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One one end, in an oval aperture in the fretwork can be read "Lachenal & Co, Patent Concertina Manufacturer, London". At the other end is a serial number, 58748.
I have been told that it is a Lachenal Excelsior, probably dating from 1931. This is late period, as Lachenal was taken over by Wheatstone in the mid 1930s.
It came in its original box, black leather with velvet lining, also with a Lachenal label.
It is an English concertina, which means that it produces the same note when a key is pressed, regardless of whether the bellows are going in or out. The other main type of concertina is the Anglo, which gives different notes according to bellows direction, like a mouth organ does.
It is in good condition, all notes play, and it is accurately in tune with itself and is now in concert pitch. However it was originally tuned to 'old Philharmonic pitch' of A=452, which is about a quarter tone sharp with respect to concert pitch (A=440). This use of old pitch together with the all-black undecorated bellows, possibly indicates that it had been a Salvation Army instrument.
Originally I hired the instrument on a trial basis. I said that if they fixed one duff note and tuned two others I would buy it. In fact they sent the instrument off to Hohner who apparently gave it a thorough overhaul.
I bought the instrument for £400 on top of £50 hiring costs for a quarter. I have since enjoyed playing it (to myself). I originally played largely by ear as my sight reading was atrocious. However if I can sing a tune, I can usually play it fairly readily on the concertina. Over time, my sight reading has improved.
I had it overhauled and retuned in October 1998 by Barry Wallace of 18 Whitebrook Terrace, Holcombe Rogus, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 0PY. He also made a new case for it to preserve its original one.