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Guerrini Accordion Company at the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco, California

April 2, 2012

Guerrini Accordions were one of the high-end “order yours custom made” accordion companies in San Francisco back in the early 20th century.  Marion Jacobson’s Squeeze This! book turned me on to a site with a really cool item.

This picture (below) is of the Guerrini booth at the 1915 San Francisco world’s fair (The Panama Pacific International Exposition to be exact, one of several that year to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, and presumably the hoped-for boom in West-coast businesses.)  There were a lot of accordions there; my little antique Hohner says that company won one of the thousands of awards that were given out to various products.

But this Guerrini pic remains a technological marvel today in that it’s such a good photograph that it was able to be blown up and you can see pretty clearly the tiny pictures on the wall of the booth, pictures of accordionists who played Guerrini instruments in 1915.  You can’t do that with your average jpeg!

Here’s the big picture:

Here’s some of the little ones blown up:



They’re trying to identify some of the ones they don’t know, I think I recognize one as Pietro Deiro.  (See below, unidentified on the left, and compare to Pietro and his accordion on the right.)

      Swave guy in tux and tails, with fancy vaudeville accordion.

At first I thought the above one was Guido Deiro, Pietro’s brother.  But doesn’t it look like the same fellow (nice tux) and the same accordion in the picture on the right from the Classical Free-Reed site?  Comparing them, that may even be his name on the bottom left, like the one on the clearer picture.

That’s my research suggestion for today.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. rich permalink
    October 11, 2014 12:25 pm

    hello, I have a beautiful accordion from the Guerrini Co. there are no other markings on it that I could see regarding model or manufacture date. It was owned by my great grandfather Tony Freitas who was a professional baseball player. Any idea where I could get it appraised? I’m in Reno Nevada. Thanx Rich

    • October 11, 2014 2:05 pm

      Hi Rich,

      You’re right to seek a physical appraisal. It’s notoriously frustrating when people want to know what an accordion is worth just by describing it online – too many possible issues, plus accordion brands have been notoriously undocumented and non-standardized, so a hands-on examination from someone who knows what they’re doing is the only way to estimate value. A quick search online reveals that you might ask Corky Bennett for advice since he’s in your neck of the woods I believe. Eric Fassbender is also nearby, you could ask them where they get repairs or such. Or see if the Reno Accordion Club is active and has advice That’s where I’d start. Let us know if you get some good results. Good luck!

      Some good info on used accordions and their problems, which explains why it’s so tricky to do estimates, can be found on George Bachich’s site:

  2. chuck permalink
    January 21, 2016 7:30 pm

    my dad told me that his father had his Guerrini custom made at the world’s fair in san Francisco in 1915 –it has his name on it in rhinestones and is in great condition–how can I find out how much it is worth?

  3. Robert Taiariol permalink
    March 16, 2016 10:08 am

    Do you buy your old accordions?

    • March 16, 2016 11:52 am

      I’ve purchased some antique instruments, never for more than a few hundred dollars. (And many people who restore old accordions think I paid too much.) At least half of the nicest old accordions I have were outright given to me just so they’d have a nice home with others of their kind. That’s always a nice day.

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