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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. Steve I brought a Lachenal into the UK from the US last year so can quote figures. The instrument cost me £296 - the eBay seller's price. The instrument was over 100 years old so duty was zero and VAT was 5% - £14.8. ParcelForce charged £8 for handling it, presenting it to Customs, paying the duty and VAT on my behalf and then collecting the money from me. The seller originally put the full paid value of teh box on the package without stating it's antique status (over 100 years) so I was then charged £9.28 Duty (this is a funny percentage though -don't understand) and VAT on price plus duty at 17.5% - £52.39. A letter to HMRC explaining the dating of the box and quoting the number and the ledgers resulted in a refund of £46.87 - no further verification asked for. Not sure how it would work for a "collectable with historical significance" - maybe as simple as the vendor stating that on the documentation and a "friendly" customs man agreeing that? Alex
  2. Michael You could do worse than come up to Aberdeen for the Button Box & Moothies Freed Reed Convention on the October 26th - 28th weekend (come on, it's not that far really). As reported elsewhere, we've got Mary MacNamara, Vic Gammon, Simon Thoumire, Robert Harbron, Stuart Eydmann and Frances Wilkins from the concertina world (as well as local players and guests and a whole bunch of other non-piano accordion free reed players/instruments. Alex West (Somewhere in Aberdeen)
  3. It's here Wheatstone Duette Sadly the only concertina in a recent Sotheby's listing Alex
  4. I've taken this photograph of a Jeffries Bros Aflat/Eflat raised end 30 key old pitch which has the number 7.23 stamped next to the RH metal hand rest. Actually, I thought it was 7.2 until I took the hand rest off and found the full number. The instrument went out to Australia in the 1920s and I was told that the original owner had it from new as a baby - not sure if I believe that. Chris Timson has told me that one of his previous instruments had a No 2.23 in a similar place but the instrument key and style were quite different, however since that instrument came from a Liverpool concertina band, maybe this one has a similar background Does anybody else have other clues or corroborating evidence to indicate whether this stamping indicates that teh instrument was part of a set - possibly from a concertina band? I wonder if we could trace the whole set! Alex
  5. I'd be pretty certain it's one of Colin's labels. I've got one in my Dipper G/D, made in 1976 and one in a Jeffries which was cared for by Colin around 1977. As further "evidence", here's one of the other labels in one of them Alex
  6. $4551 doesn't seem a particularly high bid for a 30 key Jeffries - certainly not enough to "prevent" a defraud (how do you do that? if you place a bid, that's a contract to buy - don't you have to offer something stupidly high?). I communicated with the seller and the prospect of paying through an escrow account did ease my concerns a little, whilst I wasn't completely relaxed which is why I didn't go for a winning bid. He had a plausible story, but gave no extra information about the instrument which had me worried. I've not used an escrow service but I thought that it was up to the buyer to select the escrow provider - this should ease concerns over shady escrow services? Just possibly, it may be genuine and someone's got a bargain - albeit one which still needs work
  7. Chris Perhaps you already know of Graeme Smith and his research into Australian music (and the Irish conections) Graeme is easily Googelable or alternatively, I've got his e-mail address somewhere. Graeme plays a 2 row melodeon and was one of the founder members of Flowers & Frolics - he probably also knows where to find the members of the Bushwackers band (assuming they're lost). This connection may not be to the true bush music, but it might help you on the way Alex
  8. Wim I appreciate what you say about incompetent repairers destroying instruments by not considering the many complications involved in repair and restoration, but surely replacing pads and valves is at least relatively harmless as the process can be reversed (albeit by the subsequent use of the correct materials by someone who has teh necessary skills). The real nightmare would be incompetent tuning wouldn't it as the removal of metal is irreversible? I don't have any superior knowledge here, you will have seen many more concertinas than I have and you clearly have a very deep understanding of what makes them perform properly, but I'm a littel confused Alex
  9. Hilary I've sent you a PM with some suggestions Alex
  10. I don't know your liquid hide glue, is there a UK equivalent? anyone? Dave I got a liquid hide glue called "Titebond" from Axminster in the UK. It seems fine for all sorts of concertina purposes but it is hygroscopic and it remains tacky now for a long time where it would set hard when it was fresh Alex
  11. My recently acquired Duet is a 50 key Jeffries Bros in C. So we're now up to 12! The Oval stamp is 23 Praed Street, but there is also (crude) stamping on both ends for 12 Aldershot Street, Kilburn NW6. I'm not sure if this gives an indication that this is a late model or not (pure speculation, but perhaps C Jeffries Junior took some of the materials which had already been stamped as 23 Praed Street Jeffries Bros when he set up on his own. Was this an early way of him branding his work?). The fretwork is more similar to a "standard" Jeffries 38 button anglo than to the duets and larger anglos I've recently here and on e-bay. Mine needs a bit of work on it and there are indications in the box that it hasn't been played seriously (if at all) since 1942
  12. I was the buyer of the very recent Jeffries Duet on eBay at £1950. Next highest bidder was £1850 so there's a market at that level. I seem to recall another duet on eBay a couple of months ago and my recollection is that it sold for over £2000 but my memory may be faulty here - I couldn't locate it when I did a search for completed items. Don't yet know the condition but there will inevitably be some fixes to make in valves and pads. The fret patterns appear significantly different between the duets, even in ones of apparently similar vintage. Some are like Juanita's with "vertical" patterns, some are more like a larger anglo which are more floral. Is there any significance in this? Any thoughts? It looks like you got a bargain Peter! But they're all cheaper than anglos. If half the value of a concertina is in the reeds, then we've got a value equivalent to 1 and a half 30 key Jeffries which seem to go for £4000+! Although the real value of any concertina is surely in the music they make - priceless Alex
  13. Maybe this link has appeared before but I found this site amusing - and a good reference to accordions and concertinas in movies www.mediarare.com/MRFilmSq.html Alex
  14. As has been said in previous threads, the market decides the price and, as high as $5350 sounds, it doesn't seem totally out of line. I did a quick estimate of costs - obviously individual's circumstances would vary, but here goes, assuming a UK buyer. In adddition to the purchase price, there's the cost of money transfer - bank charges and exchange costs. There are also freight costs and import VAT - which fortunately would be 5% as it's over 100 years old and therefore an antique. This lot would push the cost up by £230 before getting it into the UK. As to repair, assuming a fully professional job, an action rebuild is going to be of the order of £200 with straightforward tuning at around £250. A replacement reed could be £5-10 and bellows I'm guessing at, but they could be £300 or so. The work required to get the reeds in a state for tuning could be over £100 and if the instrument is in an old pitch, then allow a bit more for extra tuning time. The action pan crack is going to take a bit of work to make it look beautiful and the exterior woodwork needs a bit of work - say £50 as an estimate? There may be other things go wrong during the repairs which would push the cost up and there's the cost of shipping to and from a repairer. The total comes to around £4300 - and for that you've got a fully restored smart looking modern pitch C Jeffries 39 metal button concertina. If you're a player, you've possibly saved a bit on the cost of a pristine one from the market assuming it plays well at the end of all the work. If you can do the work yourself to an acceptable standard, the costs would be less. If you're a dealer, you'll be looking for a profit - and I've no idea what the mark-up might be. Alex West
  15. Many thanks to all those who replied both on and off forum. The consensus - some of it very expert - is that it has a number of features which look like Crabb manufacture and there are certain similarities with Shakespeare. It doesn't look anything like the only Ball Beavon I've been able to see (apart from some action similarities which again could point towards a Crabb origin. I'm pretty certain it's not a Jeffries - not enough points of similarity - and it's possible it's had a few repairs - maybe even the raised fretwork ends are a remake? Given that there's no positive identification, the instrument remains a mystery. I hope I gave my friend good advice and she has a fair price for it Alex West
  16. Malcolm The mystery one-armed concertina player was Dave Brady of Swan Arcade (from whence came Jim Boyes, now of Coope, Boyes and Simpson). Nostalgia's OK, but it's not what it used to be! Alex
  17. Paul Very sorry you were caught by this. I haven't been checking out the eBay listings recently but I understand that the one you were caught by was the Jeffries which was advertised in Australia back in January. Lots of people thought that was a scam as the seller had a private listing and was also de-registered from eBay halfway through teh process. The good news was that there were genuine reasons and I ended up buying the concertina using a trusted intermediary. I didn't pay any money over until we were both absolutely sure that it was what teh vendor said it was. It doesn't help you I know, but my experience was that not everything that looks like a scam is a scam. However I was biting my knuckles until the box arrived a couple of weeks ago! I'll post separately on the Australian Jeffries sometime later when I've got to grips with it all. It's a high pitch Ab/Eb and the bellows definitely aren't supple! Alex West
  18. Martyn Perhaps it's not clear from the photographs but it's a riveted action. There seem to be certain similarities between this fretwork and the Shakespeare English that's in the Horniman (www.horniman.ac.uk/music/music/fra_data_10_58.html), and the McCann duet that's on eBay at the moment so I'm tending towards the Shakespeare theory Alex
  19. I've been sent this concertina to see if I want to buy it, but I'm having difficulty identifying it. There are no signs of a maker's mark, although the metal ends look like a roughly executed Jeffries pattern. It seems to be a 38 key Bb/F in an old pitch. A=449 is what it measures on my meter. Some of the notes seem to be in odd positions - I haven't mapped it fully yet but there are a couple of Csharps right next to each other on the left hand draw accidental row for example. It's got raised metal ends and the buttons are all metal. The bellows are plain and are quite flexible - the inside card is quite thin. Not fully airtight but not bad, but look more like a leather cloth than full leather - they don't look as substantial as a Jeffries. The pads and valves are pretty shot, but the instrument plays in tune with itself and is quite a nice tone - not very loud though. The keys are all nicely bushed but the plywood bushing board doesn't look as though it's ever had any felt in it. There are no signs of a maker's mark, although the fretted ends look like a Jeffries pattern. The Vickers name is plastered all over the inside of the pad plates and there's some indication of the name of a previous owner - and what looks like a date but it's been scribbled over. The reeds are a tad rusty and don't look desperately consistent - some with flat head screws and some with round heads. On some, the tongue screws are right at the edge of the metal - they look to be barely gripping I've been told (by someone who hasn't seen one) that it could be a Shakespeare, but I read elsewhere that Jones and even early Crabbs didn't always have a maker's identification. Can anyone help? any ideas? Alex West
  20. Chaps, I was the high bidder on this item and don't worry, I haven't paid any money over. I am in touch with the seller, he has a very genuine sounding story - there is an issue which eBay are looking into with him, but he has a plausible excuse and I hope to be able to conclude a deal with him. He certainly seems to be acting in an honest way to his difficulty. I have a bit of an issue with eBay in that the maximum bid system seemed to whack me straight up to the limit of the maximum bid rather than just increment it by just enough to beat the previous high bidder. There may be an explanation there. I'm in the UK, and have friends in the Sydney area willing to go and take a look at the instrument - and the seller - to establish credentials. However, they are non-concertinists and non-musical from what I remember. With your permission, Malcolm, I'll contact you off the open forum to see if the seller is in your neck of the woods Alex West
  21. Try this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Vintage-Mahogany-Woo...1QQcmdZViewItem Alex West
  22. My apologies; when it comes to quality, we're in the realm of opinions. I may not be best placed to make clear comparisons and everyone will have their own opinion as to what makes the besy sound and what is the best concertina or best period for a particular maker. However, there is at least a historical distinction to be made between the concertinas which C Jeffries made himself, those which the Brothers made and the ones which were made for him by others. Maybe it's splitting hairs, but if C Jeffries didn't actually make this (or have it made in his workshop under his supervision), then it can't be one of his best. Other people - and Geoff Crabb is probably one of them - will be better placed to judge whether a Crabb/Jeffries is of similar quality to one of the later Jeffries Still seems a lot of money! Alex
  23. Whilst agreeing with Rhomylly that the starting price seemed high for a complete rescue job, the market sets the price. Here are a couple of pictures which the vendor sent me taken thrugh the holes in the bellows. There's going to be a lot of work needed to the reeds, let alone the action and the bellows. Also, this doesn't seem to be a Jeffries from the top drawer; although it has the C Jeffries maker stamp, it appears to be from the era when John Crabb was making them and before he made his own (according to the history articles on this site. The case is certainly not a Jeffries case. I'm not suggesting the vendor is misrepresenting - he makes it clear that he's not an expert, so caveat emptor. It's more slightly worrying that one of the questioners of the Japanese Jeffries tries to suggest that it is one of the best that money can buy and could be Kimber's concertina - a ludicrous suggestion. I do wonder who will get the job of restoring the English Jeffries, what he'll try to sell it for after restoration, how it will play and how it will be described then The selling price certainly seems well out of line compared with the genuinely top of the range lovely Wheatstone 46 key McCann Duet which went for £1260 something a couple of weeks ago. Alex
  24. According to the Horniman Ledgers, it's an 8 sided 67 key Duet (were they all McCanntype fingering?) of type 39 - the best quality - made in 1911. Sounds like a very nice instrument Alex West
  25. We live on a farm and when practising outside in the summer, (a morris jig with my wife dancing), we noticed after a while that all the cows were lined up against the fence watching and paying quite close attendance. I tried testing them later by waiting until they were at the end of the field, then started to play. Sure enough, after about 30 seconds, they came running up to the gate to see and hear what was going on. Obviously wasn't the wife's dancing then! The best audience I've ever had except they didn't clap much and didn't leave anything worthwhile in the hat afterwards. Alex West
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