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Lachenal 20 button anglos on Ebay...


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I have been monitoring Concertinas on Ebay for a few weeks now. One thing that came to my mind is that there seems to have been a "standard" model made by Lachenal which is a 20 button + air button Anglo, wooden ends, bone buttons, 5 fold. On Ebay UK there seems to be at least one of these every single week, sometimes there are two or three on auction in parallel. As I write this, there are two up on sale, one in need for restauration and one fully restored.* I must have seen about 10-12 of those during the last couple of weeks.

 

Judging from the prices those instruments go for, it seems as if there is little virtue in restoring them - almost inevitably, the final price for those in need of restoration settles between 100 and 150 pounds, and those fully restored have a hard time finding a buyer at the (almost always asked for) starting price of 300 pounds. Depending on the state of the concertina, the work and material one has to put in to get the instruments in a good working order easily exceeds 100 pounds (and a restorer naturally also wishes to make some revenue on the project).

 

I suspect that many of those concertinas end up as reed donors - given that concertina reeds are hard to come by and those that are on sale tend to be dear (David Leese asks 7,50 for a used steel reed), buying such an instrument at 150 Pounds pays off even if only half of the 40 reeds are in working condition. Probably the buttons and pieces of the hardware can be reused as well, and if some collectors have enough carcasses piled up in their basements, at some point there'll be enough pieces left to put together one half way decent instrument from the pieces of x wrecks (which may at that point even pay off when sold for under or around 300 Pounds).

 

I'm just curious about the input from pro and semi pro restorers here. Have I just unearthed the secret of your trade, or stated the obvious that everybody knew already, or am I way off? What I find fascinating is that the same type of instrument only with a few buttons more (30 button Anglos) sells like crazy, brings in easily 1000 Pounds in good working condition and is well worth the restoration effort, whereas the poor smaller siblings are treated like, well, almost dirt? Guess that's the way the market works... maybe one of these days someone finds a way to upgrade a 20 button to a 30 button instrument with doable effort in which case the small boxes may shoot up in value again...

 

*

http://www.ebay.de/itm/260838897745

http://www.ebay.de/itm/170682655574

Edited by Ruediger R. Asche
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been monitoring Concertinas on Ebay for a few weeks now. One thing that came to my mind is that there seems to have been a "standard" model made by Lachenal which is a 20 button + air button Anglo, wooden ends, bone buttons, 5 fold. On Ebay UK there seems to be at least one of these every single week, sometimes there are two or three on auction in parallel. As I write this, there are two up on sale, one in need for restauration and one fully restored.* I must have seen about 10-12 of those during the last couple of weeks.

 

Judging from the prices those instruments go for, it seems as if there is little virtue in restoring them - almost inevitably, the final price for those in need of restoration settles between 100 and 150 pounds, and those fully restored have a hard time finding a buyer at the (almost always asked for) starting price of 300 pounds. Depending on the state of the concertina, the work and material one has to put in to get the instruments in a good working order easily exceeds 100 pounds (and a restorer naturally also wishes to make some revenue on the project).

 

I suspect that many of those concertinas end up as reed donors - given that concertina reeds are hard to come by and those that are on sale tend to be dear (David Leese asks 7,50 for a used steel reed), buying such an instrument at 150 Pounds pays off even if only half of the 40 reeds are in working condition. Probably the buttons and pieces of the hardware can be reused as well, and if some collectors have enough carcasses piled up in their basements, at some point there'll be enough pieces left to put together one half way decent instrument from the pieces of x wrecks (which may at that point even pay off when sold for under or around 300 Pounds).

 

I'm just curious about the input from pro and semi pro restorers here. Have I just unearthed the secret of your trade, or stated the obvious that everybody knew already, or am I way off? What I find fascinating is that the same type of instrument only with a few buttons more (30 button Anglos) sells like crazy, brings in easily 1000 Pounds in good working condition and is well worth the restoration effort, whereas the poor smaller siblings are treated like, well, almost dirt? Guess that's the way the market works... maybe one of these days someone finds a way to upgrade a 20 button to a 30 button instrument with doable effort in which case the small boxes may shoot up in value again...

 

*

http://www.ebay.de/itm/260838897745

http://www.ebay.de/itm/170682655574

 

I'm not sure whether this is the answer you are after, but I held that exact 'fully restored' listed concertina in my hands a few weeks back. I found splits in the internal folds of the bellows; at least three other leaks to the bottom corners; two reeds not voicing and cracks in the the wooden ends. I don't think the seller really has a great love for his concertinas that are placed on ebay. All his listings are generic, often including the phrase 'This is a fully working concertina. unlike other Lachenals whose innards are totally shot selling at this price!'. The sort of thing you might expect to hear from a market trader 'flogging' things off ...

 

Personally, I wouldn't pay £300 for it in that condition.

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Well, I've got one and I'm very fond of it.

 

It is light (particularly with respect to accordion reeded hybrids), easy to cart around, and much less bulky than a Rochelle.

As a beginner I don't really need all the accidentals, and I like the sound of the brass reeds. I don't need to rest it on my knee to play it so my playing style is noticeably different (to me!) It has its quirks but at over 110 years old I guess it's allowed a few.

 

If it got lost or nicked, well it's not the same as losing a £1500 plus box.

 

I bought it on Ebay as a non-player and got Marcus to do the necessary, and it owes me - £300!

 

 

I had intended to get it to restore myself but work is presently getting in the way. I might buy another one day. I would expect that a number do go to amateur restorers, it's not the end of the world if you mess it up and the end result if successful is nicer than restoring a Klingenthal box.

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PS I bought a similar "fully working" box from a well known and respected music shop, also on Ebay. It had a £600+ price tag still on it (I paid a lot less).

 

The end bolts were loose when it arrived, it had three bellows leaks sufficient to make it hard to play, it had new pads but one at least was badly fitted (visible through the end panel) and the note was intermittent.

The shop said they'd got some "well-respected" players to give it a go, on its return, and they couldn't see a problem.

Hmm.

 

I won't name them since I did get (most) of my money back. I wonder who's holding her(!) now...

 

So it's not a route for a total beginner to get an easy to play, cheap box without the guidance of someone more experienced.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I myself am very grateful for the number of Lachenal 20 button concertina's on ebay, I love 'em! I buy 'em, restore 'em, play them, and sell a few...I started in the late 80's with a borrowed Scholer, then bought a Klinenthal in '89, played a Lachenal owned by a friend(1991) that I sent to Frank Edgley for restoration and it was then that I realized the difference in quality, playability, and sound, and longed for one for ages...got a Stagi in 1999, but, still longed for a Lachenal...then, in 2001, I discovered Ebay! Since then, I have bid on dozens, and gotten about a dozen of varying conditions, and key configurations....they are much better built, better sounding, better playing, and much easier to work on, than any german, italian, or chinese made instrument(excepting Jurgen Suttner's instruments). Some people on here, or elsewhere may buy them for parts, but I think the vast majority of people buying them on Ebay want a good twenty button instrument they can afford, and even taking into account the cost of restoration, they are affordable, and worth it. And, they are not that difficult to get back into playing condition! Restoring a 20 Button Lachenal is a very virtuous undertaking, and a lot of folks on here do it to get themselves ready for the more demanind task of of 30 button Anglo's, and 48 button English's, at least that is how it seems to me...

 

As far as those being advertised as "fully restored", check on this forum first, so as to not have the problems encountered by the other posters to this topic...we know people on here selling concertina's who will not steer you wrong, this is a great group who actually looks out for one another in matters concertina related. (there is the other problem in that something that is "fully restored" in one climate may have problems after a journey to another climate, but, my mother is 91 and she doesn't like to travel either!)

 

The reason the 30 button Lachenals are in such demand is that they are the cheapest of the English made ones, and, being for the most part chromatic,are in vogue for playing Irish traditional music, since you can play in G AND D(as the vast majority of Irish Traditional tunes are), owing to the extra row of accidental buttons. Plus, they have the sound and playability most desired by trad players...

 

I think a 20 button Lachenal is at the least, a decent mid-grade instrument, at an entry level price. Depending upon the model, they can also be a professional level instrument, at no more than an intermediate level price. And, it being an heirloom, you won't lose money on it, unless everything collapses, and even then, you can still play them, and, they have that "honk"! Don't be afraid, jump in!

take care,

Don

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  • 5 weeks later...

I myself am very grateful for the number of Lachenal 20 button concertina's on ebay, I love 'em! I buy 'em, restore 'em, play them, and sell a few...I started in the late 80's with a borrowed Scholer, then bought a Klinenthal in '89, played a Lachenal owned by a friend(1991) that I sent to Frank Edgley for restoration and it was then that I realized the difference in quality, playability, and sound, and longed for one for ages...got a Stagi in 1999, but, still longed for a Lachenal...then, in 2001, I discovered Ebay! Since then, I have bid on dozens, and gotten about a dozen of varying conditions, and key configurations....they are much better built, better sounding, better playing, and much easier to work on, than any german, italian, or chinese made instrument(excepting Jurgen Suttner's instruments). Some people on here, or elsewhere may buy them for parts, but I think the vast majority of people buying them on Ebay want a good twenty button instrument they can afford, and even taking into account the cost of restoration, they are affordable, and worth it. And, they are not that difficult to get back into playing condition! Restoring a 20 Button Lachenal is a very virtuous undertaking, and a lot of folks on here do it to get themselves ready for the more demanind task of of 30 button Anglo's, and 48 button English's, at least that is how it seems to me...

 

As far as those being advertised as "fully restored", check on this forum first, so as to not have the problems encountered by the other posters to this topic...we know people on here selling concertina's who will not steer you wrong, this is a great group who actually looks out for one another in matters concertina related. (there is the other problem in that something that is "fully restored" in one climate may have problems after a journey to another climate, but, my mother is 91 and she doesn't like to travel either!)

 

The reason the 30 button Lachenals are in such demand is that they are the cheapest of the English made ones, and, being for the most part chromatic,are in vogue for playing Irish traditional music, since you can play in G AND D(as the vast majority of Irish Traditional tunes are), owing to the extra row of accidental buttons. Plus, they have the sound and playability most desired by trad players...

 

I think a 20 button Lachenal is at the least, a decent mid-grade instrument, at an entry level price. Depending upon the model, they can also be a professional level instrument, at no more than an intermediate level price. And, it being an heirloom, you won't lose money on it, unless everything collapses, and even then, you can still play them, and, they have that "honk"! Don't be afraid, jump in!

take care,

Don

I own my first ‘tina which is a Rochelle, a Morse, and a 24 button Lachenal. I love all three but for different reasons. Playability at a low price point is the Rochelle’s strength. The Morse is an exquisite instrument that plays like a dream. The little Lachenal, however, is the first instrument I reach for when I want to play a ditty in my living room. How it got there is the purpose of this post.

 

I bought her from Don through ebay as an instrument which he had replaced leathers and done some minor work. I paid $500 for her. She played, though not as well as I had hoped, and was certainly worth the money spent. Unbeknownst to Don, the Lachenal had two notes which didn’t sound fully when it got to me. Perhaps the folks at UPS or the climate here in the U.P. of Michigan were the culprits. Either way, Don wasn’t responsible and thought he was selling a perfectly playable instrument. The story could have ended right there but Don had followed up with an email asking how the Lachenal was. I explained and he immediately set up an appointment with Greg Jowaisis to have it repaired at no charge to me. Don proved that he was a stand-up guy who was good to his word.

 

Once the Lachenal went to Greg’s, he took a look inside and saw that the fix was minor. I had asked him to evaluate the instrument and recommend what else might be needed to make her a great instrument instead of a good one. Long story short, Greg added a new 7 fold bellows, rebushed all buttons, fixed the fretwork cracks, and adjusted the action. It added another $500 to the price of the instrument. But in the end I have a truly great instrument that sounds sweet and is quiet enough to play in my living room without scaring the cat for just around a thousand dollars.

 

I can’t say enough about the integrity of Don and the repair work of Greg. Thanks to these two fine folks I have an 1897 Lachenal that my kids are already fighting over who gets it in the will. A heartfelt thanks to both of them.

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Dave,

thank you for the very kind words, I truly am humbled by them...Greg should be used to it by now, as he is the best! And thank you for your trust and patience, and, for making me laugh out loud!(I had a very difficult day yesterday, where I had to change a tensioner pully and serpentine belt on my Cherokee in a cold rain, then drive from NJ to NY, soaking wet and cold, but your posting made it worth it, and the remark about your children made me burst out in laughter, really!) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Don

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Apparently there is a market for them in France, where the 20 key (and if memory serves, brass reeds) have a niche market.

 

I've hardly ever met another concertina player here in France, whatever the system and number of keys.

 

Maybe the use of the instrument in circus by clowns, you could call that a "niche", but a tiny one !

(and even in this context, I don't think there is a prevalence for 20 keys or any other system)

 

 

 

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Apparently there is a market for them in France, where the 20 key (and if memory serves, brass reeds) have a niche market.

 

I've hardly ever met another concertina player here in France, whatever the system and number of keys.

 

Maybe the use of the instrument in circus by clowns, you could call that a "niche", but a tiny one !

It seems they have all emigrated to the land of the Free(-reed)! :rolleyes:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005284YOS/ref=asc_df_B005284YOS1792334?smid=A1Q4A7YXTO45KY&tag=dealtmp5010-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B005284YOS

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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe the use of the instrument in circus by clowns, you could call that a "niche", but a tiny one !

(and even in this context, I don't think there is a prevalence for 20 keys or any other system)

 

David,

Interesting you should say that, because in Germany, too, most people associate the hexagonal, English style concertina with circus clowns. There's actually a concertina exhibited in the Museum of German History in Bonn. It belonged to a famous clown who was apparently very popular just after the war.

This concertina is neither Anglo nor English, and certainly not German (i.e. 20-button bisonoric). It's one of the duet systems with a piano-like arrangement of buttons on both ends. As I recall, it has too few buttons for a Rust system, but too many for a Jedcertina (though my memory may be deceiving me).

 

Cheers,

John

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Maybe the use of the instrument in circus by clowns, you could call that a "niche", but a tiny one ! (and even in this context, I don't think there is a prevalence for 20 keys or any other system)

David,

Interesting you should say that, because in Germany, too, most people associate the hexagonal, English style concertina with circus clowns. There's actually a concertina exhibited in the Museum of German History in Bonn. It belonged to a famous clown who was apparently very popular just after the war.

This concertina is neither Anglo nor English, and certainly not German (i.e. 20-button bisonoric). It's one of the duet systems with a piano-like arrangement of buttons on both ends. As I recall, it has too few buttons for a Rust system, but too many for a Jedcertina (though my memory may be deceiving me).

Could it be a "Cromatic" concertina? They were made in Germany. But that would mean a piano-style keyboard on the right side only.

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Could it be a "Cromatic" concertina? They were made in Germany. But that would mean a piano-style keyboard on the right side only.

 

Daniel,

The concertina in question was piano-style on both ends. Also, the illustrations I've seen of the German "Cromatic" have more buttons on the right than this one.

 

One disclaimer, though: at the time I visited the museum and saw that concertina, my paradigm of the hexagonal concertina was that it could be Anglo, English or Duet, and my knowledge of the duet systems was only superficial. I was not familiar with the Rust system or the Jedcertina at that time, so my visual impression was somewhat uncoordinated. I do, however, remember thinking that it must be some kind of duet, because the piano-keyboard layout wouldn't work bisonorically, and if it had been something like a cross between a concertina and an accordion, the layouts of the two ends would have been different.

 

I suppose it is possible that a prominent entertainer could have had an instrument specially made. If you've learned to play the piano, but your act demands the appearance and sound of a concertina, I suppose this would be the way to go!

 

Cheers.

John

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