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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. Gavin You've missed one! I have 28853 which is described as a type "62 NP raised side 47 key" instrument - 48 keys if you count the air button. Mine is a straight C/G anglo - basically a 40 key instrument with a few extra buttons to give more options in push and pull. I believe Vic Gammon has a large Wheatstone anglo (more keys than mine I think) which may be one of the ones you've listed Alex West
  2. Matt One blurry photo of one of the fretwork ends isn't really enough to make a positive identification one way or the other. There are a number of other things particularly the reeds, but also the action and other aspects of the manufacture which would give clues or confirmation. The fretwork you show is superficially like a typical 30 button Jeffries, but there are a few of the Jeffries fretwork characteristics missing and some of the detailing of the curls are certainly not typical of the Jeffries within my experience. My experience is limited, but I'd say some of those characteristics lead me to be suspicious and I'd want to take a more detailed look - or consult one of the recognised experts Alex West
  3. The details are in the post of Concertinas at auction in the Buy & Sell forum. I don't think it was that the boxes were out of tune, more that there were pads missing, bellows leaking and "stuff" which made the instrunments unplayable and therefore the determination of the home keys difficult. The highest priced instrument was a 30 key metal buttioned C Jeffries which went for a hammer price of £4,800 which with premium and VAT meant a gross sale price of £5,628. Costs of restoration are difficult for me to determine as I didn't see the instrument in person, but reckoning inevitable pads, bushings, valves changes would add around £200, tuning to concert pitch at around £250 and maybe a new set of bellows at around £450 would push the cost up to £6,500. If there were more serious woodwork costs, lever replacements or reed replacements necessary, then obviously that would be more. I don't know if a dealer bought the instrument, but lets say he did - allow a mark-up of 10% and you're looking at an ultimate price to the player of around £7,200. Let's be optimistic and say that very little work was needed and it went to to a player who can do most of the work himself - it's just cost under £6,000 for a 30 button Jeffries - quite high but not excessive. If it's passed through a professional restorer and a dealer's hands, it's closer to £7,500 so that's the range and that fits with the anecdotes from Roger and others about the prices in Ireland. Is a 39 button C Jeffries more prized than a 30 button Jeffries? I haven't a clue. Tony, your instrument has good provenance, looks to be in excellent condition, the outward appearance (not too much wear on the plate and the buttons, screws not mangled) is good in the pictures and the fact that your case has a key possibly means that the instrument has ben kept properly and not shoved in a garage. Even if all this is true, it's still going to need some work - pads, valves, bushings, tuning - so I'd say Roger's not far off on the value, but what you can expect to sell it for might be a little less. Best of luck Alex West
  4. I don't know how many were watching the musical instrument auction at Gardiner Houlgate on Friday - there was a Lachenal 20 button Anglo, a Lachenal English and a Wheatstone English, all of which went within the auctioneer's estimate. The stars of the show were the two unrestored 30 button C Jeffries Anglos. One was bone buttoned, the other had metal buttons. The keys and pitch could not be determined as both instruments were unplayable. The ends of the bone buttoned box were glued down so the reeds could not be inspected. The bone buttoned box went for a hammer price of £3,300 and the steel buttoned box for £4,800, so that's a cost including buyers premium and VAT of £3,869 and £5,628 respectively. Nice Christmas presents for somebody? Especially the vendors Alex West
  5. Having visited the Horniman to compare a concertina I was repairing to one in their collection, I'll share my story. My concern was that I wanted to get my concertina as close to the original as possible, knowing that some changes had been made to mine over the years which certainly hadn't improved either its performance or its looks - so I wanted to see an instrument as close to mine in manufacture as possible. The Horniman had such a beast so I made an appointment to visit. They couldn't be more helpful. The concertinas not on display are not at the museum but in a storehouse near the O2 dome. The staff were very concerned that I wasn't going to harm the instrument in any way or introduce foreign elements (like swap reeds or bring contamination in) so there was a fair amount of procedure to follow and they watched me very carefully - but they did let me disassemble their instrument, take photos, make measurements and make notes. It's not a display environment and the instrument had to be brought out of storage to a place where the inspection could be made. There was no possibility of "while I'm here, can I also try these 5 others and give them a run through as well" A few things surprised me: This instrument was clearly not a prime example - there didn't seem to be an "minimum entry standard" for what comes into the collection The instrument wasn't in great shape - it was falling apart and nothing had been done to it to either restore it or to prevent it getting any worse (apart from putting it in a cupboard and not allowing anyone near it). Inside the instrument was a moth carcase - it clearly hadn't been cleaned or fumigated as part of the entry process (so there could be live bugs in some of the instruments?). As part of the inspection, one of the key bushings fell out. The museum attendant was a little perturbed, not knowing whether to let me put it back where it came from (which I had the competence to do) or leave it where it fell inside the instrument as a "legacy" to avoid any process which might look like restoration. I acknowledge that some of the above is a matter of museum policy and that some museums take a different line on conservation (Tom Wheatcroft's racing car museum at Donington Park in the UK used to take pride that all vehicles in the collection had been restored to a driveable state and often were - at least once a year!). I also acknowledge that the Horniman doesn't have funds to be able to repair everything. Most of their collection appears to be from Neil Wayne's collecting and I doubt he had the time or money to be able to get everything back to playing condition. But it's interesting isn't it? How many of the Horniman's instruments are truly valuable, unique and have a lesson to give to the future? Should they have a policy of only keeping the best or most representative of a type or a manufacturer? If they decided to sell (does the terms of their acquisition allow them to?), would their release on the market satisfy those who wish to see more vintage instruments at a reasonable price? Would certain dealers be out of business at a stroke? Answers on a postcard please! I'll repeat though - as long as I followed their process, the staff couldn't be more helpful and it was a very useful visit for me. Alex West
  6. Hammer prices were £2700 for the 50 key, £2750 for the 37 key and £3300 for the 46 key, giving cost to the buyer of £3321, £3383 and £4059 respectively. With the work that needs doing on them, they may still give a decent margin for a dealer and hence a relative bargain for a private individual, as long as the eventual user really wants a big Bb/F or a slightly peculiar 37 key instrument. The ultimate value is hard to judge in today's climate. I've heard conflicting stories recently about the bottom having dropped out of the market or instruments changing hands for £8 to £10k (I'd guess that the big money is still in a first rate fully restored original C/G 30 key C Jeffries) I'd be very interested to know what was written inside the right hand end of the 37 key though! Alex West Edited to correct wrong VAT rate!
  7. I went to see Bonhams this week. I didn't have enough time to do a complete check, but I can confirm that they are all anglos. I couldn't do enough checks to see whether they were converted duets. The most straightforward one is the 46 key. It's in Bb/F concert pitch (A=440) and is stamped C Jeffries maker. Metal handrials and fretwork consistent with other large Jeffries. The open sides didn't seem to increase the volume significantly The 37 key has fretwork very similar to an early C Jeffries but it's stamped C Jeffries 23 Praed St in the oval and the buttons are a large diameter. It's sort of Bb/F - but at A=470. My tuner set at A=440 would read it as a B/F# The 50 key is again stamped C Jeffries 23 Praed St in the oval. It appears to have come from the US and is in Bb/F at A=460. The fretwork is not like other large Jeffries with metal handrails that I've seen. All of them need work and there are issues with the bellows, minor issues with reeds on a couple of them and a problem with end bolts on one of them. I've stuck to facts rather than opinions. I'm reluctant to say much more as I've taken the trouble to go and see them and am still mulling over bidding, therefore anything I say could be construed as either talking the price down or as encouraging someone to pay silly money based on opinion. I'd be interested to know what others think of the morality or otherwise of this. What they're worth depends on whether you're a player, collector or dealer. They'll likely go for a lot of money and at that value, if you're interested I 'd suggest you take a look for yourselfd and see if they suit your purpose Alex West
  8. I saw the instrument and it was everything that Fiona and her expert said it was. I'm still curious as to how he dated it to 1870, but I'm sure he's seen more than I have. The fretwork didn't seem as fine as others I've seen and the C Jeffries stamp seemed to be a different font than the more common one so maybe that's a clue. The action seemed robust, with no apparent wear on the most heavily used levers (but one missing - stupidly, I didn't check whether the levers were brass or steel). I couldn't see more of the reeds than just a part of one or two through the pad holes but they seemed relatively rust free. Given the amount of work to be done on it and allowing for a few surprises once it's opened up, I'd say the price was about right. A dealer wouldn't make much out of it but if you could do most of the repairs yourself, a player might get a nice instrument - depending on how it plays once all the work is done of course Alex West
  9. But be very very careful, neatsfoot oil can damage the adhesives and the card used in concertina bellows. It's designed for horse tack, not concertinas. If you only use small quantities you may be safe. Another problem with neatsfoot is that it remains oily for a long time so the surfaces you treat will be more difficult to clean because the dust that always accumulates in the bellows folds will not easily brush out. I would not put neatsfoot oil anywhere near a concertina bellows. I don't know where the idea comes from that shoe cream is bad for shoes. I've seen no evidence of that myself and I've been wearing shoes, and polishing them, all my life. I think you are quite safe with some black shoe polish. It leaves a waxy surface coating which will act as a lubricant in the areas of the gussets where there are tight folds. It is the rubbing of leather surfaces in these folds that causes the squeaking, and in the long run may result in some wear on the edges of folds. Theo I was told some time ago that certain shoe waxes and polishes (not creams) had too high a solvent content to be considered good for shoes. That person hated "Kiwi" and swore by "Cherry Blossom". Now I guess formulations change but I'd guess it's still possible that polishes with a high naphtha or ethylene glycol content would be less good than a high wak content or solvent free polish or cream. Either way, a polish is going to be better than saddle soap, conditioners and oil. One repairer did suggest that I used lamb fat on a particularly stiff set of bellows and I was all ready to put the roast on until he told me that was a local slang for a particular kind of wax dressing! Alex
  10. There was also a sale at Gardiner Houlgate down near Bath on 20th March with a few concertinas including a John Crabb and a C Jeffries. Only a couple of pictures on their website and they told me that the Jeffries was "pretty ropey as the bellows are shot" No idea of the keys, no idea of the reed condition and too far away for me to inspect, so a total cost to the buyer of £4221 seems quite healthy in the current economic climate. New bellows, complete overhaul and on the market with a dealers profit for £6000 plus? Still seems a better deal than the recent eBay C Jeffries junior duet Alex
  11. Hmm How wide is wide Stephen, Paul? I've a 1926 30 key Linota with ebonised ends where the keys are 5.75mm diameter Alex
  12. Dick I can certainly put a name to one of the players - ie myself! David Corner is in the picture as well, but I can't remember the names of the others at this particular workshop. There were several other concertina players at the event (besides the guests), including at least 3 anglo players from Aberdeen, one from Gourock and a chap with a very fine Dickinson Wheatstone who played Swedish tunes. Theo Gibb was also on hand, selling and repairing and playing at the sessions Alex West
  13. I've a Victorian D/A Crabb which has steel levers. It's certainly not low end, but it's the only one I've seen like it Alex
  14. Hi Dave Here are a couple of photos of the heart of the instruments (warts and all)! The R11 is written in lead pencil and I noticed that Paul Schwarz Jeffries had R14 written inside. If you look at the two images next to each other the writing is very similar. R is obviously for right but what is the significance of the numbers. http://i533.photobucket.com/albums/ee335/sjr_021/R11.jpg http://i533.photobucket.com/albums/ee335/s...WheatstoneL.jpg Regards Sue Sue The pencilled numbers are most likely batch numbers. Unlike Wheatstone, Jeffries didn't have a ledger and a sequential numbering system(so far as is known). The number 11 would be to ensure that all the elements of that concertina in that batch were kept together during maunfacture/assembly. Alex
  15. Will Duke's Crabb has Crabb gilt embossed handstraps. Since they have a "Crabb, London N1" address, I presume they're from the Liverpool Road era, but possibly Geoff Crabb still has the irons? Alex
  16. I had this pegged as a Jeffries from the Praed Street years before they were badged as Jeffries Bros. Given the recent results from eBay and auctions where scruffy looking unrestored 38 key instruments of unknown history have sold for total costs of over £4,000 and over £5,000, £3,600 for a respectable looking instrument where one could talk to the seller and hear it played before purchase seems very reasonable - even if there remain doubts over the key, the quality of the reeds and so on. I know a 45 key box with metal hand rails isn't the most popular, but I'd have said this was a bargain (or exactly the right price and the others were aberrations!). Alex West
  17. Here's a couple of pictures of the case which Dan saw. It's made by Melano - a case company based in the Netherlands. From what I can tell of their website, the box I have is from the Serie Select range and is article number 4700-45. it's 450mm long, 200mm deep and 200mm tall. I fitted foam inside as a temporary measure to see if it worked (and may cover with cloth eventually) and it suits 2 anglos perfectly with space for some bits and pieces. I got mine from a yacht chandler in Stavanger and saw that today's price is NOK699 which equates to about £70 - although one can also get a tax discount. I've no idea what they'd cost from a "regular" supplier - or even where they might be in the UK. I wouldn't say it's watertight or thermally insulated but it's certainly robust enough for hand luggage on airplanes - mine's been across the Atlantic a couple of times. Mine came with internal strap loops for tools and hardboard reinforcing which makes it slightly heavier and more robust. Their models 4520-45 or 5520-45 (I'm not sure what the difference is between Genuine leather and Full grain leather) seem to be leather sided only and might be just as good. I think the 600 long model might be a bit tight for 3 concertinas. Alex
  18. Tallship Seems like a great idea - I know I've copied a few threads for my own files which I refer back to occasionally/frequently. What's the best way to proceed - build an archive in a separate folder somewhere? Alex
  19. Alan I couldn't get my tuner on it as there were other notes sounding in the background, but it was Bb concert against my recorder. If it was old pitch - A=454, then it would be sharper than concert - A=440, so C (old) would sound like C sharp (concert) and Bb (old) would sound like B (concert) - wouldn't it? So if it was old pitch and sounded like Bb (concert), could it be in A - I'd have thought that was unlikely But I agree, given that it was allegedly found in the corner of a loft, then tuned to modern pitch would also be unlikely; that's why I said I couldn't be conclusive Alex
  20. As Malcolm has said, the instrument isn't for sale and it is a scam. Ebay seem to be recognising it now - although maybe not as quickly as we'd all hope. It's a Jeffries Bros in Ab/Eb and it plays quite well although the bellows are very stiff. Steve Dickinson thought they might be Crabb but the pattern is very similar to a C Jeffries raised ended Praed St instrument I've seen recently. Of course it could be that Crabb was still supplying components to Jeffries well into the 20th century? It's a couple of ounces heavier than a 30 key G/D and an ounce or so heavier than a 38 key C/G. It hadn't been played since 1957 and was probably from the same Liverpool concertina band as the ex Kilroy box which is on Chris Timson's site, leaving for Australia in around 1924 If it comes round again, at least you guys know more than the seller now! Alex
  21. I called the seller today and got him to play a couple of notes from the left hand side middle and bottom rows through the telephone. The instrument is clearly passing air through a few reeds, but I think it's a Bb/F in something very close to modern pitch. From his description of the bellows, they have papers on but they're very tarnished and the existing repairs could indicate that a complete new set is required as well as what's needed on the action and the reeds. The seller clearly isn't musical, but had a good try to be helpful and didn't want to risk damage by opening it up and taking a look at the reeds - so there could be all sorts in there Not conclusive, but I hope that's helpful Alex
  22. Nils Funnily enough, that's exactly what I'm doing. I've got a 20 button Lachenal out on loan at the moment, plus I'm discussing loaning another instrument out and I'm fixing up a couple of English concertinas for a similar purpose. I'm based in Aberdeen, but as I said in an earlier post, I am frequently down in West Kilbride so a loan is possible Alex
  23. I've reported it. It's actually a Jefries Bros Ab/Eb now in concert pitch and fully re-furbished. The bellows were very stiff when I got it (and I suspect not original) and I haven't played it much since the re-tune - I'm just waiting for some small parts from Steve Dickinson before re-assembling it and starting to work it again Alex
  24. Paul This is a definite scam. This concertina is sitting on my shelf! (and I believe is the one you were scammed on shortly after I bought it?) Alex
  25. Well things are looking up on the West Coast! Welcome Roy! I'm working in Aberdeen during the week but travelling down to West Kilbride most weekends - My house is there but a lot of weekends are spent trying to sail. As far as I know, there are no regular sessions, and Jim Kane (who also frequents the forum from time to time) who lives in Greenock has to go into Glasgow for a mostly Irish sssion once a week. Best not post e-mail addresses within the posts - too much risk of spamming, but send me a pm and we'll try to find a friendly pub somewhere between Troon & West Kilbride to start our own sessions in! And I promise to try to get across to ACE myself this year! Alex
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