You’ve just acquired a squeezebox and now you need to how much your accordion is worth. In our business, we get hundreds of calls a month from people who have either inherited an accordion from a relative or bought an accordion at a flea market, online deal or garage sale. Just the other day, a woman came into the shop to find out what her father’s accordion was worth. It was easy to tell that there was a lot of sentimental attachment to this instrument. Her father played the accordion for decades and left behind a lot of wonderful memories.
(My goal as an accordion preservationist, is to keep as many high-quality accordions out of the graveyards as possible. Not every accordion can be saved, but we do our very best to restore the integrity of the instrument through repairs or maintenance before terminating.)
After carefully inspecting the exterior of her father’s accordion for age, brand, scratches, dents and overall condition, I proceeded to gently rock it back and forth to see if there were any loose parts inside. As you might expect, there were numerous issues. Rather than risk playing and potentially damaging the instrument further, I opened it up to examine the condition of the wax, reeds, leathers and other components. It didn’t take long to find many loose contacts and other problems.
It is during this assessment process, that I have to ascertain the overall condition of the instrument, parts availability and rebuild, coupled with the time it will take to completely restore the unit. In this instance, I had determined that the unit will take several months in between other immediate repairs to refurbish. The rebuild will also cost additional staff to help with the rebuild. In this instance, the strong mildew smell and extensive rebuild costs made it prohibitive to purchase for resale.
What’s also important to understand, is that the value of the used accordion is only as good as the offer to buy it. Keep in mind that it may sit on the shelf for six months to a year awaiting sale and taking up valuable shelf space.
Trade-ins will also impact the retail price and the profit is contingent on the amount of time, parts, additional labor, and repair involved in restoring that accordion. Unforeseen problems that go undetected at the time of the trade may also occur. Like any other business, we are here to make a profit and stay afloat in good times and in bad.
From time to time, a customer will call wanting to know why the used accordion she sold to us six months earlier was put on the website for considerably more than what she was paid. In that particular case, we had to do an entire rebuild and replace several parts. By the time the accordion was shelf ready, we had over 40 hours of labor, plus replacement parts. This customer was offered and paid $200 for the accordion. At the time, she was happy with the offer and we saw a starter accordion for a new student. The retail cost for this accordion was $800. Afer deducting $200 for the cost to buy the accordion, labor, parts, overhead, web advertising, straps and a case, guess what? Very little profit was made on this particular instrument, however, we focus on building long-term relationships that will allow us to make up the difference over time in lessons, accordion upgrades, and other repeat business.
I take great pride in selling quality new and used accordions and I stand by my one year warranty. How many other accordion shops do you know that offer a one year warranty, accordion case (up to $300) and new straps (up to $150) with every accordion? I share with great confidence, that the costs to restore a used or trade-in accordion these days often far exceed the fair market value. Our mission is to stay in business and do whatever we can to keep the accordion alive and in the arms of musicians who appreciate the instrument as much as I do.
If you have questions regarding an accordion you’d like considered for purchase or in need of repair, please contact us at 651-224-6943. You may also send us one low-resolution picture of the front of the accordion with your contact information to Ken Mahler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking for a new accordion, stop by our shop or visit us online at www.accordionheaven.com.