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capegal74

Wheatstone Serial 1371

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Hello all,

I would appreciate your help in identifying and learning more about this Wheatstone concertina that I inherited. It has a serial number of 1371, and was made by Wheatstone in 1847. It appears to be in good condition, as it still plays, but needs a bit of polish! The straps appear slightly worn, but are intact. I am not a player or collector, and would love to find a home for this concertina in the hope that someone might enjoy it..as it is just sitting around my home. Thank you for your time and help!

 

Mary

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Identify? It's simply a standard model Wheatsone from its day, with more hand workmanship in the making of it than those that started to be produced (at lower cost) with Louis Lachenal's machinery the following year.

 

The most interesting thing about this one is that it was originally sold to Richard Blagrove, who was a well-known virtuoso of the instrument, and concertina teacher, probably for one of his pupils - his name occurs twice more on page 60 of C1046, as does that of George Case (also 3 times), who was another well-known virtuoso/teacher.

 

It would have been considered a good instrument when it was made, but these days most players are looking for something louder, faster, and made later, with steel reeds - so that instruments like this one tend to be thought of as more for learners, or collectors.

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Thank you for the information you provided. Any idea of the value of this concertina? Can you recommend anyone that might be interested in adding this to their collection?

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Hi Mary, a lot would depend on how it plays, as there were an awful lot of the student-type like this made.

It's not a rare or sought after one, but it looks in good condition externally. But if it's not in good modern tune, it could cost as much to tune it, as to buy it in the first place.

So it's hard to put a value on something like that, without knowing how it plays. They don't really have a collectors rarity value.

 

You could look on past sales of Wheatstone English concertinas of similar appearance on ebay. You can do an advanced search, and tick "completed listings" or sold items, and see what comes up and what they sold for.

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... there were an awful lot of the student-type like this made.

 

That may be your 21st century perspective on this one Patrick, and if it is to be played on again it would most-likely be bought either by a learner and/or someone on a budget, or a player who wanted an instrument with a softer sound (either to accompany singing, or for practice), but when these were made they were exactly what virtually all Wheatstone's customers bought and played, including the virtuosi of the age like Giulio Regondi, Richard Blagrove (who actually purchased this one) and George Case - and, just occasionally, somebody buys one to play the original concertina repertoire of the time they were built.

 

Otherwise there were only plainer, less-expensive, mahogany models (sometimes denoted in the ledgers as P, for plain), or fancier and more costly ones in amboyna wood, whilst at that time all models had coloured ivory buttons.

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Yes, of course, in 1847 it was brand new, and would have been a big investment for anybody of ordinary means.

 

Materials were expensive, and making it was all skilled work, as they didn't have the machinery that we have.

 

And of course, in 1847 there wasn't the supply of good used instruments that there are today.

I wasn't saying it's the most basic model, it has nicer fretwork, which may be rosewood, or rosewood veneer.

You're quite right, what we would now sell as a learner instrument would have cost a significant chunk of money back then.

I'm guessing about six weeks wages for a man, and a heck of a lot more for a woman.

 

I would think today, it would be worth between £125 and £250 depending on your luck and whether it's in tune.

On a good day, maybe more.

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Yes, of course, in 1847 it was brand new, and would have been a big investment for anybody of ordinary means.

 

Materials were expensive, and making it was all skilled work, as they didn't have the machinery that we have.

 

You're quite right, what we would now sell as a learner instrument would have cost a significant chunk of money back then.

I'm guessing about six weeks wages for a man, and a heck of a lot more for a woman.

 

It's not without reason that Wheatstone's customers in the 1840s were generally wealthy and/or titled, so not "of ordinary means". I don't have a price for a 48-key rosewood-ended model in 1847, but I do have one for 1848 when they were advertised as considerably reduced in price [due to Louis Lachenal's innovative new machinery] and they were then 16 Guineas (£16,,16s, or £16.80 in decimals).

 

It's very hard to compare historical prices because there are so many factors involved, earning ability being of greater significance than simple inflation, in which case (according to the MeasuringWorth.com website) that would be the equivalent of £12,350.00 today!

 

It wasn't until Lachenal's 1862 price list that a cheap 2 Guinea (£2,,2s, or £2.10 in decimals) "People's Concertina" became available (and I've been told by the family that Elizabeth Lachenal, who was by then running the firm, was a Socialist.) That would be the equivalent of £1,362.00 today.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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£16.80 !! That's about twenty weeks wages for the average man back then ! ( I read somewhere that the average man's wage in the mid 19th century was about 17 shillings)

 

I had no idea that the early ones were so expensive. I had looked at later serial numbers and they seemed to be priced at six or seven pounds from memory.

 

Wheatstone must have cursed Lachenal, but I guess their high prices made it easy for him to start up.

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Thank you for your input, Patrick! I found a few on Ebay, and they seem to range from $500-$1000. Do you think I should post it for sale on this website or eBay?

Edited by capegal74

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You could try listing it on ebay and post a link here? I've never sold one here, so I'm guessing that's ok.

 

Be wary of scammers, however you choose to sell it.

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You might consider starting here (fees are lower, after all) and you find a good cross section of the folks likely to be interested in your instrument. You can always hit ebay later. That's been my practice, and I've never gotten as far as ebay!

 

Ken

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Yes, that would be the sensible option. The customary donation to this site is smaller and not up front like ebay, and it goes to a good cause, keeping a great website going, rather than making ebay rich. Plus it's not on a time-limit here.

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