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  1. A friend of mine has owned this instrument for many years but never learnt to play it. Now he wants to sell it to help fund a building project. I’ve offered to help him. My question is should he sell it in its current condition or refurbish it first? Normally my advice would be the latter since most people want an instrument they can play without the delay and uncertain cost of repairs etc. In this case, though, the instrument seems to be virtually untouched since the day it was made. It might be more attractive to buyers in that condition. The serial number (11432) suggests it was built in about 1860. Wheatstone’s sales ledger shows that it was sold in July 1862. It’s the most expensive intstument on the page which presumably gives some indication of its quality. It seems to have spent most of its life in its tea-caddy case in benign environmental conditions. There’s no sign of cracking, warping or swelling in the woodwork. The bellows are pristine. There are no nail marks round the buttons and the buttons show no signs of wear. The end bolts are undamaged and there’s no damage to the wood round them. Open it up and the inside is as clean as the day it was built. All 96 reeds play. The only two issues are one broken thumb strap and half the valves curled up from being stored on its side. The broken thumb strap was almost certainly caused by pulling it out of the case after someone jammed it in by not aligning the knurled thumb screws with the groove in the case. Tuning: It sounds pretty good. I’ve been able to check some notes against a guitar tuner and these are between about 5 and 25 cents sharp. The D# is different from the Eb and likewise the G# and Ab. So it is probably in old high pitch and some sort of meantone tuning - possibly never touched since it was made. I’d welcome any advice before putting it up for sale.
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