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Wheatstone Concertina #19489

January 24, 2013

Saw a Wheatstone English concertina in a thrift-store today!  It was a pleasure just to get to look at it.


I took a few pictures of it locked in the display shelf.  


It’s so cute!  A small treble model I think.  What are they – 6 inches across?  Just a handful!

Serial Number 19489

Serial Number 19489 (I think).   From my reading that was from 1876.  Wow.  Where has this been to get from England to Vancouver, Canada in 137 years?  It’s amazing that they have all the Wheatstone sales ledgers, so they might be able to tell who first bought this one that year.  A bunch of interesting stuff happened in 1876, including key industrial revolution innovations in the internal combustion engine, the telephone, and the mimeograph machine!  Also that year, Melvil Dewey invented the Dewey Decimal system! [Note: I thought if I got this instrument I’d name it after him, but after reading Erin Blakemore’s article about how Dewey was abusive to women. Nope.]

Minimum bid for their silent auction: $99.00 (Canadian).

They don’t let you touch the items until the closing date of the auction, so I couldn’t check its condition (not that I’d know too much, especially if they don’t let us open the instrument).  It’s certainly damaged, with some cracks in the wood and bad straps, a few button-caps missing or broken – who knows what’s inside?

I put in $200 because I don’t really know what it will go for – depending on if anybody knows what it is.  Presumably some antique-dealer hawks scout these things.  I’ll be going back to see how the auction progresses.  Closing is Jan 28 so I don’t have to wait long.

Right-Hand, hard to see in the display-case.

I’d love to interview whoever the auction winner is on the Accordion Noir radio show.  Maybe I’ll meet other bidders on closing day and get to chat with them.   That’d be a pleasure.

For more fantastic concertina history, may I suggest the site of wonders.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2013 9:11 am

    Not gonna tell us we here, eh?

    • January 31, 2013 1:20 pm

      So, you’re saying I’m paranoid? I did find myself imagining a great accordion conspiracy of people who all wanted this concertina. Turned out I think I was the only bidder. Yippee! So now I have, um, eight unplayable antique accordions of varying types. Fun. Next I want a flutina, I haven’t got one of those.

      And maybe next month I’ll finally get a real-live playable one and then have to come up with new excuses for not being able to play a tune. That or finally learn a bit, that’d be nice. Can’t let it get in the way of my book here though.

      Grand reveal: It was at the Salvation Army shop in North Vancouveron Fell Ave. Interestingly when I went to pick it up they had this “Irish” harp, made in Pakistan, not sure if that’s of interest to anyone, but there it was.
      Salvation Army Harp

      • February 17, 2013 2:23 pm

        Latest update from friends at the Claddagh Ring show on Co-op Radio, representing the Irish Harp front: this is a cheap decoy set out to lure unsuspecting fans into purchasing room-decor rather than a musical instrument. Proceed with aesthetics in mind, and don’t pay for acoustics.


  1. Wheatstone Concertina and/or Radio Production Company? | Accordion Uprising

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