There is a diverse assortment of accordion manufacturers available nowadays. Several countries in Europe, including Germany, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Belgium, and even Japan, are home to well-known accordion brands. However, Italy is home to some of the finest antique accordions from Italy. Indeed, many squeezebox fans are avid collectors of antique Italian accordions. Who can blame them? Some of these brands have been the mainstays of a few of the greatest accordion players in history.
L’Artigiana, or The Artisan, was created by Agostinelli Nazzareno in 1946 in Castelfidardo. It stopped producing instruments in 1977.
Its bass accordion was made with a keyboard fashioned from wood and has 15 registers. One of its unique features is the presence of 6 saxophone flaps.
The Sante Crucianelli brand was founded in 1888 in Castelfidardo. The company produced amazing piano accordions that are now very hard to find.
Nowadays, an authentic and well-functioning Sante Crucianelli piano accordion costs over $500. These rare accordions could go as high as $1,000, depending on the model, year it was made, and features.
One of their vintage accordions features the mark of the brand (Cav.Sente Crucianelli & Figli), a row of ten bass buttons, and steel reeds that were handmade by one of their workers.
This particular Italian accordion brand was founded in 1856 in the city of Recanati. It ceased operations in 1973, but a lot of the original accordions made by this brand can be bought online.
A vintage Cingolani Giovanni accordion could cost upwards of $200. These accordions often feature an all black look, master switches on the front, and a beautiful ivory keyboard.
The accordion-making business of the Silvio Scandalli family began around 1900. From 1915 to 1921, a small firm grew out of a humble shop in Camerano in just a few years. This small firm soon became an industrial powerhouse that employed over 700 people in 1941.
The Scandalli brothers’ Italian accordion brand was one of the most famous names in the United States after the conclusion of World War II. The Scandalli brand has become associated with excellence and serves as a benchmark for a variety of other instruments. This is all thanks to the ingenuity of Silvio, as well as the many innovations and patents that he applied to his accordion.
Some of the most well-known artists in the world, like Sabina Aftyka, Lucy Alves, Stefano Bembi, Evgenia Chirkova, and Andre Coruzzi, are happy customers of the Scandali brand.
The name Serenellini is a tiny handcraft enterprise that can be found in the lovely town of Loreto, which is close to Castelfidardo. The proprietor, Luciano Serenellini, previously made accordion toys. But it wasn’t long after that that he started to feel the need to produce a professional accordion, which prompted him to closely examine the work of his accordion-making peers.
His passion and talent drove him to start a firm in 1978. Mr. Luciano started as a contractor at Castelfidardo, but soon he created his own brand, Serenellini.
He quickly made the decision to exhibit in Frankfurt’s “Musikmesse,” Germany’s largest music trade show. As a result, the Serenellini brand gained popularity and recognition both in Europe and the US year after year.
Julie Wisniewski from Flick Flack, Yana Fedoruk from New Tango, Helen Rich from Golden Slipper, and Valerio Russo from Cavatina di Figaro are some well-known artists that are fans of the Serenellini brand.
The brand Pasquale Ficosecco was created in the city of Loreto back in 1889 and it stopped operations in 1899. Despite only functioning for ten years, this brand has left us with a handful of well made and very rare accordions from Italy.
A vintage Pasquale Ficosecco button accordion is being sold for over $900 nowadays. This type of accordion has a very colorful aesthetic and is decorated with gems and rhinestones. Its made up of wood, has two reeds, and bass buttons on the bass side.
The La Piatanesi name was created in 1920 in the city of Castelfidardo in Italy. It was founded by Francesco Piatanesi, Italo Piatanesi, and Amadeo Ottavianelli. In 1975, the ownership was passed on to Ovidio & Ov. It ceased operations in 1985.
The accordions created by this company are favored by European accordion players. They were known for creating full size accordions with a unique sound. The settings on their accordions also made it very easy to play and the weight was almost not an issue to most players.
La Sirena, or The Siren when translated to English, was created in 1921 by Emilion Ficosecco in Loreto, Italy. It ceased operations in 1930.
La Sirena piano accordions have a very sophisticated design. Its beautiful white finish makes it perfect for playing at weddings or other fancy events.
This accordion maker was founded in 1925 in Castelfidardo. It was later rebranded to F. Illi Fontanella in 1930. In 1958, it ceased operations, but you can find rare accordions with the company’s name online and in some old music stores.
The price of these accordions reach $1000. If you’re lucky, there are some stores selling these for less than $900, but don’t expect it to be in good condition.
One example of a Cesare Fontanella accordion is a two spoon bass, and single row instrument. It features a shiny wooden finish with yellow buttons that are in the key of C.
Paolo began a home workshop in 1864 with the aid of his brothers. After a few years, he relocated to a larger house and hired employees. First-produced “armoniche” were sold at local fairs and marketplaces. There is no shortage of visitors and tourists in Loreto. Paolo saw this as an opportunity to show off his accordion skills and advertise his own brand.
In 1872, he founded a workshop in Piazza Garibaldi in Castelfidardo. His instruments were an instant hit, particularly in the rural areas where everyone, even farmers, would dance to popular music. As word spread, demands began to pour in from other European nations, such as France.
He required a larger space, more personnel, better production stages, and a commercial headquarters to meet the growing demand. That is why Paolo created a new plant in Castelfidardo with the help of his two sons, Luigi and Achille.
The brand had significant success at a Parisian exposition in 1900. Paolo was invited to join the Academie des Inventeurs de Bruxelles et de Paris and meet the French President.
The location of this particular accordion factory is in Stradella, Italy. It operated from the year 1939 to 2003. Their now vintage concertinas are known for offering great performance, high-quality straps, beautiful ivory keys, and durable bellows.
A Luigi Lucchini accordion, with its original case, could cost more than $1000. An example of the accordions produced by this name is their well known model Claudio. It has 120 keys on the keyboard, 15 registers, and 41 treble keys.
Adriano Picchiettie and Dario Dari opened the doors to this specific factory back in 1919. Later, the factory’s name was changed to Victoria. From the beginning of manufacture, the emphasis was placed on producing accordions of the highest possible quality. A converting accordion was initially made in Victoria and given the title Victoria Converter.
Accordionists and instructors worldwide have collaborated with Victoria on several groundbreaking models, all of which have been hailed for their durability and high levels of customer happiness. Victoria’s signature tone is rich, velvety, and instantly recognizable.
Legendary musicians like Frank Marocco, Jonny Kerry, Luciano Biondini, and Massimo Tagliata, as well as the musical group Concertino, have been known to use the instruments that the Victoria brand produces.
Rol Vescovi was founded by Oberdan Vescovi in 1944. It was stationed in Castelfidrado, Italy and it ceased operations in 1963.
Some listings online feature an accordion with 96 bass, 37 treble keys, 5 treble switches, and 2 bass switches. You can also find some listings of this accordion with shoulder straps and even its original case.
Frequently Answered Questions on Vintage Italian Accordion brands
Do vintage accordions sell for a high price?
The short answer is the prices depend on the brand of the accordion. A vintage full-size accordion can sell for over $1000. If you’re willing to pay this much, you can also expect to get its original case in good condition.
How can I tell if a vintage accordion is working well?
Before buying concertinas, a keyboard, or any instrument, do a bit of research on the companies that manufacture these products. Read the description of how the model and style should look, and check the value of that specific product. You can find detailed information on the website of the brand.
Check for leaks from the body and listen to how it plays. Inspect the register switches, the tips, the reeds, the bass side, the bellows, the right-hand side, the straps, and every single one of the keys.
My introduction to accordion music was by way of Zydeco and Tex-Mex music. Once I got my hands on my very own squeezebox, I was hooked. Let me tell you, playing the accordion is every bit as fun as listening to it. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the awesome world of accordions and all its amazing versions!