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What is this Accordion Worth?

Perhaps the most common accordion question posted online is, “How much is this old accordion worth?” They’re usually instruments that were inherited from someone who used to play, and the current owner doesn’t know if their grandfather’s old treasure is a fabulous gold-mine or simply a sentimental old thing.

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After years of responding to similar requests I’m an expert at saying: “I don’t know.”

The simple answer is that it’s hard to assess an older accordion without seeing it in person, playing it, and looking inside. They’re like used cars. Big ones may have more parts than some cars!

George Bachich’s great Accordion Revival website gives some idea of the things that effect prices. Most older instruments need some work. This can cost 100’s of dollars to bring them up to good playing shape, so that brings down the selling value. As a result many old accordions are only worth a few hundred dollars even if they haven’t been mistreated. George wrote a whole book on the issues effecting the value of used accordions.

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The specifics can be a lot to take in. Basically, do all the notes/buttons play in tune when each switch (right hand/Left hand) pressed? Do the bellows smell bad (mold is a killer in wet basements). And do the hundreds of leather valves need replacing?

Where are you located?

Taking an accordion to someone with experience is the easiest way to get a basic answer. Search online for local accordionists, accordion clubs, or the endangered nearby accordion repair technician. If you happen to be in the Vancouver area The Vancouver Squeezebox Circle meets in person on the first Thurs of the month.

House of Musical Traditions website

The House of Musical Traditions in Maryland has a fine page about Older Accordions answering these same questions.
Otherwise, if you’re asking online, it helps if you have some good pictures of the instrument, preferably with inside images of the condition of the reed-blocks (which often need repair, see above).
The folks on this UK forum have done basic assessments based on decent photos. Even with just photos of the outside they could say, “That was a high-end instrument when new and might be worth fixing,” or “That’s a nice student-model that wouldn’t be worth as much if it needs work.” Good folks. (You’ll have to log in to post your question).
Do remember that you’re not alone, people ask this question a lot. Some accordionists get tired of not being able to satisfactorily answer it. Your quality photos and understanding of the limited answers someone can give without handling the actual instrument may help a lot. http://www.accordionists.co.uk/
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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 30, 2017 12:43 pm

    Hey look, Piano-people get the same question!

    “This is a question we see a lot, so I thought I’d explain it for our visitors.

    “We don’t offer valuation services on this site. The reason we don’t, or rather can’t are because we can’t see the instrument to inspect it. It’s impossible to do in this format.

    “We always recommend that you have it looked at by a local professional/tech etc. They can visually inspect it, which is key, and can offer you a guide price.”

    http://www.mypianofriends.com/what-is-my-piano-worth-225344.html

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