Mechanically very sound with beautiful sounding reeds, the casework was worn and had the previous owner's postcode crudely scratched into the surface. I stripped it down and after receiving some very helpful advice on this forum (see "Ebonizing tips?" in the construction and repair section), I re-ebonised the ends using black spirit powder and French polish to finish. I also replaced the key hole bushes and the key cross hole bushes. Apart from a gentle cleaning, the reeds and action mechanism needed no further work. The concertina internals were restored and it was tuned by David Leese in 1998 but from what I can gather, the instrument has had relatively little use since. The pads and valves are in very good condition and the top quality reeds are in great shape.
The 7-fold bellows and concertina itself are perfectly airtight.
The concertina is in modern concert pitch and is in tune with itself. But there’s a twist: instead of the “home key” being C like a conventional Maccann, it is in B flat, presumably to facilitate playing with brass bands, which ties in with its West Yorkshire origins. This means that when you would normally be playing in C, you are actually playing in B flat and so on. This may be useful for a singer or as an additional instrument for a Maccannic that would like to be able to transpose into more difficult keys without changing his/her fingering.
I would describe the condition as being excellent with just two things to mention: there is one patch that seems to have been done by an amateur as the leather hasn’t been skived, although it is perfectly sound, and the thread on one of the strap thumb screws has stripped so I’ve replaced it with a normal machine screw of the appropriate thread size. The original thumb screw will be included with the sale. The original leather box is also in very good condition, although an extra strap has been stapled on.
While I’ve really enjoyed my brief ownership of this instrument and been extremely impressed by the quality of workmanship on these Aeolas, the concertina is not my primary instrument and I can’t devote the time required to learn the Maccann system properly so it is time to part with it.
I have lots of additional photos that I can send on request via a PM.
The price reflects the smaller market for a B flat Maccann concertina:
£1600 or reasonable offer (or the current euro equivalent) includes postage within Europe or half the postage cost to countries outside Europe and I’ll also absorb the PayPal fees.
Thanks for reading.
PS. I can't edit the title but it should obviously read "B flat"
Edited to add photos below.
Edited by Defra, 12 September 2015 - 07:03 AM.