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Original Price Comparison, Wheatstone Duet vs Anglo

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In doing some research for one of my instruments, I looked at the Wheatstone price lists available over at the Concertina Library.  My instrument is a special so slightly bigger than a typical 40 key Wheatstone but that was my starting point to see how much my concertina might have cost when it was made in 1921 and what it might have cost relative to the average wage at the time.  I'm only the second owner of it and I'm still curious as to why the original owner commissioned it, whether he was trading up from something less expensive and what he might have played on it.


My first note was that there seem to be more Duet pricelists over a wider spread of dates than for Anglos. My second note was that Duets seem to be quite a bit more pricey than Anglos.  My third observation was that the price difference between a Class C or Model 62 40 button Anglo and a Model 36 46 key Duet seemed to be relatively consistent from 1910 to 1934 at around £7.


I can't see any logical reason for the price difference between the Duet and the Anglo, given that the specifications are very similar.  Obviously, the reed count is greater on the Duet, but if you try to work out a "cost per reed" and then a "cost per woodwork", "cost per bellows", the Anglo seems relatively quite a bit cheaper not only as a complete instrument but also on a "per component" basis.


It's not easy to work out the cost compared to the average salary - that could be anywhere between 6% and 10%; that might compare quite well with a brand new Wheatstone, Dipper, Carroll....


Was this Wheatstone simply charging what they thought the market would bear as their Duet and English customers would expect to pay more than a typical Anglo customer (compared to the cost of a Jeffries/Lachenal/Crabb)?


Any thoughts?


Alex West





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