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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. I'm looking to sell this Rock Chidley English concertina which I've had for a couple of years. The instrument is number 1698 which dates it to between 1850 - 1860. The sharp eyed will recognise this from the eBay listing which I bought it from. I believe it had come from South Africa where it had been extensively modified - the bellows, buttons and fretwork are clearly not original. It needed a lot of work when it came to me; it hardly played at all so I worked on the action, reeds, bushings valves and gaskets and it's now a reasonable player - but I'm never going to get to grips with the English system so it has to go. The bellows are very good - they look as though they're going to be stiff but they're actually very supple. The action is pretty good for an old, hook style action and the whole box is now in concert pitch. It's obviously not a collectors piece so I'm realistic about the price I expect - but I would like to get my costs back. It has some antique feel and genuine concertina reeds and I'd say it plays well enough for a beginner/improver. Any offers before I put it out to eBay? Usual donation applies to anyone buying from cnet Alex West
  2. It's worth a look at a book titled "Interview with a Vamper" by Peter Barnes. The author mainly plays for American contra dances but his range of techniques is vast and the style of accompanimnet is basically similar Good Luck! Alex West
  3. Michael I've got a piece of rosewood which I got from a luthiers supplier as a half guitar back. It's 8 1/2" wide, 21" long and 3/16" thick (but it is as sawn and still needs sanding). I got it for a similar project on a Rock Chidley and it cost me around £25 including postage a couple of years ago. There are lots of different types of rosewood as I'm sure you know and I can't remember which this one is Alex West
  4. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Miniature-Midget-Wheatstone-English-Concertina-1927-/350371363604?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item5193c2bb14 I'm slightly surprised no-one seems to have picked up on this. Price seems high but it might appeal to someone given the heritage and provenance Alex West
  5. I haven’t got a 30 key C/G Jeffries but I do have some measurements for a G/D and an Ab/Eb which I’m afraid won’t help you much. The short answer is that the measurements between the rows are not a constant, neither is the dimension between rows and handbar and neither is the handrail height. If you look at any of the pictures, you’ll see that the rows are set out along a slight curve and that the handrail is straight. What’s not so obvious is that the curve is tighter at the thumb end than at the little finger end – although even that isn’t totally consistent; some buttons are closer than others. The vagaries of 19th century manufacture! Alex West
  6. Hammer Price was £2,400. Buyer's premium at Gardiner Houlgate is 15% with VAT on top of that so total cost was £2,823 Alex West
  7. Alex West


    And so to the results. The 50 key Duet - £1900 The 30 key bone buttoned C Jeffries - £3500 The rough looking 39 buttoned Jeffries - £3000 The 36 key Wheatstone - £2100 All the above are hammer prices to which should be addedthe buyer's premium, the VAT which makes some of them on target and others look a bit costly? Alex
  8. Given that a less than top model 36 button Wheatstone from 1937 went at auction unrestored fopr £2100, plus buyers premium, VAT and restoration costs, it'd be a shame if this didn't fetch rather more? Alex
  9. http://www.gardinerhoulgate.co.uk/Catalogues/mi190310/lot0048-0.jpg The attached picture shows a concertina coming up for auction this Friday at gardiner Houlgate. Interesting and unique massive concertina made by C. Wheatstone & Co., to celebrate their centenary, with McCann duet system and steel reeds, eighty metal buttons on foliate pierced metal ends and ten-fold bellows, inscribed on both sides "Property of Phil Goldman", 16" x 16", case *This concertina is reputed to be the largest concertina in the world and once belonged to the famous bandsman Phil Goldman. More recently this instrument has been in the collection of Ruth Askew and is illustrated in a biography about her entitled 'A Maid and her Music, Memories, Melodeons and related reed instruments of Ruth Askew' by Paul Marsh, see page 102* Estimate: 2000-4000 There are a few lachenals also in the sale but nothing quite as spectacular as this! Alex
  10. Alex West


    If comparing prices, please bear in mind that buyers' premium and VAT will add a fair bit. Also, depending on the condition, you may need to add a bit for repairs, refurbishment, new bellows, tuning and so on. If you haven't inspected the instrument, then there's a fair bit of risk here andan auctioneer won't necessarily have listed all of the issues with any particular instrument - they are selling as seen. The Wheatstone does look a little low, but the year and the model number indicate that this is one of the cheaper models so it may not have brass reed shoes, screwed reeds, riveted levers and all of the things that the "best" Wheatsones have. Also, it may not be in C/G which could affect the value Alex West
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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!
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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