What Sells: Accordions

The contemporary accordion, part of the wind family, was patented in Austria by Cyril Demian in 1829. The typical accordion has a small keyboard and free-vibrating metal reeds that sound when air is generated by pleated bellows. They are hot sellers online; vintage models made of celluloid do particularly well. There are three basic types of contemporary accordians: the piano accordion with a piano-like keyboard mechanism, the concertina, (hexagonal, with pistons or buttons, also called ‘touches’, at the end of each bellows), and the button accordion. The Button and Piano accordions are chromatic instruments that became popular after World War I. During recent years the development of electronics has also had its influence; transistors were first introduced into the accordion in 1960.

What Sells

Top-selling brands include:
  • Cordovox
  • Crucianelli
  • Excalibur
  • Gaillard
  • Hohner
Research Resources

Accordions Worldwide has a glossary and diagrams of accordion parts. Visit the website at http://www.accordions.com/.

The Accordion Yellow Pages have over 16,000 listings of accordion-related items, plus a stolen accordions list. Visit the website at http://www.accordionworld.com/.


Look for these signs of wear and tear:

  • Scratches, scuffs and cracks
  • Warped wood
  • Stuck or unresponsive keys and buttons
  • Rusted metal
  • Leaking bellows (due to tears or deterioration)
  • Cracked or broken shoulder straps
  • Dirt
  • Odors (especially cigarette smoke)
  • Missing parts, case, etc.

Ask the owner how often the accordion was used, and whether it was ever serviced or repaired. If you don’t know how to play the instrument, ask them for a demonstration; have them point out any problems with the sound or playability of the instrument.

Key Details

Include these details in your listing:
  • Brand
  • Model (if known)
  • Type of accordion (concertina, diatonic, etc.)
  • Age (if known)
  • Accessories (case, amp, etc.)
Storage and Shipping

Keep accordions in a well-ventilated room, away from children, pets, smoke, water and cooking odors. Don’t place them in direct sunlight. Do not place instruments next to heating vents or air conditioners either, since temperature/humidity changes can cause damage.

Accordions should be stored and shipped in hard cases designed to hold the specific instrument. Lay the instrument in its case and place packing material around any loose spots around the instrument. Be careful not to over-pack and force the case cover down onto instrument. Put instrument packed in its case into a corrugated shipping carton. Use foam, crumpled paper or bubble wrap (~3 inches of packing material) all around the instrument so it cannot move or rattle inside the carton.

If the instrument is too heavy for the carton, reinforce the interior with a second layer of cardboard. Take care to insure the instrument whether you ship by UPS, FedEx, or Post Office. If an instrument case is not available, consider having a crate made for the item.

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