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Antique Wheatstone


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#1 grant wright

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 06:58 AM

Hi,
I have just aquired a wheatstone english concertina numbered 8200.
I think its 1855 or 1856. It has 48 buttons.
It still works,but is a bit leaky and one end has broken fretwork.
Is it worth a full resoration or even minimal repair to be playable.
It is also without its case.
I think it may have been a nice instrument in its day but have no idea if its worth much in its current state.
I am interested to see what people think.
I am in Wellington New Zealand.
Regards
Grant

#2 wes williams

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 08:00 AM

Hi Grant,

It really depends on what you mean by "Is it worth...".

If you are thinking of learning to play it, it will probably make a good starter instrument. Its likely to have brass reeds, which are not as loud as the later steel reed instruments which many people prefer, so you may want to change instruments later.

If you are thinking of selling it, and asking if its worth investing in repairs, I'd suggest that it would be better to offer it in its original state, as its an earlier
instrument, and its value as a players instrument is a bit limited and would
depend on how much work would be needed.

best wishes ..wes

#3 Paul Groff

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 08:21 AM

Grant,

These can be made into playable instruments with lovely tone. However the job is sometimes like antique car restoration in that you can easily spend more on the restoration than the current market will pay for the restored item. This doesn't mean it shouldn't be done -- maybe the current market is undervaluing them and someday the whole job will turn out to have been a good investment, or (more likely) maybe you will enjoy the restoration as a hobby worthwhile in itself, especially if you can do some of the work yourself and pay in hours rather than money. Or maybe you would like to see and hear this particular instrument in playing condition, even if the money spent does not bump up the market value by an equal amount.

Most of us involved with concertinas make our decisions about them by different criteria than we use for strictly financial investments.

You will find references on this site to repairmen who can fix the woodwork, repair or replace bellows, revalve, repad, respring, and retune your concertina. You can contact them for estimates. If you are inclined, you can purchase a book on do-it-yourself repairs. Fred Quann published one years ago which was very interesting (this is not an endorsement of everything in it!) and Dave Elliott has one in print which I need to get for my library. I think there are links for these on this site (if not, someone else please help Grant out here).

HOWEVER, the unrestored instruments from this period sometimes have a lot of "archaeological" value in their current state, especially if they stopped being played and repaired fairly early and have been unmolested since then. A lot of very interesting information can (and should be) gleaned from them before you begin the process of "fixing" them or indeed altering them in any way. If the instrument has a known history this should be recorded. Then you might carefully scan through it for any evidence of repairs or alterations and repairer's marks. You might read up on the early history of the English concertina (e.g. the book by Allan Atlas and the article by Neil Wayne; search this site for links) and try to determine whether yours is typical or atypical for its type and period. I personally am very interested in the reedwork, pitch, and temperament of these early instruments (especially those with brass and nickel-silver reeds). It is a specialist job to determine this but keep in mind it will be impossible once the reeds are tuned or altered in any way. See the topic "CSFRI- free download" on this site for an idea of why that might be interesting. I suspect that some of these instruments are and will be most valuable as museum pieces, unrestored. If it was an inheritance, a gift, or a bargain purchase, you might consider putting it on the shelf and buying one of the many antique English concertinas that have already been made playable.

Good luck and best wishes, Paul

Edited by Paul Groff, 18 September 2003 - 08:26 AM.


#4 Greyboy

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 02:18 PM

Paul wrote: "I suspect that some of these instruments are and will be most valuable as museum pieces, unrestored."

In another thread yesterday, it was such an instrument that I referred to when I mentioned that a concertina may be worth more in the "original" condition, untouched by repairer or retuner. I have an English Wheatstone dating from 1860, much is known about the original owner, a lady of nobility. It certainly looks and plays like it had never been in a smokey pub. It will not be retuned and the marks of her fingernails will remain....

#5 allan atlas

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 11:37 AM

GRANT: your instrument would certainly be of interest to someone who performs the original victorian repertory for the instrument...........

GREYBOY: i am working on a project having to do with female concertina players in the victorian period. . . . . .can you tell me anything about your instrument and the person to whom it belonged. . . . . .any information much appreciated.............allan

#6 grant wright

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Posted 25 September 2003 - 06:04 AM

Hi,
In response to Allan,
Its serial number is 8200. I purchased it at auction in Wellington NewZealand.
I mailed the Horniman Museum but have not had a reply.
It has 6 fold bellows,and metal keys.
Regards
Grant




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