The following discussion provides information on how you may be able to establish the approximate value of your musical instrument. A more definitive estimate can only be made with a professional appraisal.
There is no simple guide to determine a chemnitzer concertina’s value. A mass produced 76-key instrument made in the early 1900s that has double reeds (i.e. two reeds sound for each button pressed) is likely to have much less value than a modern, custom manufactured 104-key chemnitzer that has specially tuned quadruple reeds, high fidelity internal microphone, and reed shifts for multiple voices. Collectors or nostalgic musicians may be interested in the vintage concertina, while professional or serious hobbyist musicians would most certainly be interested in the modern concertina which greatly increases its potential sales price.
The brand or manufacturer of your concertina will also have a bearing on its value. Some manufacturers utilized better materials, design, construction processes, and tuning methods. These efforts produced an easier playing and better sounding instrument that is in greater demand by knowledgeable chemnitzer musicians.
Determining the value of a chemnitzer concertina can be difficult. Many variables can affect the instrument’s eventual sales price. An assessment must be made of the instrument’s playing condition.
- Do all buttons operate?
- Do all reeds operate?
- Are there any air leaks (i.e. Can you can suspend the ‘box from one handle with little or no leaks?)?
- Is the finish good (i.e. Are there any chips, cracks or missing pieces?)?
- Is the bellows leather in good condition?
- Is there a musty or mildew odor?
- Are all reeds in good tune?
Depending upon these factors, it may possibly be worth a thousand dollars or more. If it has any defects or problems, usually only detectable by an experienced chemnitzer musician or technician, it could be worthless.
Vintage instruments are more difficult to value. They are often cherished more for their nostalgic character rather than their musical quality. The early chemnitzer concertinas generally do not have the sound quality or mechanical performance that make the instrument more desirable to today’s professional musicians and serious hobbyists, although some specific early models are known to be exceptional performers.
It’s challenging to appraise this type of musical instrument without having the opportunity to see it, hear it, touch it, even “smell” it. Vintage free-reed, bellows-driven instruments such as a concertina, bandoneon, and accordion are very organic, being made using materials such as wood, leather, and paperboard. As such, they are susceptible to extreme environmental conditions; too much moisture, too little moisture, too much heat, or too much cold. If the instrument was stored in a basement, attic, garage or enclosed porch, or if it has not been used for many years, it may have already suffered damage. Even if the concertina appears to be perfect on the outside, there could be serious issues with the components on the inside. Keep in mind that repairing these instruments can be a very costly proposition.
The instruments offered for sale on the community supported USCA Facebook Group generally represent a reasonable sales price. Be certain to look carefully at the concertina’s brand and features described in the ad before attempting to make a comparison to the instrument that you are trying to value.
Vintage sheet music typically has no special resale value. There are some collectors who look for decorative copies to frame and display. You may be able to sell original printed sheets. Their value will depend upon the song title, cover design, and condition. Photocopied or handwritten arrangements typically have little to no resale value as they are often freely exchanged between musicians at no cost.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Additional information can be found by browsing the Concertina History feature. Please see the Glossary of Terms feature for simple definitions for many chemnitzer concertina related terms. If you have other concertina related questions, please visit the community supported USCA Facebook Group.