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Any information on accordion maker 'Rafaeli'?
I bought an accordion second-hand a while ago. The original owner purchased it some time in the 1950s. I'm looking for more information on the brand, Rafaeli, just to satisfy my own curiosity.
During the 50's there were literally dozens of store brand labeled accordions. Most were manufactured by one of the main companies and then sold to music stores or teachers who then could claim to have their own "brand" of accordion. There are thousands of these less than full size "Student" models out there. In order to provide you any useful information, you will will need to provide more information to include type of accordion, size, quality of reeds, tuning, number of reed banks, registers, etc. You might also want to have a look inside to see if there are any internal labels. If you are squeamish about opening it up, you could search for accordion on ebay and see if you can find any that look very similar to yours. Also you might want to look up a local accordion club and take it to one of their meetings and have them give you an opinion. Also, while you have it - play it regularly. Accordions tend to deteriorate quickly if not not played. And store it in a dry area - not the basement or attic. Otherwise the reeds may rust, the leathers will dry out, bugs will eat the felts, wax may crystallize, dry out or crack and whatever value it might have will be lost.
I copied most of the following from an older prior post. Some of it doesn't apply in your case but it is still good info and explains why it is so difficult to give a value on an accordion that you can't see - both inside and outside.
Most manufacturers made accordions in many different grades. Sometimes the same model will have greatly varied values as determined by the specific parts used in it and their condition. If you take, for example two accordions with the same model number and put quality handmade reeds in one and factory reeds in the other, there will be a great difference in their values. If you really want to find the true value, you will have to take it to an actual accordion repair person - a professional who knows the time, cost and extent of restoration required if any. Also, you should expect to pay an evaluation/estimate fee for this service. It takes time to disassemble and evaluate the instrument and no one (or hardly anyone) ever works for free anymore. Also the person doing the evaluation takes a chance on damaging something when he opens the box - the gaskets come apart, glue comes apart, pieces fall out and the customer doesn't believe that the damage was already there or incidental to opening it up.
Some things that would need to be known in order to value it:
The actual manufacturer
Kind of accordion - Piano, Chromatic, 1 row, 2 row, 3 Row, Cajun, Bayan, Bass, Anglo, Concertina, etc.
Number of Keys Bass and Treble
Size of treble keyboard 17 1/2 inch, 19 inch etc.
Tuning - musette, dry, in tune or not.
State of the leather valves - flexible and soft, hard, curled, etc.
Wax condition - Reeds are usually held in place by a mixture of Bees Wax and Rosen - accordions stored in either cold or hot temperatures or in very dry areas usually have wax that has crystallized, melted, or dried up and will need to be replaced. Condition of surface, warping, cracking, rot, etc.
Type of reeds (hand made, hand finished, factory) and condition (no rust or corrosion)
Condition of the felts under the keys
Number of reed banks - treble and bass
Shifts/registers on each side
Bellows condition - is it lined, how many folds, condition of glue and corner leathers, gaskets
Any musty odors or bugs inside - Don't laugh - mealy bugs and moth larva cause havoc in an accordion
Condition of the bass machine - rust etc.
Condition of straps
Case usually really doesn't matter unless it is really unusual
Appearance - does it look good.
Playability - ease of use, balance, key travel and pressure required, etc.
Accordions generally have little value as antiques unless there is something special about them - like it was used by a very famous accordionist and it is documented. Or if it is the first of its kind or is really old or is signed by a famous maker. Part of the reason for this is the cost of restoration. If an
accordion has set for 10 or more years without being played, it almost always needs cleaning and tuning and some restoration. For a full size accordion this costs upwards of $400. Perhaps even more than $2,000 for a serious and complete restoration.
So what happens is that an accordion that cost $300 new in 1940 may require $400 or more in repairs in order to get it working properly and then will have a resale value of only $500. Just not practical... Lots of these 40's and 50's vintage boxes go on sale on ebay and end up selling for $40 - $50. Basically they end up as parts or something to play on outside gigs if it looks like rain....A few old accordions are very well made with excellent reeds and potentially could be worth more than a new one if completely restored but only your repair person knows for sure. I have seen a few restorations in the neighborhood of $1500 that resulted in a like new box that was better than 99% of the new accordions out there that cost three times as much. The problem is to find a technician that can do that quality of work.
Hope the above info helps. Also it explains why such a simple question like "how much is this accordion worth?" can't be answered easily. It is not that no one wants to help; it is that the answer is very complicated and an answer like "Anywhere from $50 to $5000" doesn't satisfy the question. This question comes up very often on this and other accordion forums and unfortunately the answer is very rarely what the person asking the question wants to hear. Also unfortunate is that there just are not that many knowledgeable places, at least in the US, where you can take an accordion for evaluation. The average music store/instrument repair place doesn't have a clue. Sometimes if you’re lucky, the local accordion club will have a member or two that can help.
Bad odor in accordion
That smell is probably mildew and there is no really good way to get rid of it. If you search the archives of Accordion Freedom Forum you will see several suggestions that might help a bit. e.g. remove bellows and put in the sun, use UV light, Fabreeze, bleach, and other chemicals. The sad part is that the mold/mildew gets into the pores of the wood and cloth and does permanent damage. Also it is often indicative of prior exposure to moisture which means that the reeds may be rusty and leathers damaged. If you are lucky, you might be able to disassemble the box, clean thoroughly each part and reassemble it. This is not a job for the faint of heart however as there are more parts in a full size accordion than there are in a Grand Piano and specialized techniques are required. Check out Ike's Boxpital web site: http://accordiondoc.home.mindspring.com/ , Hans Palm's web page: http://www.accordionpage.com/ , (inside an accordion) for more information.
Also Dale at HTTP://Accordionplus.com has a video on basic accordion repair and maintenance.
Good Luck with your accordion!
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