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'H.Crabb & Son', C/G Anglo 30 Button, Serial 17561, when made?


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Unexpectedly won an auction for this instrument.


It is an original condition 30 Key Crabb Anglo Concertina, having been lightly played but never overhauled etc, as the attached photo shows.


I would like to know when it was made, and advice on choosing a Texas based technician to check it out, evaluate for possible renewal of pads, and bellows touch ups.


Any help muchly appreciated, thank you.





Edited by Notemaker
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I don't know anyone in Texas, but I generally recommend Greg Jowaisas in Kentucky to players in the US.  I have shipped several concertinas back and forth to him for repair from California.


I would guess a date around 1960.

Edited by Daniel Hersh
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4 hours ago, Geoffrey Crabb said:

One of a batch of three (17561, 17562, 17563) made during April 1965.

Actually 30 button. The wind button is not usually included in the button count on Anglos.



Awesome ! Thank you Geoffrey.



Edited by Notemaker
Mistake spelling
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3 hours ago, Geoffrey Crabb said:

One of a batch of three (17561, 17562, 17563) made during April 1965.

Dare I ask about the date of 17496? I have 'guessed' that it was possibly late 1964(*), but maybe it's somewhat

earlier? I think it's a 30-button C/G, but I haven't seen it yet. It belongs to friend who has just sent it to a fettler

for a wash-and-brush-up, and pushed off to Germany so I can't post  any pictures. I think his mum bought it for

him, the family lived a couple of streets away from the workshop. I don't know if he has the original paperwork...


(*)Based on Wes Williams 2001 notes...

Edited by lachenal74693
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This is extraordinarily odd for me! Because even  though I previously owned an Anglo, and played a fair bit on that, I am mostly a Tremolo Harmonica player.

So here is the story of how I elected to get involved in the sale.

Trading on Ebay for other things I got an email alert for this item, and when I read about its origin, and the rich history behind that, I decided to have a go and bid on it. The seller did not know what key it is tuned to, and shared that the air valve key is not working.


Essentially, then, nobody in the sale knew exactly what the tuning of it might be, nor apparently did any come here to find out, even though the serial number was shown on the sale page. Perhaps that could not have been done in the 7 auction days allowed?


So bidding was not as much as it might have been, nor did it go anywhere close to today's market value for a 'H Crabb & Son' C/G Anglo Concertina in such super condition for its years. It was advertised as an antique ( it isn't BTW ), the super polite seller getting it from an estate sale. Antique dealer?


However I did not care what key it might have been in, a lover of Morris and Celtic tunes, I had a hunch that either it was in D/G, or C/G, even had it been in F/Bb etc, I resolved that I did not care and would buy if I could, because the history of this wonderful company is so feted with the making of superb Concertinas for well over a hundred years, I think they begun in the 1830s?


So enormous thank you the Geoffrey Crabb here on C/N for making this beautiful superb musical instrument. Below what I found when I took a close look at it.


It is a coddled and loved Tina, the bellows being supple and easy to use, it appears  to have spent most of its days, 54 years, in a case, with moderate to little use. And by the cleanliness and aroma of expensive perfume, I suspect it was owned by a female.


When received, the air valve assembly was found hanging off of the key, the post having come up out if its location on the board. Since I had previously repaired a Tina post which falling apart had to be replaced - I cold formed that from a steel small carpentry nail, including anviling the flat for the arm to connect, also making a tiny rivet and assembling etc - could see that I would be well able to re seat a perfectly good post that came loose.


What I did.

Carefully re-moved the A/V assembly. Inspecting the post hole, I find some kind of glue had been put there but did not soak into the hole, just blocking the top of it. So a dab of a utility knife blade - the really thin version that looks like a pencil - I was able to re-seat the post, adjust the travel of the button - the felt bushing appears to have been exposed to damp so it falls apart - and fitting a new tiny piece of Luther's felt to secure the button onto the arm. Re-seating the springs was very easy to do. My compliments to the maker who made such nicely formed springs. They almost fell back into place. Ok have to mention that in the past I have formed my own key springs, either from Piano wire, or the much softer Guitar string wire - So I have some idea of what I am doing with Tina button springs. However in this case the superb construction by the maker shows that even after half a century or more, the mechanics of this lovely historical work are as good as new. Again well done H. Crabb & Son.


Discoveries inside this lovely Tina.

Steel reeds in brass shoes - extraordinary quality! - what can we say about that but, wow!


Reeds tuning, there is but one a few cents flat, but fortunately on the very high end of the C row, a drawn note 'a'. I have no intention of messing with it because there is a perfectly good drawn note 'a' on the G row. Besides it would be a crime to alter what is so rare in these days of renovating older Tinas. I can live with the rarely used C row high 'a'.


Other things I would like to share.

I was absolutely floored that I won the auction, because I imagined there would be international bidding way into the high 3 k region for this barely used, and all original Crabb Anglo. But as it turned out my high bid, $2,222.22 cents, was more than enough to see off the competition.


Perhaps an 'Angel', or two, had a hand in my good fortune? Because having lived in London in the 1970's and being a folkie there is nothing I would more have loved to own, at that time, than such a beautiful musical instrument. Dare I mention Steve Turner? who I had the good fortune to hear in those years, and have still - someplace - one of his wonderful LPs. Now that's nearly an antique too ... like myself ...lol.


Too, related to my tinkering with stuff and love of English engineering, during those years, I found, bought and renovated a 1952 Velocette 500 CC motorcycle. Of my readers here, I wonder if any recall 'Geoff Dodkin 'Velocette'' of Sheen W London?  I managed to do that from a 4th floor bed-sit, and storing the big bits in the garden - a kind LL allowed me to ! - rebuilt the entire thing up from bolt screws to the finished like new magnificent Velocette Venom with flames coming out of the exhaust! I today often wonder what my LL thought of me? He was then about my age now, and I barely 20 years old.


I should quit here as there is so much this lovely Tina is bringing back to me, I might wear out my welcome.


In these Holiday times I hope you get as much joy from reading as I have from an  extraordinary and rare Tina. Again thank you 'H Crabb & Sons' for this one, and the many, many other bringers or joy to happy ears all over the world.


Happy Holidays to each and all.









Edited by Notemaker
Missing words.
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Notemaker, thank you for the kind words. However, the instrument was made jointly by my late father Henry Joseph (1911-1981) and late brother Henry Neville (1938-1989), I joined the firm in 1974 and worked on instrument ID No's 18455 onwards.



Roger, 17496 was made in June 1964.


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6 minutes ago, Geoffrey Crabb said:

Notemaker, thank you for the kind words. However, the instrument was made jointly by my late father Henry Joseph (1911-1981) and late brother Henry Neville (1938-1989), I joined the firm in 1974 and worked on instrument ID No's 18455 onwards.



Roger, 17496 was made in June 1964.


Thank you Geoffrey, the history of the lovely instrument becomes more and more fascinating as time passes. Perhaps there should be a museum in London for the Concertina making industry?


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On 11/22/2019 at 1:13 PM, Myrtle's cook said:

And a slightly different route to the same thing...



And for a Crabb concertina, specifically:


Not quite the same thing - Neil Wayne had been collecting concertinas and related things for a while before I first got in touch with him in 1970.  His collection was eventually sold in 1996, and purchased by the Horniman Museum, in London, which is the link Bill Crossland gave above. But could he keep away from concertinas? The answer was a resounding NO!  He continued to collect concertinas and related things and about 10 years ago decided to catalogue his 'new' collection on-line, with lots of hi-res photos of 'exploded' instruments, which is the link in the Myrtle's Cook post quoted here. That 'new' collection is privately housed in Derbyshire.


So if you want to visit a public museum with lots of free-reed stuff its the Horniman in London, which also has an on-site library with lots of concertina related documents.

End of thread creep! Sorry Geoff!

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