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Century-old concertina plays so beautifully its music to my ears

Picture Caption: Derrick Hale with the Lachenal Edeophone concertina for sale at Hansons in March

If you popped into Hansons this week you may have enjoyed an impromptu musical performance by our very own Derrick Hale.

Derrick is our musical instrument and mechanical music valuer - and he just happens to be a mean concertina player.

The beauty that caught his eye was a 56-key treble concertina called the Edeophone, made by Lachenal & Co.

I can vouch for the fact that, though it’s around 100 years old, it plays beautifully. That’s because Derrick treated us to a quick demonstration of his musical abilities.

The concertina is a fascinating piece of musical equipment. After initially being an instrument favoured by high society, towards the end of the 19th century it began to be more socially mobile, becoming popular with all social classes.

This was a time when music was becoming more accessible to people through entertainment venues and a broader school curriculum.

Meanwhile, concertina manufacturers looked to develop the instrument and improve quality. In 1889 the Lachenal company introduced the Edeophone, a professional quality instrument - and we’re delighted to have one for sale in our Musical Instruments Auction on March 15 with an estimate of £1,000-£1,500.

The Edeophone is distinctive in that it has 12 sides. Concertinas have six. Wheatstone, another major concertina manufacturer, responded by producing its Aeola, an eight-sided instrument.

Six, eight and 12-sided concertinas continued to be made until popularity waned. However, small quantities of high quality instruments are still produced today.

Musical instruments have their own lives and it could be said that musicians are only caretakers who look after the instruments for the length of their own lives.

When handling an instrument like this concertina, a hundred years or so old, you can’t help but wonder where it has been, who has played it and what for?

It has survived two world wars. Did it travel to the front lines? Was it kept safe at home waiting for a soldier owner to return?

Was it played at a dance to celebrate peace being declared? Perhaps it played its part in one of the concertina bands that existed in the early years of the 20th century.

Concertinas have never been cheap and this Lachenal Edeophone was a top-of-the-range instrument. It would have been bought, when new, by a professional musician or serious amateur.

For some, a concertina like this may have been the only major purchase made in their life, enabling them to make a living from playing it.

Derrick Hale will be valuing musical instruments, mechanical music, fishing collectables and vintage tools at Hansons in Heage Lane, Etwall, on February 6 from 10am-noon. Entries are invited for the Musical Memorabilia Auction until March 2.

If you’ve been having a new year clear out, Hansons hosts free valuation at its Etwall saleroom every Wednesday,5-7pm; every Friday,10am-4pm and every Saturday, 9am-noon. Plus, every Tuesday we have free jewellery valuations, 9.30am-4.30pm, and free silver valuations, 10am-4pm. On January 26, join us for free sporting guns and firearms valuations, by appointment, plus country pursuits valuations, 10am-1pm. Plus, if you’re downsizing or need house clearance services, please call us on 01283 733988.