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Ivan Viehoff

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Everything posted by Ivan Viehoff

  1. I got it from Agnes She got it from Jim We all agree it must have been Louise who gave it to him Now she got it from Harry Who got it from Marie And ev'rybody knows that Marie Got it from me... I started listening to Tom Lehrer when I was but a mere stripling, and it took me a long time to work out what this song was about.
  2. What does "true value" mean? With a commodity like gold we can say what it is inherently worth, and then adjust the price for the specificities of the selling arrangements. For a one-off object, it is hard to separate the object itself from the selling arrangements. The present seller purchased the concertina in open auction on ebay, which I think was around about £3100, someone will doubtless correct me. Since the time of that sale, the price of concertinas has if anything fallen. Given that the present seller has mainly failed to get any bids on his auctions, and hasn't allowed any auction with a low starting price to go to completion, I think that remains the best estimate of the true value of the concertina we have, whatever "true value" means in this case. Someone suggested that a concertina of this specification and date would normally be worth the best part of £5000, given the reputation of Wheatstones of that period, provided these things could be warranted by a person of reputation. That is probably why the present seller thought he had a bargain and would sell it on for a good profit. One problem he has, aside from any issues relating to his own reputation, and the history of repeated non-sales, is that various persons of reputation have publicly said that this specific concertina plays peculiarly badly in comparison to its peers.
  3. I've followed every attempt he has made to sell this instrument, and although the guy clearly doesn't really "get" ebay, I think with time the nature of how he thinks has become clearer. I don't think we have seen rude gpanda for some time now, I think he has realised it doesn't help. I suspect he has, or has had, problems controlling his anger: during the earlier sales attempts he got angry when asked questions that exposed his ignorance, or else problems with the concertina. He was once particularly upset to be asked about the serial number (a perfectly reasonable question that turns out to be embarrassing in this case), but recently he has been open about the serial number situation. There was an early attempt to sell it where he put a sensible starting price on it (I think it was GBP2000), but he stopped it because a couple of days before the end there were no bids close to his ambition of selling it for rather more than he bought it for: a decision which exposed his distrust for the ebay auction market. Since then, he has mostly tried to sell it with a very high starting price, operating a bit like a showroom dealer rather than an ebay auction seller, but these never attracted a bid. At one stage he put it on at a slightly higher starting price each time it failed to sell. He twice pulled the auction because he put the decimal point in the wrong place in the starting price, as illustrated by immediately restarting it with a starting price 100 times higher. By recently trying to sell it with a starting price of €3500, and letting it run to completion (I think that is roughly the value of the bid he once got on the auction he started at GBP2000) he has for the first time shown an apparent willingness to sell it for less than he bought it for. He has grown up to the idea he might have to take a loss on this one. He must have been mortified he couldn't even sell it at that level today.
  4. As far as I can see, the auction with a €3,500 starting price went to completion with no bids. He must have been really upset about that, because he probably thought that even a pressure sale of it would get at least €3,500, after all that is a few hundred less than he paid for it originally. But I think the concertina market has weakened since then, and by now this concertina has a lot of history. I think the €99.00 starting price in the following auction was more likely a misplaced decimal point than a deliberate ploy to annoy bidders, because he has prior record of starting an auction with a misplaced decimal point. I think that he has long been following the strategy of putting a relatively high price on it, like a show-room dealer with a highly priced object in a shop window, he hopes one day someone will come along and buy at that price. But the €9,900 ridiculously high price was perhaps informed by anger at the recent outcome. He is still a person with an insufficient belief in the market to think that he will get a fair price if he starts the auction at €99 and gets a few bids on it. Quite so close to Christmas probably wasn't quite the best time also.
  5. This is a confusion over the difference between a lower case L and an upper case I. Best viewed in Times Roman so you can see the difference. Try http://www.lsped.com/ They would appear to be a recognised escrow service.
  6. Why didn't I feel any curious about the outcome when following the link... I am curious about the outcome this time. What's new is that the starting price is lower. And the wording of the ad makes it looks like he really wants to sell, whereas previously he was suggesting if you were special he might just let you have it. So perhaps he'll let the auction go to completion, unlike the two previous occasions when there was a risk he might sell it (the latter time because he put a decimal point in the wrong place). When he first got this concertina, there was a good chance he might have sold it at that price, after all it is rather less than he paid for it. But with all the messing around and the world moving on and that, well we'll just have to see.
  7. You also didn't say how it was tuned. If you don't say these things, buyers on ebay will tend to assume it is in old pitch, and it at least needs a basic restoration of the pads and valves, etc. But given that you got a bid of only got a $1700, and meer tattiness wouldn't halve its value, I think you need to do a bit more still to work out how to communicate that it is a concertina of quality.
  8. Is it because your arms weren't long enough to play it?
  9. A Very British Murder is a 3-parter on BBC4 about the British fascination with crime and crime writing, presented by the ubiquitous Dr Lucy Worthless. They had a nice concertina on in the first part yesterday - anyone recognise it or the player/singer - being used as an accompaniment for a song about William Corder, he of the Maria Marten murder in the Red Barn at Polstead. Probably about 2/3 of the way through, also reprised for the credits. You can watch it again for the next 3 weeks if you are in the UK (or of sufficient internet savvy to pretend you are in the UK). Linky: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01ftzlq
  10. Indeed but not usually on a 55-key, even from Wheatstone, though a rare exception did turn up recently. And not all Wheatstone 57-keys (as the 58-key is usually called - the extra key is an air button) do it either - in particular the early instruments usually don't. A 57-key was on offer on this website not very long ago, and they are slow to sell, so do have a look around, it might be still available. Because the market is very small, buying just the Maccann you want can take a little while, even though there seem to be more sellers than buyers in the market just now.
  11. So rare, that wikipedia doesn't have a page on it, and sends you to mellophone instead, which is a brass instrument. From what I can gather it has 7 strings, so presumably you can only press one button per row at once. What isn't quite clear to me is how the strings are made to sound, and how much contribution they make to the overall sound if there is also a free reed being sounded. It rather reminds me of that inimitable composer PDQ Bach, one of whose pieces was written for orchestra, bagpipes and lute - you couldn't hear the lute over the orchestra, and you couldn't hear anything over the bagpipes.
  12. Ivan Viehoff


    €5200, which failed to get any offers, is only a 2% reduction on £4600 at present exchange rates. Also it was an increase on the €4800 minimum bid he got no offers in his previous two auctions for this instrument. He did put it to auction recently with a minimum bid of €480, but he stopped that auction. It was clearly a misprint.
  13. Auction prices of restored vs unrestored instruments suggest that, unless you are a highly respected dealer or concertina restorer with a reputation for commissioning sensitive and appropriate restorations, you get better value by selling unrestored. It would be interesting to know what yours is in more detail. How many keys has it got, and what is the lowest note on each side, is usually the key info. Most Maccann duets lying around are 46 key (or smaller), and these usually don't make very much money unless they are rather rare high quality ones. There is a fair traffic in them so they usually sell on ebay at reasonably appropriate prices (though avoid quiet periods like summer hols). The rare ones aside, in restored condition they mostly fetch £500-£800 when sold at auction, and a good £300 or so of that is in the restoration. Larger ones (ie more keys) are mostly quite a bit more valuable. However the traffic in the market is very slow, not many of a given type are bought or sold in a year, and finding a buyer willing to pay a sensible price for them usually takes a bit more time and effort than putting it on ebay - can take several months for a deal to form. It may be worth advertising it here, or attempting to negotiate with a reputable dealer.
  14. I didn't follow this through properly before. I overlooked that his readvertisement is at precisely 10 times the previous starting price, ie €4,800 rather than €480. Plainly his "error" in the earlier listing was that he missed a zero off. He never intended to have that auction at all.
  15. The sale was terminated because there was "an error in the listing". Since I can't see any difference in the new posting, that looks like an excuse for termination he thinks he can get away with. As we know, the reality is that the bidders didn't bid high enough early enough to give him confidence he was going to get his target yield. The reality is that he has just alienated a bunch of bidders and the re-run of the auction is likely to go even slower than the previous time. He suffers from (fairly common, to be honest) misperceptions about how best to make use of auctions, and how markets for valuable assets work, which is a bit sad for a dealer selling valuable items on ebay, but I don't think necessarily puts him in the category that #8 suggests.
  16. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/English-Concertina-Wheatstone-/321135176337?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item4ac525ea91#ht_185wt_1057 And what's such an ancient beauty (though I guess not worth what he's asking) doing in Hungary?
  17. Cranes smaller than 48 keys in good restored condition are actually quite rare, and someone may be willing to pay a little just to have a small one, given that it covers a lot of what many people do with them. If we take it that a basic restoration of such a concertina is likely to cost £300 upwards, and observe the £500 starting price on the one that Algar is auctioning, we can see the reason why - not much margin on the restoration available. That said, the 42-key Crane does appear to have more potential as a beginner instrument than most other under-sized duets - certainly a lot better than a 39-key Maccann, given that even the 46-key Maccann has its deficiencies. People wanting to buy 48-key Cranes have usually had to wait for one to turn up and expect to pay not far short of twice that sum for one in good restored condition. Though so soft is the market these days you may be lucky.
  18. If your student is happy with a 46-key, I have available a Lachenal wooden-ended 46-key Maccann, for which I would accept less than half what Maccannic is asking for his superior instrument. It was fully restored within the last 5 years, though there are some details which I will acquaint you with if you are interested. Again I haven't been very proactive about selling it because the market is very sluggish. Probably if you were brave you could be very lucky on ebay, but obviously will have to wait for the right one and then may or may not find yourself competing against another serious bidder.
  19. Another point to bear in mind is that you aren't an expert in commissioning concertina restorations, nor do you have the advantage of bulk purchase like a dealer who commissions many restorations. Also there are a number of important judgments to be made, especially with high end instruments, so it is better to leave it to the buyer to commission the restoration as they best would like it done. Detailed photos with the ends removed so the action and reeds can be examined is advised, so that people can judge for themselves the condition, especially if its condition is fairly good rather than fairly bad, because with poor info people will guess fairly bad. Btw some instruments marked C Jeffries are (old) fakes because it has the reputation as being the most prestigious mark. So don't be offended if people seeing the photos are trying to assess if it is a real one.
  20. Strangely, someone recently said that larger better duets, the 65-75 key region, was selling very well at the moment and prices for these were going up (but the market for 57-62 was remaining a bit weak). I find this odd because in general I've noticed that most medium-large duets, whether medium or large, put on ebay over the last few years, often at very reasonable prices, have failed to sell. Indeed the market is very thin, a term which describes a situation where the number of buyers and sellers are small. In thin markets, the number of people actively looking at one time, either to buy or sell, is small. So buyers tend to be as disappointed about the lack of things available for them to buy as are sellers about the lack of people to buy what they have to sell, during those, often fairly brief, periods when they are putting effort into one or the other. But a little while ago people wanting to buy a Crane turned up much more often than those wanting to sell one. Someone turning up with one to sell usually didn't have to wait long to find a buyer, unlike buyers who could spend a year trying to find an instrument someone else hadn't got to first. But when concertinas rather better than the usual turn up, we need to bear in mind that there will often be a large potential market - people who have a concertina of more usual quality already and will upgrade at the appropriate time and represent a large continuiing potential market. That a Crane Edeophone 55-key would attract no interest at £1500 suggests that even those people aren't interested. I think there is also a broad phenomenon that most kinds of luxury and antique objects have a weak market at present, unless they happen to be just the thing that rich Chinese or Russians want.
  21. People on this forum often recommend the Rochelle from Concertina Connection as a suitable learner instrument. It is the only one of oriental manufacture that has been very carefully designed by an expert concertina designer, and thus actually works properly and retains some decent second hand value: there is some second hand availability if it was more than you wanted to pay.
  22. You were kind not to correct me in another matter; the Hayden system is in fact a perfectly uniform keyboard, but very cunningly designed to incorporate the diatonic scale in convenient fashion. But you have to go against its uniformity to use it muscially - when you play a scale you play three notes from one row and four from the next. Put it another way, two fifths doesn't make an octave. In the other case, perhaps my error was in thinking it was a Linton, perhaps they said it had some similarities to a Linton rather than being one. But plainly my memory lets me down these days.
  23. If much music were based on Schoenbergian 12-note tone-rows, then it would be an ideally convenient instrument. But in the real world our popular scales have 7 distinct notes with minor seconds and augmented seconds (in the case of the harmonic minor scale) fitted into the space of 6 tones in a necessarily asymmetric fashion. This makes most uniform keyboards rather inconvenient. The main exception to this is the Hayden/GermanNameIForgot keyboard, which is actually a bit less uniform than it looks at first glance, in that it does actually have the diatonic major scale embedded into it. There's another rare duet system which has a name beginning with L, Lintott or Lindon or something, which comprises columns or rows of 6 buttons at semitone interval, two cols/rows to an octave. There is an occasional poster on this forum who owns one and assures us that it is a nightmare to try and play.
  24. Ivan Viehoff


    It was previously priced in pounds, so that's actually a reduction on the £4,600 it was last advertised for.
  25. The seller shows a picture of a 55-key keyboard chart on the sale site. My guess is that the LH (which looks just like a 55-key LH) and lower part of the RH (which looks just like the lower part of a 55-key RH) are going to be exactly as for a 55-key, and confirmation of that would be a quick way of telling people most of what they need to know. But a standard 55-key has 30 keys on the RH and this one has only 27 keys in the normal locations of the RH. However it can't be just a 55-key with 3 high keys missing, because there are actually 4 columns of keys are missing a key relative to a 55-key arrangement, and one column has an extra key.
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