One one end, in an oval aperture in the fretwork can be read: "Patent / CONCERTINA / By / GEORGE CASE / BOOSEY&CHING, HOLLES ST / LONDON".
At the other end there is no serial number visible, probably because it would originally have been printed on a chamois leather baffle which is now missing. However the serial number of 3087 is on both ends of the inside reedpans and on the inside if the bellows frame. This probably dates it from around 1859-60 as 3087 is lower than any other serial number I can find with the same "Boosey&Ching" address. Boosey and Sons took over George Case in 1856, and after becoming Boosey&Ching of Holles Street, soon moved to Wells Street, then became Boosey & Co in 1864. Let's work on 1859 as a likely date.
It is very similar to this example in Neil Wayne's museum. For more information on George Case, and clues that helped in the dating of this concertina based on changes in company names, see Steve Flint's "Case Notes". A price list of Case concertinas from 1860 shows that this was their top model "The Patent Concert Concertina", costing 12 guineas (£12.60).
It has its probably original rosewood wooden hexagonal ends-up box, which has however been relined and has no lock.
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.
Condition on arrival was good (considering its age). There were a couple of very high notes not sounding in one direction, but in general it was playable, with a nice sweet tone.
The reeds are steel, in brass shoes. It is not in concert pitch, being about 50 cents sharp, so in old philharmonic pitch. Not good for playing with others!
The main oddity of its construction is the presence of reed chambers on both sides of the reedpan. On an ordinary concertina the inside of the reedpan is smooth, but on this one, there are internal divisions, topped by wooden hexagonal 'baffles' on the interior of the reedpans, facing the bellows, to create resonant cavities for the inner reeds. See photos below. Chris Flint describes these as 'double chamber' reed pans - supposedly developed to equalise the sound between the 'pull' & the 'draw'. More on this as I research it.
|| Bellows || Diagonal view || Label || Left side
|| Right side || Action || Padboard || Bellows frame
|| Inside end || Inside bellows || Reedpan || Reeds
|| Baffle top || Baffle side || Draw || Push (baffle removed)