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Concertinas At Sotheby's, Nov. 25

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There was some interest on the site a few weeks ago regarding some concertinas that are coming up at Sotheby’s on Nov 25. Viewing opened this morning and I popped down for a look. I thought my views might be of some interest, if dubious value!

The three Anglos are all Jeffries and all having sticking buttons or substantial ‘syphoning’, which appears to be nothing more serious than broken springs, (I didn’t take the ends off!) This makes it very difficult to assess the tone and the temperament but as far as I could see all three are conventionally arranged 30 key instruments - or 32 key as I am learning to say! All three appear basically very sound but in need of a clean and some revalving. I think the obvious problem of sticking and syphoning is simply springs. All have metal ends and buttons.

Lot no. 309 is the most interesting as it is a five inch model. I knew of only two of these. One (the Loveless/Submarine bulkhead story) passed, I think to Tommy McCarthy and thus to Jacqueline, and the other which was also around Islington in the 70s and I think may once have been with Tony Engle went on, I heard, to Jacky Daly. I presume this is a third. (Perhaps someone knows much more than me about these five inch models and will pick this up.) This one has 7 fold bellows, but the small size means that it is still quite short of wind. Apart from a broken strap and some sticky buttons on the left hand (possibly needs rebushing) this looks to need little more than that to be fully serviceable. A =440. Praed St stamp. Catalogue price guide £2000 - £2500.

Lot no.313, (A =435, Praed St stamp) has six fold bellows and, again, seems to need little more than some work on the action to be brought into a playable state. The guide price for this is £1200 - £1800 and I can see no reason why it is so much lower than the others.

Lot no. 312 is stamped C. Jeffries between the buttons (only once! Very restrained.) and Neville Crabb was firmly of the opinion that this represented a John Crabb which Jeffries sold on. Again the bellows are six fold and this time they are a reddish-brown. The syphoning is such that Sotheby’s has been unable to establish the pitch. Again I think this would come into full use without major surgery. Guide price: £1800 - £2500.

Because I didn’t take the ends off I didn’t read the stamps on the reed frames and I had no way of deciding the pitch of the instruments. I did work out that the two 6 inch ones were a tone apart so I expect they are C/G and Bflat/F.

I didn’t look at the English systems as I would be unable to make any informed observation, but I do have the catalogue which gives 3 Lachenals, 2 Wheatsones and a Chidley. If anyone wishes to email me for the catalogue listings, please feel free, but it’s probably all on the Sotheby’s website, though I had a lot of difficulties getting into it!

Best wishes to you all.


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I think you will find that all the Jeffries are in old pitch and the concertina you are interested in is in BpF.Made for a lady I should suggest.

The only concertina in the auction that I would recommend to someone who is not a restorer is lot 306 Lachenal English,its a good quality Lachenal and in concert pitch and seemed to be in good working order.



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I was not at the auction today at Sotherbys but I thought you may be interested in the final auction prices


Lot 312 Jeffries GD Anglo (not in concert pitch and needed springs and pads etc

@ £2700

Lot 313 Jeffries AE Anglo ( ditto )


Lot 309 Jeffries Bpf Anglo (see Rogers article)(ditto )

@£ 2900

Lot 306 Lachenal English (see my article) @£720


For all the above prices add sales commission and VAT UK rate 17.5%


It would be nice if whoever did get any or all of these lets us know what the insides were like.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the info.

Do you have the whole list of concertinas ? I am assumng you can't look back on the Southebys site once the auction is over.

I would be especially curious about comparing the expected price with actual final bid.

Also £720 for a playable Lachenal English only sounds good before the tax and buyers premium !

I regret not being able to get to the auction, I arrived @ 12.30 to discover it was already over - 300+ lots in 2 hours, some going !

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In reply to Roger Digby, I know Jackie Daly got a Bflat Jeffries Mini 30 key from Paul Davies in the late 70's I think. A friend of Mine got a similar C/G from Paul at the same time . So that's another one. He later had it stolen but was very lucky to get it back but badly bruised, as the guys who took it kicked it around like a football. The pain of it! Fortunately Neville Crabb did a very good repiar job and its as good as new.

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From memory the Jeffries were listed at £2000-£2500.

I viewed all the concertinas and I did really like the Lachenal English and recommended it on this site for purchase.It was in perfect working order ,in concert pitch,good bellows and boxed.I think the purchaser got a good buy.

The other English concertinas required a lot of work,were not in concert pitch,badly leaking bellows,some notes not playing,pads springs etc.More a job for a restorer.



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