Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
bigsqueezergeezer

Concertina Hoarding

Recommended Posts

I have noticed among the threads of this forum that several of the members refer to having a large amount of concertinas.

 

After a certain number ( I have no idea how many), it must collecting rather that owning to play different styles of music. Obviously supply and demand will force the price of instruments up, the less there are available.

 

So, should a concertina enthusiast consider this before making yet another purchase?

 

Derek (one anglo).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I don't know Derek. Most instrumentalists seem to aquire multiple numbers of their chosen axe. A colleague of mine teaches and plays the viola da gamba. I attended a rehearsal at her home and was delighted to see her collection of modern reproductions and ancient Italian instruments. She loves them and I for one would rather see them there with her where they will be played and cared for than who knows where.

 

Perhaps for you and certainly for me, I own only one instrument because I have other family members who have needs (college, braces, equitation lessons). Then there is the antique cottage we are always having to do something to.

 

I want many concertinas (banjos too), but only so much scratch to go 'round at the present time (me darlin' would firmly put her foot down should I openly speak of this need/want). Perhaps I shall live long enough for that situation to change (me brood out on their own planning for my declining years), I could well become a dreaded hoarder :) .

 

For those able to save and love vintage concertinas now I say Bravo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For those able to save and love vintage concertinas now I say Bravo!

But don't you think there are many others who would love vintage concertinas if the "hoarders" had not already "saved" them?

 

Derek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Derek, I yes, have several concertinas. Most of them are clunkers or are models readily available today from makers (e.g. Morse, Wakker). These would not arouse great envy if I were to put them up for sale to help with my house down payment (which I may be doing soon); I suspect they would be a challenge to sell for what they are supposedly worth. Only two of my boxes are really gems or highly desirable, and both were built for me by modern makers. IMO that makes me a patron of the concertina building revival (while the rest of you save up _your_ money) rather than a hoarder. The old heirlooms (Jeffries, Aeolas) went out of my rational price range long ago. Those who feel these are the only choice can have them, at those prices.

 

There was a time when everyone wanted a 1920s-30s Martin or Gibson guitar. Well, they all got "hoarded." My guit-playing friends never aspire to these today; they buy a modern Taylor or a Collings or a new Martin, or (you name it). We may be headed the same way.

 

Sure life ain't fair. I can't afford a Picasso either, but I have several nice Navajo rugs from my time living among those people. One was made by a woman I worked with teaching children - that means a lot. Also, collecting is one of the few advantages of being single. Your mental health, etc. are probably lower, but it is too easy to indulge your nutty taste in hobbies by spending money. But I guess the grass is always greener over the fence...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are right in what you say, Ken and if concertinas are perceived in terms of monetary value above other merits, your comments will always be so.

 

I have one very good concertina, when I aquired it, I sold my old box, not out of some sense of martyrdom, but rather I knew I wouldn't use it and therefore it would better if I had the cash and someone else had the enjoyment. Surely if others did this (right up and down the line) the prices for decent boxes would not be so prohibitive for the ordinary bloke? (and the female equivilent of "bloke")

 

OK, so I'm dreaming

 

Derek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't it true that only certain models/makes are "hoarded/collected" forcing up the price?

 

Apart from Jeffries and Edeophones, most other concertinas are a level price across most makes.

Without being derogatory, who really "needs" a Jeffries or an Edeophone, apart from the more advanced players or collectors?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I object to the word "hoarder ".........the word that I think of is "cherish ".

Geoff is right.......there is no shortage of quality English or (and there are still eBay bargains to be had.) Eventhough Mccanns are more scarce, their price is still relatively low.

The price of a Jeffries is not "silly"...........it simply reflects their quality and desirability and as a result there are new makers coming on board. ie Wally Carrol

Regards Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Isn't it true that only certain models/makes are "hoarded/collected" forcing up the price?

 

Apart from Jeffries and Edeophones, most other concertinas are a level price across most makes.

Without being derogatory, who really "needs" a Jeffries or an Edeophone, apart from the more advanced players or collectors?.

This may well be true, but with the "collectors" forcing up the price of these, the lower priced models rise to fill the price gap and so on all the way down. Other people then start "collecting" as investments on nearly all ranges of concertina.

 

How many times have we seen "you'll get back at least what you paid for it" said on this site?

 

Derek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to add here that prices are by no means outrageous. Yes, in 1979 I bought my Aeola 1921, raised metal ends for $500. Had just been rebuilt by Mr. Crabb's shop, a real dream. Even for 1979, I got a deal. Was dumb to sell it? Oh fer sure! Whoever owns it today has a great box and I hope they love it.

 

These instruments were works of art and surely one could say their equal may not be seen or heard again. Having never held a Dipper, new Wheatstone or Suttner perhaps I speak in ignorance. The vintage instruments of great quality are deserving of an appropriate value (consider the afore mentioned pre-war Gibson or Martin instruments...then we are talkin' some money). Hate to say it, but the prices they now demand are reasonable. It's hard and takes many of us out of the market, mais, ce la vie.

 

Ken, I don't want a Picasso. I want a Van Gough. Can't have one, but have learned over the years to paint with his techniques and have loved the process (even tried tasting the paints...ugh). Did choose not to lop off an ear lobe however and endevor to hold off madness :blink: .

Edited by Mark Evans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obviously supply and demand will force the price of instruments up, the less there are available.

So, should a concertina enthusiast consider this before making yet another purchase?

In a word... no.

 

The main thing that's driving the price up is the increasing demand for concertinas... of all qualities, not any decreasing supply. In fact, judging from the instruments seen on eBay and the ability of people like Chris Algar (Barleycorn Concertinas) to remain in business, the supply of vintage concertinas coming up for sale is still increasing. It's just that it's not increasing as fast as the demand.

 

Frankly, if I put my entire "collection" on the market today, it wouldn't put a dent in the supply. Regardless of whether the top-quality instruments were bought by persons with no concertinas, or one, or fifty -- and it would be impossible to exclude the latter without essentially subsidizing the sale, -- within days they would no longer be part of the supply. Meanwhile, prices wouldn't drop a whit. If a dozen of us did it, we'd still make barely a ripple. (And is there anyone besides Bernard Wrigley who would have a bass concertina as their only instrument?)

 

Derek, you seem to have identified a situation you wish didn't exist -- that many persons who want "better" instruments can't afford them at current prices, -- and you proposed someone(s) to blame and a quick fix. But your blame is misplaced and your "fix" won't work. It might help a few individuals get better instruments, but they'd still be far outnumbered by those it didn't help.

 

The fact is that even the best vintage instruments are still selling for less than comparable new instruments, and none of the modern makers is getting rich off their production. So what you're really asking is that concertinas be deliberately kept to prices lower than their actual value, in terms of current cost of labor and materials. If you could get me that kind of deal on a workshop and some tools, I just might try making concertinas, myself. I won't hold my breath.

 

But you also seem to be making other invalid, but unstated assumptions. The fact is that at least some of those with multiple instruments have been known to sell one or more of their treasures. And all those I know go to great lengths -- including foregoing the potential profit of eBay's bidding frenzy -- to insure that the new owners will truly love and play them. As for myself, several individuals have gotten their start on good instruments that I loaned them, which couldn't have happened if I had sold them off. And I've been instrumental (yes, I love puns) in helping more than one person get a special concertina that they now treasure. Meanwhile, all of mine that are playable get played, and one by one those that need work are being restored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider myself well and truly put in my place. I was, by way of an apology to anyone whose feathers I have ruffled, only having a General Conceretina Discussion!

 

Derek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was, by way of an apology to anyone whose feathers I have ruffled, only having a General Conceretina Discussion!

Well, don't worry about ruffling my feathers.

It's through discussion that we learn things.

No apologies needed.

I speak my mind, and I hope others will do the same, though here on C.net I try to reserve my serious debate for concertina-related matters.

 

Besides, any ruffling you could do would be insignificant compared to the effect of the world at large. :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello

 

In the brief time that I have been learning to play the Anglo concertina, as my skills (hopefully), pleasure in playing and musicality(hopefully again) have grown so has my general appreciation and love for these marvelous boxes that come to life between our two hands.

 

Some times I admit a bit of greed and course aquisitiveness must be teased out from my general appreciation and desire for concertinas. I try to be practical and financially sensible as to what kind of and how many concertinas I may posess that will complement one another, be enjoyed and help me play and improve.

 

I currently possess three nice instruments (one should arrive very soon) and each one fufills a certain role and has a distinct identity. They are used, enjoyed and treasured for their sound, playablility,beauty as objects,as pieces of history and as vehicles to make music.

 

Richard

Edited by richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I consider myself well and truly put in my place. I was, by way of an apology to anyone whose feathers I have ruffled, only having a General Conceretina Discussion!

 

Derek

 

It's a legitimate issue.

 

What irks me, although I realize there's no solution, are those who buy vintage concertinas PURELY as an investment.

 

I have no problem with players who acquire, keep and play a number of instruments; in fact, i wish I was rich enough to be among them.

 

What I dislike are those who buy instruments purely as a financial commodity. I don't know if this is happening on a large scale with concertinas; I do know it has happened with guitars. Vintage guitars have gone through the roof in the past 10 years in a kind of speculative boom that has pushed the prices of some "highly collectible" guitars, as the ads say, over the $100,000 mark. There are people buying these things and storing them in climate controlled warehouses until they decide to reap their profits.

 

That has NOT happened yet with concertinas; the fact a new Dipper and a vintage Wheatstone are in the same ballpark reflects that. But I worry that it could as rapidly growing demand, the limited supply of new instruments, attrition of the old ones and the impact of collectors take their toll.

 

That said, there's absolutely nothing that can be done about it.

Edited by Jim Besser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a legitimate issue.

It's a legitimate concern.

But it's a legitimate issue only if it relates factually to what's happening in the world... in this case, that part of the world that constitutes the concertina marketplace. My own experience told me that Derek was barking up the wrong tree, and I tried to explain the reality as I see it.

 

What irks me, although I realize there's no solution, are those who buy vintage concertinas PURELY as an investment.

... 1) There's no quick, local (i.e, within the concertina community) solution. One reason is that it's not really a local problem. I'll come back to that.

... 2) I don't actually know of anyone doing that with concertinas, though it's possible there are such.

... 3) In 2) I'm assuming that you mean people who hold instruments off the market for extended periods, to reap long-term profits. I didn't include people who buy instruments in order to resell them quickly to players (and collectors?).

... 4) But both are amassing instruments for the purpose of reselling them for a profit. Think carefully about how you intend to distinguish them, i.e., how you define "PURELY"

... 5) By the way, I know of at least one individual who isn't really a player, but who loves concertinas in his own way, and could be classed as a serious collector. How do you feel about that? (I don't really want a lot of people, or even one, answering that question publicly. It's mainly meant to provoke thought.)

 

Vintage guitars have gone through the roof in the past 10 years in a kind of speculative boom that has pushed the prices of some "highly collectible" guitars, as the ads say, over the $100,000 mark.  There are people buying these things and storing them in climate controlled warehouses until they decide to reap their profits.

It sounds like such investors are driving the prices ever higher without involving anyone who would make practical use of the instruments. But if they don't eventually sell them outside their little circle, then how are they going to make that final profit? Ever wonder what will happen to those investors if their market tanks? I understand that happened not long ago with high-priced paintings. Of course, even if they lose their shirts, that doesn't guarantee that the instruments will wind up back with the players they've been kept away from.

 

What I dislike  are those who buy instruments purely as a financial commodity.

This is what I said I'd come back to.

This is why there's no "local" fix.

Because this isn't simply about guitars or concertinas; it's about a dominant culture in today's world: People buy crude oil options, stock futures, hospitals, energy companies, investment banks, TV stations... in fact, anything and everything, purely as financial commodities, with no consideration for employees, customers/consumers, or even product. So why not guitars and concertinas?

That said, there's absolutely nothing that can be done about it.
Because you're not going to get people to consider such a practice wrong in this small arena, when in large it's seen as a pillar of society.

 

If you want "a legitimate issue", I think that might qualify. You can consider it carefully, choose sides if you feel that's appropriate, and take action if you think that's called for.

 

But I'm not trying to start a philosophical or political argument here, though I guess I am waxing more philosophical than usual at the moment. I'm really trying to stimulate you -- and all the folks here -- to examine closely the things that concern you, to see if there isn't something broader and deeper underlying them. Then if you conclude that some sort of discussion or action is warranted, you should find an appropriate arena to pursue it. On most "big" issues, I suspect that C.net is too small to be an appropriate place. B)

 

[Edited to correct a typo.]

Edited by JimLucas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all,

 

Even though, beyond my shop's inventory, I own a few special concertinas (that I see myself as "preserving" in an original condition that would likely be altered by other owners), I am very sympathetic with the EMOTIONS of the original post. I can remember having a similar complaint early on in my experience with concertinas (around 1985), when I was a graduate student and the prospect of finding 500 pounds sterling (then around $500, and more than I paid for my 1920 Martin in 1979) for a Jeffries seemed doubtful. It seemed that anyone with two good anglos had one too many and was the reason I couldn’t afford one. Somehow I borrowed and made sacrifices and was able to obtain one. I know at the time I made my first car (a Toyota with wrecked and rusted body, 8 years old when I bought it) last another decade, and since then I have usually gone without one. I still don't own a house.

 

But emotions are not always the same as logic or understanding.

 

What if I were to turn the tables and suggest that anyone not living in the simplest of flats should give up their "excess" real estate so that housing prices come within reach for me? Or even the more limited idea, to extend the suggestion of my valued friend Jim Besser, that those who "invest" in second houses are to be resented for the high costs I would face to buy my first one? Of course, those who control a valuable resource are in a sense responsible for the costs another must incur to acquire it (this has been the way of the world for all of human history, even before there was money), but it is widely accepted (if not "human nature"!) that people will try to make wise investments to provide for themselves and their families.

 

Fortunately, as Jim Lucas observes, fairly playable "concertina family" instruments are being made today at a small fraction of the cost of the most expensive concertinas. (To say nothing of the brilliant instruments made today by the best makers). Like him, I try to find ways to get new players started (even though others might complain that in the long run this will "increase demand," again raising costs) because new players are the future of the concertina as a musical tradition. Where there is a will, there is a way, and a really dedicated student can learn on anything. Unless you have a narrow sense of entitlement focussed on "the best of the best," there are still a lot more concertinas around than there are players. However, most of the antique instruments need to be restored professionally before they can be playing their best, and it is only fair that the restorers be paid a living wage. That's the cost of admission, and who better to pay it than those wanting to get "in" to the concertina?

 

On the other hand, as has often been said here and elsewhere, it may well be the very finest (and currently most expensive) concertinas that will appreciate the most going forward, because compared to the "best" of many other instruments they are actually underpriced. It is only fair to warn new players that buying a cheap concertina may prove to be a much worse investment than buying a better one -- IF they can afford the better one. Mark makes a good point about this. I think this relative undervaluing of the top 10% of quality in concertinas is due to a very small market worldwide and also to a mid-20th century period of low demand and give-away prices (as is the case now for as-is piano accordions) from which we are still recovering. Those who discovered the concertina during this period may have assumed that 1960s or 1970s prices would last forever, or would return someday -- reminding me of the "cargo cults" that developed in the Pacific after World War II. Of course, they could be right, you never know for sure about the future.

 

If you are a teenager and not yet working, or in school, or starting a family (as I am now, believe it or not, at 46), buying an expensive top-shelf concertina as a hobby is not usually a high priority, even though you may feel that your ability to play, or even the "potential" you recognize in yourself, deserves one. But you may later find a way, or make a way, to move to a better one, if the instrument BECOMES enough of a priority. Most of those with a continuing interest in this instrument will find they invest much, much more of their precious time than of their money, and that over the decades a little more money spent on a better quality instrument will cost them much less in "learning time" and aggravtion, and pay a rebate of much greater enjoyment.

 

But at least a fine concertina is not a necessity of life, like food, clothing, housing, medical care, or (for most of us) diminishing oil resources. The worldwide ownership of these resources, and the suffering caused by injustices in their allocation, are much more likely to keep me up at night.

 

Paul

 

 

 

P. S. I have cross posted with Jim, but I’m sure I’ve said more than enough....Best wishes to all! Keep playing and enjoy that concertinas are still undervalued, really!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Because this isn't simply about guitars or concertinas; it's about a dominant culture in today's world:  People buy crude oil options, stock futures, hospitals, energy companies, investment banks, TV stations... in fact, anything and everything, purely as financial commodities, with no consideration for employees, customers/consumers, or even product.  So why not guitars and concertinas?

 

 

No disagreement there. And therein is the source of my concern: the transformation of everything, including the things we care about most, like concertinas, into commodities. I said there's no solution; if your point is that there's no solution because it's just one manifestation of a global concern, we're on the same page.

 

As I said, I don't think what's happened to vintage guitars has happened to concertinas, but it COULD. I hope it doesn't.

Edited by Jim Besser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I'll never own a "vintage" concertina. I'm happy with what I have. As far as I'm concerned, the sound and playability of my Morse is as good as it gets. I bought it for the sound (I like the sound of the newer accordian reeded instruments, it's just not the traditional sound...yet) and the weight.

 

I'll likely never buy another concertina (I have a C/G and I've just placed an order for a G/D), but I'll also likely never stop playing.

 

There are plenty of options out there.

I don't drive a 57 Chevy, though I admire the looks of them. I drive a used Mini-Van.

I don't wear Armani suits. I wear Men's Wearhouse (much cheaper).

 

Why? They are good enough for me.

 

Don't fret on the things you want...concentrate on what you need. It's healthier for you.

 

Ok, I DO want a nice thick steak tonight, and since it's a good night to grill, I'll decide to not heed my own advice and have it. Sometimes it's good to splurge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...