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Alex West

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  1. There's also a terrific CD by Niamh Ní Charra, Ibon Koteron and Gavin Ralston called "Ó Euskadi go hÉirinn - The Basque Irish Connection" - see the August 2011 press release on Niamh's site (http://www.niamhnicharra.com/) which is self explanatory Alex West
  2. Brian Or you could take a look at Chris Allert's Kensington for sale on the Buy and Sell forum. I know Washington State isn't close to Chicago but at least it's on the same continent! Has anyone got any experience of a Thomas (http://www.thomasconcertinas.com)? They look nicely made on his site Alex West
  3. Andy, From experience - some bitter but some pleasant as well - you may find that the lower end instruments are much more challenging to repair or restore than one of the "better" names. The quality of materials used in the lower end instruments can result in a real struggle to achieve a halfway decent end result. It's probably also common that in your restoration, you've spent more time on the instrument than the original maker spent in its initial construction! Alex West
  4. It looks to me as though your moniker is a***0, Andy. £2,500 was never going to be enough. If you reckon that a fully restored 32 bone-button C/G C Jeffries is worth somewhere between £5,000 and £6,000 (if you have the contacts to get that kind of price), then deduct the price of a new set of bellows, retuning, finding or making a couple of new end bolts, cleaning up the woodwork, sorting any issues with the action, renewing valves, pads, bushing etc and allow a bit of profit, then Chris looks to have paid about the right price. Someone who didn't need a profit and could get some of the work done properly but non-professionally could have paid more and gotten a good concertina for less than the "market" price. But I'm sure a fair number of people would have been concerned by the obvious defects and worried that there's more trouble ahead when you look closely at the action and the reeds. Maybe he got a little bit of a bargain - but he's also taking the risk it won't be a top drawer instrument even when all the work is done! I'm quite sure Chris knows his market Alex West
  5. It looks very likely that Chris Algar was the winner. Very nice lookng instrument! Alex West
  6. OK, it may not be jazz as MrWannaplayjazz knows it, but our own Mr Roger Digby does credit to Fats Waller and Rodgers & Hart in jazz style on an anglo concertina on Anglo International (Ain't Misbehavin and The Lady Is A Tramp). Goes to show that anything is possible if you have the talent and the application! Alex West
  7. Steve Can't you get rosewood from a guitar luthier? It won't be from the same timber sources as originally used by Lachenal/Jeffries so may not give a good match for repairs, but a guitar back can be used for new fretwork I would have thought Alex West
  8. Frank I think the product you mean is Chair Doctor, made by Veritas. As far as I remember, it's an aliphatic resin glue (like Titebond original) but it's a low viscosity glue so it gets into even quite small cracks. The syringe type applicators they supply it with are useful for getting the glue in minute quantities just where you need it. I've used it successfully for stabilising ebonised fretwork which tends to de-laminate over time. Your cracks don't seem so big Malcolm so I'd be tempted just to reinforce them as Frank suggests and use either Chair Doctor or even ordinary Titebond without trying to fill them with a wood shim. If you wanted to make them disappear, you can mix glue with wood dust (taken from a hidden part elsewhere on the fretwork) and fill the surface of the cracks, then sand them back with very fine paper or wire wool. I'd suggest that your cracks don't need this kind of treatment Alex West
  9. Well somebody got some bargains! The hammer prices were: 39 key Jeffries - £3,000 20 key Lachenal - didn't seem to sell Crabb 'Jeffries' Duet £400 C Jeffries Duet - £1500 Giving full costs to the buyers of £3,576, £0, £477 and £1,788 respectively Relatively cheap for a Jeffries anglo, astonshingly cheap for the Crabb and close to top whack for the Jeffries duet? Alex West
  10. I got some black bushing felt from Steve Dickinson when I was looking for some. I think he only had one thickness but he'd be worth trying. Other than that, you could try the various organ repair/piano repair/accordion repair vendors and sites Alex West
  11. Jim The reply I got from Staceys was that the 38 key Jeffries had a stuck button and needed work so it was impossible to tell whether it was unisonoric or not or which keys it was in Alex West
  12. A saw that one as well Andy, but given that it was difficult to tell whether it was an Anglo or English from the auctioneer's photo, I gave it a very swift swerve at well below the selling price. If it was Chris who was the low bidder, then maybe it's even worth what you paid! (mind you, you could always learn to play the uke - or the German accordion!) Alex West
  13. Fleadh Crabb concertinas have been made since 1860 starting with John Crabb and over 4 generations to Geoff Crabb who's still making them. Crabb have made all types of concertina (English, Anglo, Duet) in all the sizes over this timescale. So with this history and wide range of products, it's difficult to generalise and give opinions which are valid for all. As Daniel has said, their quality is in the upper range and their best are very very good indeed. Early Jeffries anglo concertinas were most probably made by Crabb (see this article http://www.concertina.net/rd_crabb.html) so there should be no obvious and immediate reason why Crabb instruments aren't of equivalent merit, equivalent value and equivalent price to a C Jeffries instrument. However, the auction results tell a different story - at least on the price front. The ultimate test is whether the instrument in front of you is right for you in tone and playability. Again, as Daniel has suggested, try the instrument in question. Alex West
  14. At today's exchange rate, $9,000 - $12,000 is roughly £5,500 - £7,500. The Button Box have a couple of Jeffries within this range and Andy's auction results seem to indicate that the retail price of a restored Jeffries from a recognised dealer in the UK is also within this range; maybe higher for a particularly good example. So I think it's OK to say that if you particularly want a Jeffries, it's reasonable to expect to pay £5,000 - £8,000 In 1899, a good Jeffries cost 7 guineas - using the concertina.com historic convertor, this is the equivalent of around £3,000 today, so on that basis, I agree, the relative price of a Jeffries has increased to an unreasonable degree. That's the trouble with a relative price for an antique - it's only unreasonable if it's a high price compared with the going rate. There is no "absolute" value on such things to be able to say whether today's prices are unreasonable or not.... It's not unreasonable that if you want a painting by Monet, you're going to have to pay many millions of $ or £, no matter how much Monet charged for them new or whether the prices are high compared to a modern piece of art Alex West
  15. Andy You may need to check your calculations. Buyer's premium at Charterhouse is 19.5% and VAT of 20% is only charged on the buyer's premium so the total bill to the auction house was only £5183 (assuming you could have collected yourself and didn't need their packing service - there seem to be 2 levels of buyer's premium quoted in their terms but 19.5% seems to be the highest) - so that's a litle shy of £6,000, even though this instrument does appear to have sold at a relatively high level. Charterhouse only had one photograph and didn't know the pitch of the instrument or have any other good description of the quality. Nevertheless the picture seemed to indicate that the instrument was in good external order. Let's assume that the winner had seen the instrument, had a chance to play it had been able to look at the reeds and reckoned this was an instrument at the upper end of quality needing no repair work and no tuning and was in the preferred keys of C/G. Such an instrument would be on sale through a recognised dealer at £6,000 and maybe even well above (and I think we can assume that the recognised dealers would have heard of the auction and were bidding), so the auction price still represents a profit of £800 - or at least 13% to the dealer and if a private person bought it, then he saved 13% on the "retail" price. Even in today's econmomic situation, £6,000 to £7,000 for a top quality Jeffries is not unreasonable. Even recognising the availability of quality instruments made by others, a Jeffries sound and history still carries a cachet that many will prize and pay for. Of course, if the instrument required repair and tuning and was in a less preferred key, then the dealer might be taking a bath or be hopeful of selling it for more than £6,000. The instrument at Lawrences didn't look to be the same quality, but again, if you can physically see it and determine what work needed doing to bring it to top quality level, then you might make a judgement that it was worth every penny. If you still want that £100 Jeffries in the attic or charity shop, it may be there, but you may have a long time to wait and be exceptionally lucky. Don't expect such a bargain at a public auction though! Alex West
  16. Here's a suggestion from my son who runs a tea business from his home in China. http://www.minrivertea.com/blog/tea-roots-soak-up-bad-smells/ Maybe not so easy unless you have a supply of tea stems and roots but I'll ask him if the leaves would do as well (but you may not be able to get a decent cuppa out of them afterwards!) If anyone's seriously intersted, I'm sure he'd be able to get a bag of the leavings to you Alex West
  17. I don't think this necessarily qualifies as "smoke", but I've noticed with old anglos which I've been restoring that the right hand side is nearly always significantly dirtier and in poorer condition than the left hand side. My rationale for this is that in the old hexagonal cases, the left side is at the bottom of the case and the right side is at the toip - and therefore more exposed to whatever pollutants are around. Here's a "worst case". In this example, the left side was just as filthy! Alex West
  18. The auction for this particular concertina was near Derby, roughly in the middle of England. I understand there were at least 3 phone bidders but one of them (me!) pulled out quite early in the bidding. I'm not sure whether the instrument sold in the room, to a phone bidder or to an internet bidder. I haven't tracked all of the ebay and auction house sales this year, but from the sample I have, hammer prices have seemed fairly consistent and predictable whether the auction is in the south or north of England or in Scotland. Prices in the US do seem to have been slightly lower. I'd reckon that with the increase in phone and internet bidding and the increasing availability of information about forthcoming auctions, prices have become more consistent? Happy to have data which shows other trends. This instrument does seem to be an anomaly - fetching a lot more than recent auction house Jeffies anglos and almost as much as ebay Jeffries (where buying costs are less) Alex West
  19. This instrument came up at auction today, number 30389. The auctioneer's estimate was £100-£150. It just went under the hammer and was knocked down at £3,800, so £4,248 including buyers premium and VAT. This must be a record for an Aeola surely - even if it needs no work doing? Admittedly it's rare, one of only 4 made in 1924, but this is close to what it cost (in real terms) when it was made! Alex West Edited as wrong phot attached
  20. Rowan This looks to be a 30 button concertina rather than a 38 - a misprint? Do you have any more photos you can share with us? There are a couple of people not far from you who are very experienced in both playing and repairing/restoring concertinas, including a Jeffries such as this. They're on this forum regularly and I'm sure they'd give you an honest opinion. If you want to send me a private mail, I'll see if they've seen this as well and want to be put in contact with you Alex West
  21. It looks as though the instrument went for £120 plus buyers premium and VAT. Anyone here win it? I'd be very curious to see what it looks like on the inside! Alex West
  22. Has anyone seen anything like this before? It's coming up at auction on Saturday and is described as a "Scottish concertina" with a label; W Mitchell, Wishaw. Alex West
  23. When I first moved to Scotland, I stayed on a farm and one summer evening, I was playing concertina outside whilst my wife practised step dancing. After a short while, she suggested I turned round - there were the cows all lined up against the fence, mesmerised. I tested the reaction later in the evening when the cows were all busy at the far end of the field. As soon as I started playing, they all rushed over to the fence again to hear. I don't hesitate much when I say they were the best audience I've ever had. They didn't put a lot of money in the hat though Alex West
  24. Gentlemen There seems to be a general assumption around that because the Jeffries family made duets to their own system with as few keys as 45 and because a number of Jeffries duets have over the years been converted to anglos, that every Jeffries anglo with more than 40 keys started life as a duet. I don't know about this instrument in particular, but to my personal knowledge (I've seen, touched and delved inside them, measured the reeds and looked carefully at the reed pans) I know of a 46 key Jeffries anglo and a 50 key Jeffries anglo that have always ben anglos, were never ever duets and have not been re-tuned nor the reed pans reshaped to take differnt reeds on push and pull. I'm pretty sure I've also seen correspondence on this site about large Jeffries anglos which were built that way. There's a flaw in the logic here: "Jeffries made large concertinas; Jeffries duets are large concertinas; some Jeffries duets are known to have been converted into anglos; therefore all large Jeffries anglos were once duets" This might be a good hypothesis if there wasn't some evidence that Jeffries made some anglos which are large. One of the confusions does seem to be that the external appearance (fretwork pattern, arrangement of buttons) of a large Jeffries Anglo is very similar to that of a Jeffries duet, but outward apearances aren't everything. By the way, Wheatstone made some pretty large anglos. The standard largest might have been 40 keys but (if memory serves) they made a 56 key anglo in 1914 (number 26513) and other specials after this. As another aside, they also seem to have made some in the early 1900's to a Jeffries pattern, for example No 26114. No suspicions that Wheatstone duets have ever been converted into anglos are there? All that I'm really saying is that it's impossible to generalise without knowing the specifics of the instrument in question. So, Brian; can you tell us a little more about your instrument? Does it play the same note whether you push or pull the bellows? Do you know what keys it's in? Might you have a chart showing which buttons play which notes? And finally have you looked inside the instrument and seen what the reeds and reed pans look like? These might be very relevant questions to a buyer and could make a lot of difference to the value. Looks a nice instrument though Alex West
  25. Paul The action does look similar, but the posts on the photographs of "your" concertina look a good bit thinner than the Australian Jeffries English or other Jeffries that I've seen. Impossible to be sure without a micrometer but worth checking? Also, the shape of the rivets is totally different. I know the Jeffries family used different sized rivet snaps at different times, but maybe another clue? None of this proves anything conclusively one way or the other, just suggests that they aren't from the same shop Alex West
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