Charles Wheatstone Concertina

Value (2012) | $2,500 Retail$3,000 Retail
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GUEST:
This is a concertina that belongs to my wife, who unfortunately can't come today.

APPRAISER:
And you knew this was a concertina and not an accordion?

GUEST:
That is correct. The accordions are much bigger than this.

APPRAISER:
Much bigger or they're rectangular. And this one is an English concertina, and this is octagonal in shape, and it's made by the firm of Charles Wheatstone in London. And it is their Aeola model, which meant that this was their octagonal model.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
With ebony ends and six folded leather bellows. This was made in the 1950s. And it came in various sizes.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This one is called a tenor treble. It's arranged sort of like a piano so that the middle keys are the natural keys like the white keys on a piano, and the outer keys are the accidental keys, like the black keys on a piano. So I'll demonstrate the scale.

GUEST:
Please do.

APPRAISER:
It starts at the bottom. (playing scale) It goes all the way up here.

GUEST:
Fred, how did they do this, the lattice work?

APPRAISER:
Right, well, that's called fret work. And that's done with little jeweler's saws. It's all hand done. The more expensive the instrument, the more fret work you got. And this is not the most expensive model. They made first mahogany ends, then rosewood ends. This is ebony ends. Then they went to metal ends or nickel-plated ends. And then they went to amboyna wood ends, which is sort of a burled mahogany look, with gold buttons. And finally, tortoise shell ends with gold buttons. The interesting character Charles Wheatstone, he was the inventor of the electric telegraph. And he invented the concertina. This instrument, according to the catalogue price list, was $320 in the mid-'50s. But in 1970s, the value had gone down to a couple of hundred dollars. Instead of more, it had gone down. When I first started looking for the concertinas in England in the 1970s, I could go down Portobello Road in London, buy a concertina like this for $15, $20. But since then, there's been a bit of a panic in concertina use. And this model in this condition, almost flawless condition, now I'd say this is worth about $1,500, or $1,600, or $1,700.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
More than you thought?

GUEST:
Way more-- by $1,500 more.

APPRAISER:
(playing scale)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Vintage Instruments, Inc.
Philadelphia, PA
Update (2012)
$2,500 Retail$3,000 Retail
Appraised value (1998)
$1,500 Retail$1,700 Retail
Event
Los Angeles, CA (August 01, 1998)
Material
Ebony

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