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Discussions => General Discussion => Topic started by: melodeon on November 26, 2009, 06:08:25 PM

Title: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: melodeon on November 26, 2009, 06:08:25 PM
So often I will find an accordeon in an "antique" store that defies comprehension.
A recent example would be yesterday.

First, "antique" has taken on new meaning.  When I was a kid we had real antique stores and also separate and distinct were
junk shops or trading posts.. or resale shops..all selling used "stuff.  Now used stuff has become "antiques".

So, I hear from a friend that there is a 2 row Hohner in an "antique" store and a friend of his is interested in it and wants to play "Cajun" music"... so I went to the store....
.. you know, the mall type of store where there are dozens of vendors each with their own booth... I drove 42 miles .. and this is what I found:

A 2 row Hohner.. early type with a stepped keyboard.  Cheap thin tin corners with a decal of good old M Hohner on each of the 4 on front of the chassis.

I picked it up and the bellows flew open and a ratty strap broke.. the other was missing except for an inch of its anchored end.
Pearl buttons with screws in the centers..  erzats reddish brown finish to make the poplar look like mahogany... the grille was in good shape and the best part of the box.  The frames were secured to the bellows frames with those swivel hooks  so I popped the treble side open... wow man!   holy   spit... how cool...   brass reeds on zinc frames... and look at that patina... how did they get that wonderful green and white fuzz... and how did they curl those little bits of leather...and the brown powder all over those little wood thingees

On removing the grille I noted that the clacking gave a certain rhythm when pressed and released... wood on wood does have a special sound all its own... and the hairballs and dust do make for a mellow timbre

The bass was exceptional in that you could get about 8 reeds moving at the same time... I suppose that is the HELL ikon bass...

On a ten point scale for condition I would give it a 1 1/2 as being all there with one broken frame hook

BTW it was in the keys of Bb/Eb

The tag read:   " Wonderful and rare antique concertina from the 19th Century..   $125 "

I was oh so fortunate to have the actual vendor and store manager there at the same time..in an effort to secure the accordeon at a fair price..I explained to them the actual condition, that this was an inexpensive when new instrument  that it was brass reeded and a few other details...
I wrote this all out for them....
They asked me its value.. I suggested $15 would be fair but ask $25 as a restaurant might need something for decor.
They thanked me and declined my generous offer... I left
And as I left I looked back into the shop to see the vendor wad up, crush and toss my note in the trash.

Due to the increasing number of complaints about our free service,
There will be no more free (reed) service.

I understand that not everyone has information about accordeons, I know a little now but knew absolutely nothing 15 years ago.
When someone gave me some information, I thanked them, certainly did not dismiss them or the information with an overt demonstration of contempt.

It is obvious, like our favorite ebay seller,  that first and foremost is making a buck.

I suppose I will continue to offer information.. but the first thing I did when I left was call my friend and give him my observations...
oh   did I mention he is an "antique" dealer ..

Anyone else have similar experiences ?


Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: upmine3 on November 26, 2009, 06:48:24 PM

Anyone else have similar experiences ?





Yes on E-Bay every day.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Owen Woods on November 26, 2009, 06:55:28 PM
It's always sad how people seek to delude people into spending lots of money on junk. Especially musical instruments, where the condition really does matter dreadfully.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Theo on November 26, 2009, 07:01:46 PM
Its not always so bad.  I had a phone call last week from the manager of a charity shop.  She had been give an ancient 120 bass piano accordion and wanted advice about its value.  From the verbal description I gave my best estimate, it was fairly low.  The shop manager thanked me and said my information was very helpful, that they knew nothing about accordions and found my advice helpful.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Ollie on November 26, 2009, 07:58:37 PM
A local antiques shop once had an old 1 row which was in a terrible state - no straps (at all) and the buttons got stuck. The bellows were in pretty bad shape too. 90 they were asking for it. The woman did ask me what I thought of it and was quite surprised when I said it needed a heck of a lot of work doing to it.

On the flip side, it is great when people under price things, like my 30s Club III that I got for 50.  ;D (not that I'm boasting or anything  ::) :P). I always dream of seeing a top end box at a car boot or on freecycle.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: ACE on November 26, 2009, 08:16:21 PM
I saw an old box in the window of a shop that sold 'left luggage'. I asked to have a quick look and could hardly touch it because the window was in full sun and the melodeon was being cooked. I advised the shop keeper that the reeds were likely to be held in with wax and leaving it in that heat would not do it any favours. I decided not  open the bellows for a try out just in case  the reeds were loose.

It was back in the window later on in the day. So much for giving helpful advice.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: LJC on November 26, 2009, 09:42:23 PM
I think most antique shops or flea markets way overprice anything which looks 'old' in an attempt to cash in on people who will buy anything which looks 'vintage' and is therefore good value. I had a tip off that there were some melodeons in the biggest flea market in Brighton - went down and was very disappointed with the knackered German 4 stops they had for 160. I didn't even bother to try and explain to the shop keep! 
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Lars on November 26, 2009, 10:32:28 PM
I found both my fiddles at flea markets tagged way too high for their conditions. I haggled them both below half the asking price, and they turned out great.

On the other hand - I've got 7 playing boxes, all of which are high end vintage boxes, and I've bought 6 of them at flea markets and on ebay for good prices. All needing major work, but still favorable prices.

Around here, old melodeons are very rare at flea markets, but when they turn up the asking price is actually most often quite reasonable. Exept some time ago when a guy wanted close to 500 pounds sterling for an old hohner one row in terrible condition. It was 'musical memorabilia' he claimed.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Theo on November 26, 2009, 10:40:14 PM
I find that genuine antique dealers actually expect to haggle, its a bit of a game and can be fun, you may not be able to agree a price but thats life.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Fungusface on November 26, 2009, 10:47:48 PM
What about an old guy in Crieff auctions one night,2 years ago bought a box of junk 8 and in junk box was a concertina which he put on ebay, it was a Charles Jeffries, it sold for 4 figured sum, lucky man, best I have seen in auction was last year or year before in an auction I was at and a nice boxed concertina found and I arrange Theo with the guy, the owner got that also in a box of junk, have only seen one melodeon at auctions around here but badly knackered and ancient out some old farm.but concertinas seem to be more common and fiddles more than ye kin imajine.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Owen Woods on November 27, 2009, 12:42:37 AM
On the flip side, it is great when people under price things, like my 30s Club III that I got for 50.  ;D (not that I'm boasting or anything  ::) :P). I always dream of seeing a top end box at a car boot or on freecycle.

Will you stop going on about that? :P

I did consider trying to get instruments off've Freecycle, but then I considered that if they were crap then I'd most likely throw them away or put them on ebay for a penny and state quite clearly that they were crap and if they were nice I'd advice the people to sell it... so I wouldn't get anything out of it.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: ACE on November 27, 2009, 10:33:14 AM
Two huge great hohner clubs came my way once for nothing. I was busking in the street when an old Lady who sounded foreign came and spoke to me when I was having a break. It turned out that she and her sister used to do a variety act on the german stage using 'accordians'.She said she had not played for years as the 'accordians' were too heavy. She liked my playing and asked if I would like the old 'accordians' Even though I did not play PA I thought they might be handy for anybody in the morris side who wanted to have a go. They turned out to be Club melodeons in brass band tuning F and B# if I  remember right, but one of them was Baritone a really rich deep rasping sound. Lovely for omph pa pa accompaniment, but useless for anything else. Unless you were performing 'The molecatchers daughter' ;D

They were not really any good for the novice morris dancer trying to learn a few tunes so we traded them in for a couple of D/G pokerworks. I often wonder where they ended up.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Ellie on November 27, 2009, 11:02:22 AM
Funny you should say that. I was offered an accordian (for free!) by an odd little irish chap when I was playing at the box office at Wychwood Festival earlier this year. He wanted it to be played rather than just sitting around, Gave me a phone number and everything. I was a bit freaked out by it all though, and just put the number in my bag and forgot about it  :-[ Maybe I should have contacted him after all!
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Owen Woods on November 27, 2009, 11:22:01 AM
I dream about someone giving me a free instrument.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: HallelujahAl on November 27, 2009, 11:24:35 AM
Quote
I was offered an accordian (for free!) by an odd little irish chap when I was playing at the box office at Wychwood Festival earlier this year.


There is a God!!! That little Irish fellow was an angel in disguise  ;D
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Theo on November 27, 2009, 01:26:22 PM
I dream about someone giving me a free instrument.

I was given a fiddle a couple of years ago.  A friend moved into a house and found two fiddles in the attic, and wanted advice about where to get one set up for their daughter to learn on.  I sent them to luthier where they were advised which one would be best.  The other according to the luthier was a non standard shape, which was then given to me as a thank you.  I spent some time cleaning it, and under the dust inside I found a pencilled inscription "Joseph Hall, Morpeth 1917".  I was delighted to learn that it is locally made though I can't find out anything about the maker.  It looks somewhat rustic, but it sounds great.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Nick Hudis on November 27, 2009, 06:06:03 PM
There's a short story by Spike Milligan cancerning a tramp who goes into a shop and askes whether they will give him anything for his old fiddle.  The shop owner takes one look at the fiddle and sees straight way that , although it is rather dirty and scratched, it is an antique Italian instrument.  He says to the tramp that it can't be worth much, but if he comes back in a week's time he'll have it valued.  He does his research and it turns out to be a Stradivarius worth around �40,000.  The shop owner rubs his hands together with glee and greed.

Anyway the tramp comes back after a week, and the shop owner says he's sorry, but the fiddle isn't worth much, and as an act of charity (he wasn't a totally bad man) he'll give him �40.  He tramp looks a bit crestfallen and says he'd hoped for a wee bit more.

"what had you be hoping for?" says the shop owner.

"Well", says the tramp, "something around the �40,000 mark..........
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: mikesamwild on November 27, 2009, 09:04:27 PM
Quote
I was offered an accordian (for free!) by an odd little irish chap when I was playing at the box office at Wychwood Festival earlier this year.


There is a God!!! That little Irish fellow was an angel in disguise  ;D

That was the leprachaun who borrowed my box to learn a few tunes and vanished
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Stiamh on November 27, 2009, 10:15:00 PM
Another Irishman gave someone I know a 4-v 1960s Paolo Soprani in D/D# after she told him casually that she was thinking of taking up the accordion...

As luck would have it she's not interested in Irish style playing but is exploring French music on the G/C. She didn't seem terribly interested in acting the leprechaun on my behalf though.  :-\
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Accordion Dave on November 28, 2009, 02:16:30 PM
If I can't try out an instrument, I am not going to buy it.
Some stores see everything as a valuable antique even if it is smells like it has been in a damp basement or rattles like it was stored in a hot attic.

Often just picking up an accordion and hearing all of the reeds sound at the same time is enough for me to reject it.
If it is extremely cheap I might buy it for parts.

Some antique dealers enjoy hearing me play. Often I will buy the box after my impromptu concert if the price and playablity are reasonable.

If the dealer refuses to allow me to evaluate the condition of the box, it goes back on the shelf or in the hot store-front window.

 
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: juker on November 29, 2009, 05:45:48 AM
I was given the single row pokerwork that I started on in December last year. For fourteen years I thought it was an ornament or kids toy ;D :|bl
Ah well, I know better now and it DID get me started on a great obsession.
Also I bought both of the boxes I now own without trying either of them. Two main reasons for this.
1. I couldn't play well enough to tell much about them even if I could have tried them
2. Australia is a big country and I couldn't afford to travel the several thousand miles I would have needed to to try them out  so decided to risk it.
 The G/C Hohner is great and I love it and the Weltmeister (which was very cheap) has new  Cagnoni D/G reeds in and is sounding good, so I am very happy. I have spent less that $1000 (five and fifty hundred pounds) on both of these instruments together so consider them a risk worth taking and at this stage of my playing they are good enough for me to play reasonably well and find out if I will stick with it long enough to invest several thousand in something better.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Accordion Dave on December 14, 2009, 01:09:03 AM
I visited an "Antiques Mall" over the weekend. There were two dreadful accordions that have been there for years with the same ridiculously high price tag.

One is an ancient Italian two-row with missing buttons, bent parts, smashed grill, cracked wood, and rotten bellows. Price: $295 American.

The other was a red 120 bass piano accordion. All of the bass buttons were stuck. I gently tried to urge them back to normal position with no success. Apparently the springs are worn out. Price $495 American.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: old geezer on December 14, 2009, 09:45:44 AM
OK... put your hand up

who bought the DG Morgane on evil*** for $400US this morning

Cheep is not the word, daylight-robbery sounds more like it
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Malcolm Clapp on December 14, 2009, 11:35:14 AM
Looked at it very seriously, but something didn't seem quite right.
On the basis of "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is", I decided not to bid.
I think a lot of others may have had similar thoughts.....
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: old geezer on December 15, 2009, 09:41:10 AM
yes, exactly my thoughts.
I set up an auto bid on Sunday night and, canceled it after an hour or so....

I also have 2 boxes in-transit from the states; a 4 stop was cleared by OZ customs this morning and, an dark red lilliput somewhere over the pond (I hope, an' not in it)(nor special delivery via Geoffrey Edelsten)
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Andrew Culwell on December 15, 2009, 04:51:57 PM
Ah so your were the lucky one who got the Lilly!  Beautiful!
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Tattyjacket on December 15, 2009, 05:41:06 PM
Similar experience to 'melodeon'.
I was once asked to take an adult education class; introduction to the Internet.
First night I turned up.....and there were all sorts of clients there. People who wanted to use Ebay, a lady who wanted to use the Telegraph on-line crossword....all sorts.
An old lady waddled in using a zimmer frame. She must have been well into her eighties. SHe settled herself down at a computer....and it soon became obvious that she'd never touched one before.
A little later, I walked over and asked her, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but what do you hope to achieve from this class?"
Her answer nearly floored me.
"I want to find out as much as I can about the English Button Melodeon."
"Right," I said. "You have indeed come to the right place. Switch that computer off."
She explained that her father had left his instrument to her in his will and she wanted to find out what it was worth. Apparently he'd got it from a German private soldier during the first world war. I didn't aske her whether he'd given him bayonet or bullet in exchange.
She brought it in the next week and.....well, it was very similar to the one that started the thread except that it still carried the smell of Mustard gas in its bellows.
It was very hard convincing her that it had very little value but she did persist in searching herself....so at least I taught her something.
I noticed it in a charity shop window a few weeks later.
Strangely though, it didn't stay there for long.

All the best,
Phil
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Accordion Dave on December 20, 2009, 03:37:16 AM
Back to the subject of antique store finds....

Today I found a 1-row Hohner pokerwork for around $70, that has a lot of potential.

The finish is natural wood rather than the black with gold inlay. The bellows is in reasonably good shape. The metal corners are intact.

I need to cut up an old leather belt to replace the strap on the bass side and the thumb strap on the treble side.

All of the notes work. One sounds a little off. I hope it's only a bit of dust inside.

I do not yet know for sure what key it is in, but it sounded like "C" when I tried it in the store. I wasn't able to play it easily because of the broken straps.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: melodeon on December 20, 2009, 03:49:18 AM
Often the key is stamped on the bottom end of the  treble fingerboard, particularly on the old ones.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: old geezer on December 20, 2009, 06:55:48 AM
Often the key is stamped on the bottom end of the  treble fingerboard, particularly on the old ones.

or,most usually, the bottom end of the bass hand strap ............
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Theo on December 20, 2009, 09:23:25 AM
Often the key is stamped on the bottom end of the  treble fingerboard, particularly on the old ones.

or,most usually, the bottom end of the bass hand strap ............

On the fingerboard if it is wood,  on the bass strap if the fingerboard is plastic.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Accordion Dave on December 20, 2009, 03:14:19 PM
It is indeed stamped "C" along the bottom edge of the keyboard.
however the last pokerwork I purchased was also labeled "C" but was actually "B-Flat".
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: TonyRussell on December 20, 2009, 05:09:14 PM
A few years ago, maybe as many as 10, I found a pristine red D/G Erica in a green Hohner case in a second hand shop. Although dissapointed not to have found a B/C#, I bought it. Marked up at �60 but I only had �45 on me - he took it!
By the way I did check out locally (fearing it may be nicked) and found it was brought in by a woman clearing out he late husband's "junk". He'd got it new and never learned to play. I dread to think what the storekeeper gave her for it but, while he obviously underpaid, he was clearly unaware of the true value anyway. Not being "my" tuning I sold it on but should'a kept it to learn D/G. Tony.
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Accordion Dave on December 20, 2009, 05:28:38 PM
I have some random thoughts on "true value".

Is the price that someone in Tokyo paid for something on e-bay the value of an item?

Once someone pays a price that is substantially higher than was typical, is that the new true value of an item?

Often I will see an item at a flea market with no price.

The vendor will say "Make me an offer."

I might say "Fifty dollars."

The angry response: "I can get ten times that amount on e-bay!!!"

I always dread asking the price of an unmarked item.

Once a person somewhere in the world pays a high price in an online computer auction, is that the new value of the item?
Title: Re: "Antique" Store Finds
Post by: Accordion Dave on December 20, 2009, 05:35:06 PM
Some more thoughts...

To me the value of a musical instrument has everything to do with its condition.

I need to consider how much time and effort is needed to make it playable.

I am not in the business of buying instruments for re-sale, so sound is everything.