding on a next move (and before accepting or parting with any £££).

As Kenny points out, Jeffries concertinas are highly valued and sought-after. Not an instrument I play, but I know enough to think that they’d almost certainly be worthy of investment and restoration.

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Thanks Bazza,
I’ll take some photos and send the details to David

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Restored Wheatsones can be worth £thousands as well.
An alternative option would be to put them into an auction without restoring them first. Some auction houses have specialist auctions for musical instruments, e.g. Gardiner Houlgate. I suspect that auctions are a prime source for some of the concertina restoration people. If you follow that route, I’d suggest maximising awareness by mentioning it on concertina.net a week or so before the auction (there is a ‘buy & sell’ page on that website).

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Restored Wheatstones and Jeffries are very valuable. But be aware that the restoration work is also very expensive, and if the intention is to sell them on rather than play them yourself then you may find you’ll get a better return by selling them as found. You need to talk to a national level specialist auction house such as Christies or Bromptons, who will give an appraisal and advise on the best course of action. Either restored or not I would expect these instruments to create a great deal of interest in the sale room.

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Would echo a lot of the advice given above.

Probably best moving them on eventually to someone reputable who can restore them and sell them on. Most of those concertinas are probably worth in the thousands each before repairs, but won’t be usable for regular players without proper servicing and repair, and paying that cost privately would likely cost more money than you could get privately for them without repairing, so not worth it if you’re not keeping and playing.

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Go on to Concertin.net forums and contact Alex West, he is a restorer and anglo player in Scotland and should be able to give you an idea of value and restoration costs (he has posted recently in the Buy and Sell section). These concertinas are potentially of great value and much desired. Do not sell though an auction house, the costs to you are too great; you will get a better deal on a private sale.

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

I think you’ll see that there’s broad agreement here, Mike. Anyone who can do repairs to the instruments should also be able to give you an idea of what they might sell for once they are restored to playable condition. I would also tentatively suggest that the best market for Anglo concertinas might be in Ireland, rather than the UK, although all of that will probably now be rendered more complicated by Brexit. Ask around, get a few opinions before making a final decision.
Here’s a relevant tale for you from around 4 years ago. I had a student wanting to learn to play traditional music on low whistle, so I was teaching her the relevant techniques with me playing flute. One afternoon I took in the Rudall & Rose flute I bought about 10 years ago at the time, because although she was a very accomplished - indeed professional - player of the Boehm system flute, I though she might not have seen an R&R flute before. I was then - I believe the current term is - “gobsmacked” when she said “Oh, I’ve got one of those in the corner”. She had indeed, in possibly the worst state I’ve ever seen any wooden flute, although there were no cracks in it. I persuaded her that she should get it fixed up, and managed to arrange that for her for around £250 - 300, I think it was. The restored instrument would probably sell for perhaps as much as 10x that in any reputable auction house. The mechanisms of a concertina are certainly far more intricate, but what you should do is get some quotes for restoration and balance that against potential sale costs, and take it from there.
Two things I would ask. Does your friend know how 6 concertinas came to be in his attic ? That would be highly unusual in Scotland, and there must be some kind of story behind that.
Also, if the advice given here leads to him ultimately benefitting financially, - as I’m sure we all hope it does, not to mention returning 6 instruments into use - maybe he could consider making a small donation to Jeremy for the running of the site ?
Best of luck, please keep us informed as to how things go.
Kenny.

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Brilliant input all around, Kenny!

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Ach, we’re all here to help, “gimpy”. Mind you, my “Aiberdonian” credentials are shot. The Aberdonian of popular myth would have offered a fiver and insisted on them being delivered 🙂

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

😀

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Thanks to everyone for the valuable advice and suggestions. I certainly know a lot more about concertinas than I did 48 hours ago. I got in touch with a few dealers and from the almost instant responses made a deal which was pretty fair all round considering the work that will have to go into restoring them, The story behind them was that they were found when clearing the basement of a relative of my friend’s wife who had a music shop in Bristol and then sat in an outhouse for 20 years - far from ideal conditions. My friend is of course delighted and it’s nice to know they’ll make music again - hopefully for another 100 + years
Have also made a donation to Jeremy

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Excellent, Mike. That’s maybe one of the best stories all round to come out since Jeremy started this website.

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Not sure anyone has mentioned Chris Algar (Barleycorn concertinas) down in England. He is the largest dealer in the world and will do right by you - he’s got a good reputation in the concertina community. An interesting essay on his website about auction sales. Good luck, don’t rush your decision.

When did the little spirits leave their treasure in that attic? Does a rainbow descend to Earth at the house?

Ken

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Never assume I guess that an item doesnt have a value.Some years ago I was e baying an old Hornby OO railway that I had had in the mid 1950s.The engines had a modest value of £20 ish but the origional paper layout leaflet which had come with the set made £10.
More recently I was clearing a drawer and came across a badge belonging to a series Landrover I once owned.I had removed it to paint the vehicle 40 years ago.
I put it up on e bay and started getting offers of £40-it auctioned for £60

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

I have to admit to having a liking for the BBC’s “The Repair Shop” programme, where people bring in anything from teddy-bears to - recently - a National steel guitar to be repaired. Musical instruments do occasionally turn up, but I’m fascinated to watch people who are really good at what they do, and it is one programme which genuinely does bring joy to people. Six concertinas would have been a good challenge for them.
I even occasionally watch “Antiques Roadshow”, and live for the day when one of their experts tells someone, “This is a very interesting piece, do you know what it’s worth ? F**k all”.

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Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

Contact Scayles Music in Edinburgh
I bought a reconditioned one a couple of years ago. They will have a contact

Re: Six Concertinas in need of TLC

I wish I’d seen this earlier - thanks to Dick Trickey for suggesting me. If the deal hasn’t already been done or if there’s a problem on the way, do get in touch with me. As Dick says, I play concertina and restore them to a high standard so I can either advise or take them on myself.

I’d love to see the pictures you have in any case Mike; if only to cry over what I’ve missed, but also to add to my database of “lost but recoverable” instruments

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I would suggest the owner to contact Chris Algar, who is the biggest Concertina-dealer in the wold ( https://concertina.co.uk/sell-your-concertina/ ). He will most likely buy the lot at a realistic and fair price ( at least 5000 Pound, probably much more! ). The charges for auction-sales both for seller and buyer are enormous!