Advice on Offering a Fair Price
#1
Hello everyone. This is my first post and my second day as a member. Several years ago I casually mentioned to a buddy at work that I've been thinking it would be nice to take up the accordion. To my surprise he said that he took lessons as a child and played in international competitions. He said he would gladly loan it to me. It was stored at his sister's house nearby so after work I followed him to his sister's. As it turned out his sister took lessons at the same time. She tried to get me to take his accordion and hers too. They were identical only different colors. There's an accordion joke in there somewhere I imagine. 
   
I brought the accordion home but only took it out of it's case once. It smelled a bit musty as it had been stored in his sister's attached garage. Judging from the books and award ribbons that were in the case the accordion is circa 1977. With the time I have on my hands during the Corona Virus precautions I've finally taken it out of it's case once again. In two days time I've been immersed in looking at beginner lessons on YouTube, registered on this forum and tested out all of the buttons and keys to make sure they all work and even starred in a funny internet video where my wife is sneaking up the stairs asking what that funny sound is, opening the door at the top and revealing  me with an accordion strapped on as I'm testing the keys followed by her wailing "no! no! no!".
   
My friend who owns the accordion has recently married and is going to move to Florida from Ohio next week. I've decided I really want to learn to play this thing and I want to offer him a fair price. It's a made in Italy Castiglione model C3402. I've tried to find this particular model on the internet. I've been able to find similar looking Castiglione accordions. The only one I could find identical to it didn't have a price on it.  I'm trusting I can find some good advice on what kind of offer I should make right here. 
   
You can get a good view of the accordion at the end of my wife's short video. Thanks! 
  
https://www.facebook.com/jan.house.758?epa=SEARCH_BOX
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#2
There’s an “Accordion Appraisal” group on Facebook for this very purpose. Might be worth your joining.
Elderly teenager still experimenting with music of all descriptions.  I may not please anyone else, but I’m long past caring about that.
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#3
(21-03-2020, 01:59 PM)Chrisrayner Wrote: There’s an “Accordion Appraisal” group on Facebook for this very purpose.  Might be worth your joining.
Thank you Chris! I'll do that right now.
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#4
Congratulations on your decision! Never too late to start an exciting activity!

Many of those accordions we find in so many houses were made in Italy, mostly in Castelfidardo factories, and many were "generic" and re-branded for distributors around the world. There seems to be a badge on the treble side, what does it look like? Seems like a 3-voice instrument.

Like anything else, an accordion is worth what the buyer wants to pay! We seed full-size PA's for sale at any price between $100 up to thousands and tens of thousands, depending on the model, build quality, age, and how much the seller thinks it's worth. It also depends on your budget.

I have purchased really good accordions for very little money, because the seller had no use for it and wanted to see it find a good home.

If you know the seller personally, then it adds another parameter on the equation. You want to offer a fair price, yet try not offend your friend! I would not pay more than a few hundreds for this one but that is just me.
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Playing diatonic and chromatic B-system, acoustic and Roland
Too many instruments to list  Big Grin
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#5
(21-03-2020, 03:47 PM)oldbayan Wrote: Congratulations on your decision! Never too late to start an exciting activity!

Many of those accordions we find in so many houses were made in Italy, mostly in Castelfidardo factories, and many were "generic" and re-branded for distributors around the world. There seems to be a badge on the treble side, what does it look like? Seems like a 3-voice instrument.

Like anything else, an accordion is worth what the buyer wants to pay! We seed full-size PA's for sale at any price between $100 up to thousands and tens of thousands, depending on the model, build quality, age, and how much the seller thinks it's worth. It also depends on your budget.
five
I have purchased really good accordions for very little money, because the seller had no use for it and wanted to see it find a good home.

If you know the seller personally, then it adds another parameter on the equation. You want to offer a fair price, yet try not offend your friend! I would not pay more than a few hundreds for this one but that is just me.

That's good advice and the kind I'm looking for oldbayan. I'm wanting to offer a fair price without offending my friend. I'm assuming his parents who had to purchase not one but two more than likely purchased student models. My first instinct was $100. Then I started looking them up and it was starting to look more like $400 which is more than I want to go. The middle would be $200 so maybe I'll go with that. In answer to your question it has five voices marked CLAR, BASS, MAST, CLAR and BASS so maybe that's three voices. Still thinking ...
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#6
(21-03-2020, 04:12 PM)Robin House Wrote: The middle would be $200 so maybe I'll go with that. Still thinking ...

Seems reasonable to me! It's little money to spend for getting so much fun Smile
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Playing diatonic and chromatic B-system, acoustic and Roland
Too many instruments to list  Big Grin
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#7
(21-03-2020, 04:16 PM)oldbayan Wrote:
(21-03-2020, 04:12 PM)Robin House Wrote: The middle would be $200 so maybe I'll go with that. Still thinking ...

Seems reasonable to me! It's little money to spend for getting so much fun Smile

Thank you. That puts it into perspective quite nicely.
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#8
(21-03-2020, 05:03 PM)Robin House Wrote: Thank you. That puts it into perspective quite nicely.

My only fear is that, after I die, my wife will sell my accordions at the price I told her I paid them Cry 

When you buy something like that it is usually to use it for years. My dad bought his first accordion in 1952 and used it for over 60 years! I have it with me now, a small Hohner 2-row diatonic. He paid $49 back then. It was a good expense, at a time he earned about $30 per week!
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Playing diatonic and chromatic B-system, acoustic and Roland
Too many instruments to list  Big Grin
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#9
(21-03-2020, 01:59 PM)Chrisrayner Wrote: There’s an “Accordion Appraisal” group on Facebook for this very purpose.  Might be worth your joining.

(21-03-2020, 02:01 PM)Robin House Wrote:
(21-03-2020, 01:59 PM)Chrisrayner Wrote: There’s an “Accordion Appraisal” group on Facebook for this very purpose.  Might be worth your joining.
Thank you Chris! I'll do that right now.
I joined the Facebook Accordion Appraisal page and without asking found a link to a blog by an obviously knowledgeable Alan Zizman who asks " Notice a musty, mildewy smell?" and then goes on to say  "This is accordion bad breath and it's not a good sign. It suggests the accordion has been stored in a damp place - perhaps a basement or garage. Not only is the smell unpleasant, but it's a sign the accordion's steel reeds may be getting rusty. If that's the case, it will be impossible to keep in tune and the reeds may snap if you play them loudly. Replacing the reeds is cost prohibitive. Walk away."

So now I'm thinking it would probably be best to return the accordion and start shopping for one more reliable or at least one with good breath.
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#10
That's a goid idea, Robin, it's almost impossibile yo rid n old ccordion of that smell, at least I have not figured it out.
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#11
Hi Tom. I did a google search on how to get the musty smell out of an accordion and where did it direct me but to right here, a thread from 2013. The advice from Jim D who owns a shop was, "First make up a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Vacuum the inside of the case and liberally spray the plush lining and close the cover. Let the mixture do its magic overnight. Now the accordion, Spray a little on a soft lint free cloth and wipe down all the surfaces. Next open the bellows and rub the mixture down the folds. Let the bellows dry overnight. When dry I finish up with "Pledge" furniture polish as it leaves a nice lemon smell."
 
So I did that and I'll see how she smells in the morning. I'm just wondering now if it's safe to leave the accordion open so the folds can breath or should I button it closed. Here's the link to the old thread'. https://www.accordionists.info/showthread.php?tid=77
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#12
Robin,
Despite the advice of many to the contrary, I have managed to eliminate mould and tobacco smoke smell from two accordions which remain free of either problem  Smile

One was a well worn 1940s I Busilacchio, the bass board of which was stained yellow by nicotine and which reeked of tobacco smoke like an overflowing ashtray!
I dealt with the stain using toothpaste on a rag, and the smell by thorough airing, though it took several years  Tongue. Still, it kept the moths away from the pallets Smile

The other, a well made Sonola, though a "student" model had somehow got thoroughly soaked, case and all, and gone mouldy: enough to make one sneeze! Sad

I wiped the non perishable bits down with "Windex" separated the bass and treble sections from the bellows and left everything ( including the carry case) to dry (well aired) in the garage in our very hot and dry summer weather for a couple of weeks, brushing it down at intervals with a soft brush.
Believe it or not, the musty smell has disappeared, never to return ( some 25+ years now) and I never need to sneeze when playing it! Smile
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#13
Thank you Dingo40! I'll add those ideas to what I've already done if they don't work and hopefully save this instrument. I haven't ventured to open it since It's not mine yet. Most things I take apart never make it back together ha ha.  Rolleyes
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#14
Robin,
I know that feeling well Smile!
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#15
Hi Robin,

You have received some good advice from other members, and there is little I can usefully add to this.

These are the facts: ........Your friend obviously has no further use for this instrument ........ it has been badly stored and totally unloved ...... the instrument needs a new home.

It may be wise to think of this as a "good enough for now" instrument to learn on, and to calculate your offer using this rationale. There is no doubt in my mind that you will soon want to trade up, so I wouldn't waste too much money on an instrument which may be fatally flawed.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#16
(22-03-2020, 12:00 PM)Stephen Hawkins Wrote: Hi Robin,

You have received some good advice from other members, and there is little I can usefully add to this.

These are the facts: ........Your friend obviously has no further use for this instrument ........ it has been badly stored and totally unloved ...... the instrument needs a new home.  

It may be wise to think of this as a "good enough for now" instrument to learn on, and to calculate your offer using this rationale.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will soon want to trade up, so I wouldn't waste too much money on an instrument which may be fatally flawed.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

Thank you Stephen. That's very wise advice. I'm hoping he'll suggest a price between, "Heck, you can have it for nothing" and $100.  Big Grin  My expectation is that he'll do a quick internet search and see a lot of $400 accordions that look very similar. That would put me in the awkward position of pointing out flaws on an instrument attached to the memory of his parents and his childhood experience. I've even thought of offering him $100 for rental until he wants it back which he probably never will. I'll keep you all posted on the outcome whatever it may be.
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#17
Thanks guys! Good advice and you've certainly been more diligent than me, Dingo, I'll try your methods next time....
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#18
Hi Robin,

The dilemma you face is plain to see. Your friend has some sentimental attachment to the instrument, but you do not (yet.) This is a common enough problem for anyone buying an accordion from a friend, but not insurmountable.

Your friend needs to be (gently) told that his accordion has expensive problems, and that it may cost more to fix than it is actually worth. The price he asks for it should take into account all the work that needs doing, otherwise the instrument may easily become a financial liability. You could also point out that, even if it was given to you free, repairs may still cost more than the instrument is worth.

Believe it or not, you can live with an instrument which is slightly out of tune. My very old Arietta 120/41 is getting a bit worse for wear but, then again, so am I. There are a few little flat spots on it but, I can still rattle out some decent folk/popular tunes on it, and nobody seems to notice the duff notes.

It will take years for you to achieve perfection, so it is okay to practice on an instrument which is less than perfect.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#19
My first question when i decide I want to buy something is "What will you take for it?" and then go from there.

I have 2 accordion stories to tell:


1.  A 1960's Salanti, my son bought it at a thrift shop for $35, then moved far away.  It sat in a bin in our damp basement for 10 years.  I dragged it out last fall, did a few repairs to make it functional, I've found that I think it sounds really good.  Everything I've read since says stay away from accordions with similar backgrounds.  Anyways, it had a musty smell to it which has diminished substantially over the past 6 months with daily attempts at playing (I am a slow learner!) and the more I play it the better it sounds.   I have decided I'd like to put it in proper playing condition, it has a few missing bellows corners and some air leakage.  So I've been looking and found #2 last week. 

2. A Hohner Marchesa that I found on Kijiji, owner was asking $100.  He was around 70 and moving, his dad had bought it new for him around 1960, he took lessons for 2 years then put it away.  It had a sticking key and a sticking up key, easy to fix. He seemed anxious because he hadn't been aware of the sticking key.  I had told him on the phone if it played ok I'd give him the $100 he was asking.  I didn't tell him, but I'd seen Marchesas usually selling in the $400 - $500 range.   He was happy to sell it for $100.   It looks brand new and smells like an old accordion (not musty, but not far from musty)   It plays and sounds great!  The original case looks new but has a stronger "old accordion" smell that has dimished appreciably with some airing and closing the case with dryer sheets in it.

I have been looking at a lot of used accordions, here is my take on your situation.  The $400 accordions worth buying usually play well and have been serviced or checked over recently.  The one you are using may need some work.  Another thing about pricing, some accordions are listed at higher prices and don't sell for a very long time.  A lot of pricing depends on owner's situation and location.  Small town accordions seem to take a while to sell, big city ones sell quickly.

Make your deal
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#20
They are way too easy to find around here.... You know that old joke about if you leave your car open with an accordion in it you'll come back and find 2? I collected and repaired for a number of years before buying new ones. Then I broke down and bought a light 120 Sonola for $25. What am I nuts?
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