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House of Musical Traditions
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Takoma Park, MD 20912
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Squeezebox Info > ID, Evaluation & Appraisal updated March 31, 2014

We receive inquiries nearly every day from people searching for information and/or a value on their old accordion. The most common story is that an old accordion was found in a relative's home (usually an attic or basement) after the relative passed away, and they "just can't find any information about it online." We direct such inquiries to this page, which explains why it is nearly impossible for us to offer specific information or values without seeing the accordion in person. We hope this information will be useful to those searching for guidance, especially if you want to try and sell the instrument yourself.

Before we begin, we will say that we do offer sale/trade/consignment for used accordions. If your aim is to sell the accordion and you are interested in working with us, please send us an email with pictures and as much information as you can about the instrument. If you can follow our guide for checking out the condition of a used accordion and report what you find, that's even better.

We are especially interested in accordions between 48-80 bass sizes, in good condition. We may consider 120-bass sizes if they are in good condition. send us an inquiry for potential sale/consignment.

Once we receive the email, we will let you know if we are interested in having you ship the accordion to us for further evaluation for possible sale. Shipping is not without risk, and you must understand that we cannot make you even a rough offer until the accordion has gone to our repair shop for a complete evaluation (this process may take several weeks).

When a local customer brings an accordion to our shop that they want to sell, it goes to the repair shop first, and once we receive their evaluation/repair estimate, we can then communicate offers and selling possibilities. If you are looking to obtain a formal, written appraisal, our accordion repair shop can provide this for a $50 fee. It will include specific notes on condition and a replacement value for insurance purposes. To write such an appraisal, they must have the accordion in person. Contact us if you are interested in getting an accordion to us for a formal appraisal.

"Why can't I find any information about my accordion online?"
There were literally hundreds of accordion companies and associated brand names during the "Golden Age" of accordion manufacturing in the mid-1900's, mostly in Italy. The majority of these companies stopped manufacturing decades ago, and there is little historical information left about most of them.

We have compiled a list of brands that we have run across over the years but new ones pop up all the time that we have never heard of. There are a handful of brand names that are still being manufactured today, and these will generally have more intrinsic value.
But in most cases with these older accordions, the name itself isn't going to mean a whole lot. Some accordions might have serial numbers, but in many cases there is no record of serial number dating that we know of, so it isn't possible to find out exactly how old the accordion is.

"I don't play accordion, but this one I found looks like it's in perfect condition."
Has it been sitting unplayed for many years? (especially in an attic or basement where humidity and temperature are not optimal) Has it had any routine maintenance done in the last 5 years or so? If not, then it probably isn't in perfect condition. Accordions need regular maintenance every few years to keep them in good playing condition. There are many moving parts inside, some of which involve leather, glue and felt. These parts deteriorate over time or can need re-aligning.

Repairs by a trained expert can end up being very costly if a complete overhaul is needed. This is why the potential value or selling price of an accordion is based largely on its playing condition, and what repairs it might need. Almost every used accordion that we sell has had some type of repairs done to it before it goes up for sale.

Sometimes, when repairs aren't financially feasible, we might sell it as-is at a substantially lower price. You can use our guide to check out the condition of a used accordion and look for potential repair issues.

"How much is my accordion worth?"
Accordions do not generally have a "Blue Book Value" like other instruments such as guitars. We've explained above the difficulties involving brand names and playing condition. The short answer is, it's worth what someone is willing to pay for it. This could vary widely depending on where -- and by what method -- the accordion is being sold. (By an individual on Craigslist or eBay, at a pawn shop or antique store, by a reputable accordion shop, and also by geographic region; the same instrument might fetch a higher price in New York City than it would in rural Arkansas.)

You'll also want to identify specific features on the instrument, such as how many bass buttons it has, how many sets of treble and bass reeds, register switches, musette tuning, whether it has a tone chamber, etc. These features can play into value. See our chart of desirable features. Also see our list of used accordions for sale to see what we might be selling comparable instruments for.

"OK, I don't want to ship my accordion to you for potential sale - how would you suggest I sell it myself?"
If you don't have a music store in your area that deals in accordions, you can always try a pawn or antique shop, though you probably won't get much for it at those places. With a little effort, putting it up for auction on eBay is probably the best possibility, and one that we've had success with ourselves.

Check out other listings for sale to find accordions similar to yours, to help determine what you might want to start the bidding at. Include several pictures of the accordion and as detailed a description as you can about its features and playing condition. In our experience, the more detailed description we provide, the more bids we get -- even when we note that repairs are needed. There are lots of accordion collectors and people who do their own repairs who look for good deals on eBay. They'll know what they're looking for and will bid on the accordion appropriately. Set a low starting bid and see where it goes; you might be surprised! You also may get a fair amount of interest from international bidders. Shipping accordions internationally can be fraught with difficulty -- so if you don't want to bother with that, specify US bidders only on your listing.

History

If you are more interested in the history of your accordion than its value, here are some web sites to check out:

Desirable Features for Piano Accordions

Next to great tuning, fantastic sound and playability, the number one thing to look for is a respected brand name (see List of Accordion Brands). But beyond that, there are a number of things to look for that make for a more popular accordion, at least here at HMT. Each one of these features you can identify on your accordion increases its salability in our market, assuming of course there are no negatives to counterbalance it, such as wheezy reeds, a leaky bellows or cracked keytops. Some of these features are rarely found on modern accordions and are unusual even on older ones -- I have italicized these.

Thus, from looking over this chart, one could assume that a plain looking 41/120 piano accordion with only 2 reeds in octave tuning and 3 or fewer registers, with either no brand name or an obscure brand, with plain white ladies size keys, old straps and a beat up case, and none of the other special features mentioned, will not command much of a price even if it seems to be working OK. Such an instrument might retail at HMT for about $200 unless it was reconditioned at our repair shop, in which case we would add on for the servicing cost.

 Design Features  Cosmetic features
 48 (4x12 only), 60, 72, 80, or 96 basses, min. 34 trebles
 3 or 4 treble reeds (voices)  Pearloid keys
 Musette tuning (2 or 3 reeds)  Pearloid outer shell (body)
5 or more treble registers  Wood, esp. carved or figured
 Rocker registers (dual function)  Inlays or decorations
 Palm master shift (keyboard)  Fancy binding or trim
 Full size keys (3/4" width)  Diamante (rhinestones)
 Waterfall keys (sloped ends)  Deco or "diner" style grille
 functional bellows lock switch  "Antico" grille scrollwork
 Internal mic; onboard controls  Bass scrollwork
 Lightweight (17 lbs or less)  Engraving
 Visual shift indicators  No missing pieces
 Heavy duty straps, backstrap  Case in good condition

How to Obtain A Formal Appraisal

Our accordion repair shop can provide a formal, written appraisal on your accordion if delivered in person to HMT (sorry, we don't accept shipped accordions for appraisal). The charge for the appraisal is $50. If your main purpose is getting a repair estimate, this is provided (verbally) at no charge.

How to check out the condition of a used piano accordion:
Except for the section about registers, this advice also applies to button accordions and concertinas that have no switches. Have a notepad an