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Jeffries Duet at Auction


Alex West
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Did anyone else see the Jeffries Duet which went at auction today at Sworders auction house?  According to the declared condition, it sounded to be a bit of a wreck which makes the hammer price of £1,300 plus a buyers premium of 30% (inc VAT) a bit of a surprise.

 

I don't see much change out of £2,700 to get this to playing condition and if it was bought by a dealer, that pushes the value up towards £3,000 which is surely a bit steep for a 51 key Jeffries Duet - even with the history of this one

 

Alex West

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I saw that too. The bellows were in a right state, but the initial price looked reasonable, until the bids started rising of course. I think that, considering the value and renown of a jeffries anglo instrument, there are people who will spend considerably on any jeffries instrument, even a duet. 

 

Theres always the possibility that whoever bought might have done so to convert the duet into an Anglo. Its certainly been done a number of times before.

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Described as "A C Jeffries Bros. 51 key concertina, the hexagonal body with foliate pierced metal ends and six fold bellows, one end engraved 'C Jeffries Bros., Maker, 23 Praed St, London N' and stamped under the handle 'C.J. New address, 12 Aldershot Rd, Kilburn, N.W., London', the other end stamped 'L Thomas, Nov 10, 1921' " - it's a Jeffries Brothers instrument that was sold from his house in Kilburn by Charles Jeffries jnr.

 

It seems to be in very original condition, right down to the handstraps, but (unfortunately) it looks like insects have eaten their way through the bellows (which may yet be repairable), and "the reeds are severely rusted – there are only a few notes left that play ... The concertina sounds as if it plays the same note when pushed and pulled, but the holes in the bellows make it very difficult to have a consistent air flow."

 

A bit of a "pig in a poke" really...

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7 minutes ago, Oberon said:

Theres always the possibility that whoever bought might have done so to convert the duet into an Anglo. Its certainly been done a number of times before.

 

In the old days it used to be sometimes done the opposite way - Jim Harvey, Secretary of the International Concertina Association in the 1970s, told me how he'd got his 4-row Jeffries Anglo converted into a duet by Jeffries themselves.

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Mind you, if it was bought by someone intending to restore it themselves I'd think they've got themselves a potentially top notch concertina for a reasonable price. Depends on how badly the reeds were rusted I guess. I must admit that had I known about it I may have been temted at that price (retirement coming up and all).

 

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6 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

Mind you, if it was bought by someone intending to restore it themselves I'd think they've got themselves a potentially top notch concertina for a reasonable price. Depends on how badly the reeds were rusted I guess. I must admit that had I known about it I may have been temted at that price (retirement coming up and all).

 

If it's been stored somewhere damp enough to badly rust the reeds, the woodwork may be in a mess too.

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Maybe the value was in the provenance, owned by Douglas "Dougie" Gray (of whom I had never heard), but the other lots from his esoteric collection included a wrecked Double Bass which went for £11k on the hammer, bidders in Spain and the US driving the prices onwards and upwards.

 

Dougie and his brother were comedians popular in the 60's said to have been, in part, inspiration for Monty Python......

 

https://www.sworder.co.uk/news/organised-chaos--items-from-the-estate-of-the-late-douglas-dougie-gray/?pc=3628

 

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5 hours ago, alex_holden said:

 

If it's been stored somewhere damp enough to badly rust the reeds, the woodwork may be in a mess too.

 

Fair point Alex.

 

From my perspective, had I known about it and bought it, the fact that it had the metal end fretwork, buttons, and (presumably) the levers and pivots in reasonable condition then irrecoverably rusted reeds would be the main barrier to a home restoration (I've built & repaired bellows in the past).

 

Let's hope it's gone to a good home and gets the attentionand playing it deserves.

 

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I saw it, and I did bid on it. I was hoping to get it for less than a 1000 then get it restored, thinking it was my chance to get a great concertina but it just shot up to silly money. I had not seen it physically but from the description from Stephen Chambers, [ previous ] maybe I got lucky to be out bid. It could have been a money pit and ended in divorce if the boss had found out. I guess I,ll never know. The cost of top class concertina,s have just gone crazy this last year or two. As I,m looking to upgrade and don't want to have to sell one of my ferrari ,s to pay for it.I wish!

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If it's of interest to anyone, this Duet arrived with us yesterday. The bellows are completely shot but I'm not entirely sure how the reeds were ever described as severely rusted- they're in pretty great condition. The instrument doesn't play due to the bellows, not the reeds- I'm guessing that's where that mix-up happened? 

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I thought that might be the case Ciaran but the element of doubt put me off bidding as high as you were obviously prepared to risk!

 

With the cost of a new set of bellows, you must be getting close to the top end price for a Jeffries Duet though, add in the tuning of 102 reeds...

 

Brave man!

 

Alex West

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/26/2021 at 5:40 PM, Alex West said:

I thought that might be the case Ciaran but the element of doubt put me off bidding as high as you were obviously prepared to risk!

 

With the cost of a new set of bellows, you must be getting close to the top end price for a Jeffries Duet though, add in the tuning of 102 reeds...

 

Brave man!

 

Alex West

Sorry I've only just seen this!

 Yes it's definitely not got a huge margin in it but we prefer to have as much available as possible and we haven't had a Jeffries Duet in a long time- although like London busses, two have turned up at once! 

 You're right on the tuning though, I'm not sure I've ever seen my Dad so unwilling to start a tuning job!

 

 

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On 3/26/2021 at 8:45 PM, gcoover said:

Congrats to the Barleycorn Duet Rescue Team!

 

50-buttons is an ideal size for most applications, curious about the home key - hopefully "C".

 

Gary

We're currently waiting on the new bellows to find that out, but we'll be sure to let you know! Thanks again for the article Gary, we'll be posting it on our website in the next week 🙂

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