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LeadFingersErnie

What Price A Badge?

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Here's a topic for discussion folks: How does the presence or absence of a makers' badge on a concertina affect its value. Those of us who take them apart can tell by the works (and internal labels) who made the beast, but what about the rest of the world?

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Surely an instrument is only as good as it sounds and plays, irrespective of what it says on the label.

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Speaking as a member of 'the rest if the world' fairly early in the process if being sucked into concertinadom, the fact that my concertina was labelled wheatstone did give it a little edge over another similar instrument that was available at a similar price at the time. Partly because I knew that there was the possibility of finding an entry for it in the ledgers, though. And not enough to make me disappointed to be told that it was actually made by Lachanel using his methods and machinery in his workshop during the period he was working for Wheatstone. The crucial factor was really that this instrument was at a location near enough to try it out before buying.

 

Really, though, is there a 'rest of the world' that has any interest in concertina prices? Or just less experienced citizens of the kingdom of the concertina?

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Badges are about Trust and Confidence and we use these all the time to select products in our normal daily lives. We are used to looking for 'the Make' ( of vehicle, Cheese, soap,clothing etc.) and the same with concertinas, all based on experience or hearsay evidence I guess.

 

I am a musical instrument maker myself and I know all too well how important a good name is. We all like to put labels on things .Look how important a Brand name is... we've all heard the story of how some smart fellow registered the label Coca Cola in some obscure country that had just come into being.. and how much the real Coca Cola brand owners paid to gain control of that situation. So, part of our confidence in a Badge is due to the work done by the Name owners to maintain the quality of their product.

 

An Anglo that looks like a Jeffries but does not have that little stamped " C.Jeffries" on the grill is Worth, what, half as much ?

 

For my part in looking for a Wheatstone it is all about the Period. The price is the price but is the period one that I would have confidence in ? Long experience has shown that I am more likely to be happy with a Wheatstone from certain periods... it is all a matter of what suits .

 

A Wheatstone without a badge is still a Wheatstone and certainly the models from the 1880's onwards (approx.) are very distinctive in their construction, and the value dépends on the other factors; size, range, type, condition etc.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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It is usually fairly easy to identify instrument manufacturers by looking at the fretwork style and the way the action is put together. Serial numbers are also a good indication, but this falls down with some of the Anglo manufacturers. Especially Crabb/ Jeffries and the crossover in manufacturing.

 

If you want a good visual resource have a look at the concertina museum site set up by Neil Wayne and Chris Flint. I usually make sure i identify instruments when they come to me, and if I have a reproduction of the appropriate manufacturer's label then I usually provide it as part of refurbishment

 

 

Dave

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... the fact that my concertina was labelled wheatstone did give it a little edge over another similar instrument that was available at a similar price at the time. Partly because I knew that there was the possibility of finding an entry for it in the ledgers, though. And not enough to make me disappointed to be told that it was actually made by Lachanel using his methods and machinery in his workshop during the period he was working for Wheatstone.

 

I think there is, and always was, a cachet about having a Wheatstone, rather than "merely" a Louis Lachenal, even if it was manufactured for Wheatstone's by Lachenal and, between 1858 and 1864, would have been exactly the same instrument, made in the same factory, by the same people, using the same materials, tools and machinery.

 

Indeed, even when the instruments were brand new, the one labelled C.Wheatstone & Co. was more expensive... :huh:

 

Louis Lachenal used to be a greatly misunderstood and underrated figure in concertina history, who was claimed to have left Wheatstone's taking a set of concertina-making tools with him, and some of the workers, and it was to try and rehabilitate his reputation that I chose to research and establish the facts, and to write about him.

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