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can anyone help with the evaluation

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Hi everybody! Sorry if this does not belong here but have a question about consertinas and i wonder if you can help me...

I have this late 19 th - early 20th century consertina. It has been in my family for a long time and now we would like to sell it. Unfortunately I have not a clue where can I sell it and what is the value of it. (I think that It is in quite good condition)

I´m writing for you from Finland so sorry my english


Here is a link for some pictures from it;


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I am no expert.


but I think you have a 48 button English Wheatstone.. and a lower grade model.

if you are not wanting to put money into it. Or knowing what to look at and judge playability, tuning, and condition. You may be best selling/sending as is to a dealer like barley corn.



Edited by seanc
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Hi Paula from Finland!  Great to see you here.  Perfect question.


Unfortunately, your concertina is in the missing Wheatstone ledger so no detailed records are available:



I would say it’s circa 1893 based on these two close serial numbers:

21509 - 19 June 1893

21571 - 30 March 1893




Besides rare higher end exotic antique collectable features, the value of a concertina as an instrument in my humble opinion is in the original quality of the reeds and then how well it was stored and taken care of over it’s life. For example, moisture can warp and crack reed pans and rust reeds, crack and rot the bellows...  Worse yet, moths and termites destroy!  You’ll have to look inside for a complete evaluation.  Steel reeds have the best volume and dynamics, etc. while brass and nickel-silver although sounding sweet are considered more entry level.  

It has the felt bushings around the keys so it’s not a complete bottom of the line, entry level instrument.  Leather is still there on the pinky rests with no apparent cracks in the fret work so it has a lot of potential.  Original leather baffles are there.  It appears to be a clean tutor instrument probably untouched in old high pitch (about half a note higher than modern A440 tuning).


I am always interested in instruments like these as they are perfect to fix up to get the younger generation interested.  Message me if you want to part with it.  I am fixing up a very similar one right now I just picked up locally with no warpage but cracked reed pans and a few cracked reed tongues and two broken end bolts but beautiful amboyna ends in spite of the nickel silver reeds and coloured bone buttons.  It will never be a really great instrument but I’m going to do my best to give it some life again and pass it on.

As a side…. There’s never any profit to be made on these instruments unless very pristine unfortunately… especially compared to the higher end instruments… so to restore one of these tutors is truly a labour of love.  With a bit of patience, an Aeola in similar condition can be picked up for maybe $1500 for example and then restored and sold for $4000 to $5000 to possibly even make a profit or at least earn a decent hourly wage.  Your instrument is worth maybe 300 to 500 max (Canadian $) if decent inside and then it would be a tough sell at $1500 no matter how much work one puts in to it.  Like I said, fixing up these instruments is a labour of love.


I’m not on here much but have been doing some reed tongue material research lately so you caught me at the right time.  Great question.  Hope this helps you out and I also hope the regulars don’t jump on me too much.  Just my humble opinion as already stated.

Edited by 4to5to6
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What 4to5to6 said. Is a more expansive explanation of what I was referring to.


you might have say a $750 instrument. But, with the complexities of these things. It may take a knowledgeable, experienced repair person $1000 in parts and labor time to bring it up to “playable”. And as he mentioned, it is truly a calling, more an obsession, and a labor of love to do this.

as a seller, selling to an individual player buyer. Going in blind could be setting yourself up for a lot of hassle. These things do not travel well. And can get easily bumped around and damaged in transit. If the action or tuning is not meeting buyer expectations. It can lead to  Really pissing off the buyer and wanting to return and refund. 

If you do sell… I would suggest selling as an “as-is” and “in need of full restoration” , “unrestored condition” to set correct expectations. 

Just a few additional things to consider.


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This is NOT a low grade instrument, it has bushings around the keys and the moulding around the perimeter of the ends. The concertina has white daisy pattern on a gold background. All these features are indicators of a reasonably good grade of instrument. 


Bone keys (buttons) were a choice as opposed to those made with wooden bodies with nickel caps. The interesting thing would be if it has brass or steel reed tongues. Some lower grade instruments were fitted inferior brass tongued reeds, but in instruments of this apparent standard brass tongued reeds were in them selves a higher grade as well. If you want to delve deeper into value v, restoration costs, you need to establish a few things:


the reed tongue, steel or brass?

the pitch of the tuning, A high proportion of 'tinas were made in the local prevalent pitch, restored ones are usually tuned to modern A= 440Hz pitch If you down load a tuning app, and try a few notes out if they are not showing close to a nominal note then odds are  the pitch needs changing, rather than just a bit of re-tuning

Finally the bellows look to be four folds, a minimum these days would be considered to be five folds, the standard for new bellows is six folds. 


If brass reeded then the perceived value will be less.

if you leave the instrument with four folds, no matter how airtight, the buyer will want to cover the potential cost of bellows replacement.

If in an old pitch, usually around half a semitone sharp, the the buyer will want to cover the costs of re-pitching


To find out about the nature of the reeds, undo the six peripheral bolt on one end and remove the end. (ensure the bolts each go back into their original position. You will see one side of one of the reed-pans. The reed assemblies will have brass outer frames. clamped to the frame is a tongue, steel or brass? or post a picture.


I don't disagree with the dates suggested, I would have said about the same.



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Post a quick sound sample if possible.  Most phones can do decent recordings these days.


Interesting discussion…. I use to completely disregard these older 6-sided instruments until I got one previously owned by Lady Bulteel (Revelstoke) whom studied under Mr. Blagrove.  The instrument was probably played by Regondi.  It is a very plain looking instrument in-spite of being at the highest end of the ledger price range at the time.  I found out why… It plays just as well as any high end newer Aeola!  That’s when I realized it’s all about the quality of the reeds.  It is also extremely clean with no warpage so it was stored very well.  That makes a difference.  I’ve yet to hear anyone play like Regondi and the other early masters and these are the instruments they used.  It’s all in the quality of the reeds.  Exotic woods and gold plating is nice for an antique I’m sure adds a few extra few percents but it’s the insides that make it a musician’s instrument.

They made bellows different back then.  The cards were much deeper with the first fold being offset so the instrument opened up a lot more and was protected better.  I like my newer (80 year old) Aeola with it’s original factory 8-fold bellows but never run out of air with my 160 year old 4-fold Bulteel Treble.  I actually find that less folds gives more control and therefore more expression in my music.


As said, if you do take an end off, please don’t mix up any of the bolts.  Bolts were somewhat individually custom made back then so lengths and threads may not always be the same.

Edited by 4to5to6
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