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#1748912 - 09/08/11 12:39 PM 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added)  
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We have the above-mentioned piano in our family, and our family originally bought it in 1904 in Jacksonville, Fla. It now is with my mom in central Florida, where it has been since the 1930s. It's in need of restoration, and we are at a point where nobody in the family has room for it or resources to restore it. It's a beautiful piano in terms of looks, and from what I can tell on the Internet, these pianos were considered "excellent" when they were made.

If we want to sell it "as is," what would be the best place to do that? I am going to have my mom take photos of it sometime soon to use in any advertising we put together for the piano, and I'm wondering if we need to pay a piano technician to come and give us a "professional" opinion as to the piano's condition so that we can include that in any advertisement we put together.

Is Ebay the best way to go? Or should we be trying to find an antiques place or a piano store to sell it for us?

Thanks!

Patty

Last edited by PDTPhipps; 09/14/11 03:45 PM. Reason: Edited thread title
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#1748930 - 09/08/11 01:19 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Chickering does have its devotees; read the book A Romance on Three Legs, for example, to learn how Gould would compare every piano do his beloved childhood Chickering. And people do restore these pianos. So it may command more than other un-restored 5'8" pianos from that era, especially if the case is nice.

Last edited by Thrill Science; 09/08/11 01:21 PM.

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#1748947 - 09/08/11 01:54 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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As a new old Chickering devotee, I would imagine most of those musicians who would go to the trouble of having an Antique Piano would not choose the Quarter Grand. That's not to say that there isn't a market for "furniture" grands and especially the ones that will fit in your living room rather than take it over. The other side of that coin is that the economy stinks and the amount of work needed to restore this fine piano to pristine condition can possibly not provide any return on investment. More of a financial gamble than most people are willing to take.


Quid est veritas et mendacium, cum orbis terrarum.
#1748952 - 09/08/11 02:03 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Thank you for your responses. It is a lovely piece of furniture, if nothing else, and fits in my mom's living room fairly well right now, but she is redoing the house and doesn't believe there will be room for it with the new furniture. She intended for my older sister to have the piano, but her house is even smaller, so that doesn't seem to be an option; my sister was a music major in college and has a piano she plays daily, and she doesn't have room for a second piano that is not in playing condition.

I'm out in Texas, and I imagine the price to move such a heavy piano from Florida to Texas would be fairly high.

Do you think it's worth paying someone to give us a "condition" report to use when advertising it for sale, or should be just decide on a price and list it without having anything like that prepared?

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#1748983 - 09/08/11 03:04 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: Thrill Science]  
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Originally Posted by Thrill Science
Chickering does have its devotees; read the book A Romance on Three Legs, for example, to learn how Gould would compare every piano do his beloved childhood Chickering. And people do restore these pianos. So it may command more than other un-restored 5'8" pianos from that era, especially if the case is nice.


Thrill,

What you say is true. Gould's piano was a Chickering. But it was an 1895 instrument and their smallest instruments at the time were in the 6 ft. range, and in comparison to the quarter grand, had huge structural timbres. The Quarter Grand was made to be slim, petite, and diminuative in appearance and did not have the same presence as most other Chickering pianos.

Having said that, a layperson with little knowledge of the company beyond reading about them might come to the conclusion that any Chickering would be preferred by Gould.

The case design on the Quarter Grand was very pretty so that will help the value of the piano.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
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#1748992 - 09/08/11 03:33 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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I happened to play and old quarter grand recently. I had never seen a grand so lightly built--there was only one brace in addition to the rim and belly rail. I also thought its tone was mediocre in every respect--it just didn't seem to have the sonic potential of an old Steinway, Baldwin, or Knabe, just to name some examples.

#1750936 - 09/11/11 08:35 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Now I'm discouraged. My mom is in a very small town in central Florida; I can't imagine her finding anyone locally to buy the piano. I wonder if there is some group we could donate the piano to, if it's not actually very valuable? But I'm not sure any group would want a piano that's in need of restoration.

#1751007 - 09/11/11 10:29 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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I have done a lot of restoration to a couple of Quarter Grands several years ago. They are decent instruments, but there are quirks to their construction. The problem now is that it is usually less expensive to buy a newer or even new piano of equivalent quality.


Semipro Tech
#1751081 - 09/12/11 01:16 AM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
The Quarter Grand was made to be slim, petite, and diminutive in appearance and did not have the same presence as most other Chickering pianos.

The case design on the Quarter Grand was very pretty so that will help the value of the piano.

That diminutive size was both their charm and their curse. Chickering went overboard to make these pianos as narrow and slender as possible. This gave them an appearance unmatched by any other piano of the day. There have been a few piano makers who have attempted to emulate the slender aesthetic and size of these pianos, but not many.

But some of the design and engineering compromises that were made to achieve this size and shape also made them some difficult to service. Many technicians prefer the pianos they work on to be straight forward and simple and do not take kindly to the somewhat awkward layout of these actions. Chickering also tended to use unconventional action designs and parts making action work even more, shall I say, unusual.

Having been built in 1904 it is likely that this piano is now in need of fairly extensive work to make it playable at a high level. It is true that in their original configuration they are not big, powerful sounding pianos. They were not intended to be such. They were intended to be wonderful little pianos that would fit into a smallish sort of room and not dominate. They were intended to produce a beautiful, warm and dynamic sound that is not always treasured by the modern pianist who is both half deaf and used to the hard, more strident sound of the so-called “modern” piano.

These are quirky pianos and are not for everyone. Still, I have yet to encounter an owner who didn’t just love their piano. Yes, at its age it will probably need rather extensive restoration work and this won’t be cheap. But, when the work is competently done, the result is a piano with an aesthetic balance that cannot be found in today’s new piano market for any price. And with just a little tweaking of the original design they can easily hold their own against most any new piano of similar length.

I might also mention that I’ve encountered ever so many folks who have wished they had never let the family piano go. The situations are usually something like yours and they just sell it or give it away and then it’s gone. In a few months or years there is usually someone who wishes they had kept it.

ddf

Last edited by Del; 09/12/11 01:19 AM.

Delwin D Fandrich
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1751096 - 09/12/11 02:16 AM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del
It is true that in their original configuration they are not big, powerful sounding pianos. They were not intended to be such. They were intended to be wonderful little pianos that would fit into a smallish sort of room and not dominate. They were intended to produce a beautiful, warm and dynamic sound that is not always treasured by the modern pianist who is both half deaf and used to the hard, more strident sound of the so-called “modern” piano.


I do love that sound!! smile I treasure it when/if I hear it.

#1751108 - 09/12/11 02:57 AM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PassingBy]  
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I think the biggest problem right now with selling a piano like that is the current state of the piano market. As Rich, Del, and BDB have said, the piano will very likely need a lot of work, and that will cost a lot of money. With piano prices on the the private market in the toilet right now, I think it will be very unlikely someone will want to spend any money on a rebuilding candidate. IMO, it's unfortunate; I hate to see a piano that was once virtually a work of art go to waste. (I'm also a Chickering fanboi)

Good luck. I hope you find someone who would love that piano. Maybe if you happen across someone who was willing to have it rebuilt, you could give it to them. :shrug:



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#1751392 - 09/12/11 02:01 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Thank you all for your input about this piano. I have learned so much about the piano from reading your responses!

I personally feel that I'll regret it if the piano does leave the family, since our family has owned it since the day it was put on the showroom floor, but I am probably the only one who would have room for it, and I'm out in Texas, while the piano is in Florida. Does anyone have a guess as to how much it would cost to move a quarter grand piano that far? If it's fairly reasonable, maybe I'll bite the bullet and have it moved out here. Perhaps one day, I could come up with the money to properly restore it, and in the meantime, it is an interesting conversation piece.

#1751930 - 09/13/11 01:44 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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I am thrilled to report that my sister has decided she can make room for this piano at her house after all. It may not be restored anytime soon, but at least it is staying in the family! She found a local piano services company that would move the piano from mom's house to her house for $140, so it will be moved next week.

Thanks again for all the interesting information you provided.

#1751962 - 09/13/11 02:57 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Originally Posted by PDTPhipps
I am thrilled to report that my sister has decided she can make room for this piano at her house after all. It may not be restored anytime soon, but at least it is staying in the family! She found a local piano services company that would move the piano from mom's house to her house for $140, so it will be moved next week.

Thanks again for all the interesting information you provided.

Somewhere down the line someone in your family will be grateful.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1752019 - 09/13/11 05:08 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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My sister took a picture of the piano today. Thought I would try to share it here so you could all see it.


[Linked Image]

Last edited by PDTPhipps; 09/13/11 05:13 PM.
#1752023 - 09/13/11 05:14 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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(Sorry, it took me a few tries to get that picture to show up right!)

#1752045 - 09/13/11 05:39 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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That's a beautiful piano. I hope you get it rebuilt to its former glory some day.

#1752113 - 09/13/11 07:22 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Before you spend the $140 on the move to your sister's house, get a good local technician to check it over. It may be smarter to move it to the technician's shop for some work, and then to your sister's house. It depends on what it needs and how much you want to put into it right now. Since your sister plays a lot, a playable second piano may be nice to have for variety of touch and sound. The bad economy works to your advantage in this, a lot of good techs have time to spare.

Last edited by JohnSprung; 09/13/11 07:28 PM.

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#1752117 - 09/13/11 07:32 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: JohnSprung]  
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I think that is what is going to happen. The man who is coming to move the piano is from this place:
http://www.campionemusic.com/home.html

They do have technicians and also do restoration work. I think after he sees the piano, we should at least have an idea of what's what.

#1752517 - 09/14/11 03:27 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Adding a few more pictures ...
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Last edited by PDTPhipps; 09/14/11 03:32 PM.
#1753281 - 09/15/11 11:52 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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The "piano man" comes on Tuesday to give the piano a look over to determine what may need to be done. Depending on his answer, it may be moved to his shop, or if too much needs to be done and isn't affordable at the moment, it will be moved to my sister's house, where it will at least be tuned (to whatever extent is currently possible). I think on the outside, at least, it's in terrific shape for something so old and that has been so well used over the years ... including the original piano bench! I just love the legs on the piano and bench; they are so cool!

#1753336 - 09/16/11 02:27 AM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Good luck with it, perhaps it won't need to much work, or as has been suggested to me to do it in stages. I like the ice cream cone legs and to my taste the Chickerings of this era were some of the best looking pianos made.


Quid est veritas et mendacium, cum orbis terrarum.
#1753500 - 09/16/11 10:30 AM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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PDT: I've followed this thread closely, as I own a Quarter Grand myself (a little newer than yours, we estimate mine was built sometime in the mid-twenties), acquired about a year ago in odd circumstances and I play mine every single day. I'm delighted you've decided to keep the piano in your family; a decision I'm sure will not be regretted. You're right; that bench is something, very pretty! I wish you and your sister the best with your piano, and I'll be anxiously waiting an update to your post on Tuesday, to let us know what the tech had to say!

I feel like I ought to be joining some sort of support group: you know, stand in front of the group and say, "My name is JeanieA and I play a vintage, unrestored Chickering piano." And the group choruses back, "Hi, JeanieA!." Maybe you and Swarth should join, too? smile

Del, I really appreciated your post about Chickering's thought process behind the design of the Quarter Grand, and everything you said is absolutely spot-on (especially the part about the action being 'unusual' - my tech will attest to THAT!), in my experiences at least. I'm not sure I "love" my piano yet, but original "like" has now turned to "infatution," and as more work is done to it as I can afford it, I can see this developing into "love." This piano fits my home, both size and sound-wise, I appreciate its 'vintage' tone, and I do "love" the beauty of the casework.

At any rate, here's what the case can look like with the judicious application of a little bit of scratch-covering oil and a LOT of hand-rubbing with an old t-shirt: not bad for 90 years old! You can also see, in the serial number picture, why we can't date the piano exactly. Recently, I found photos of a local here advertising a piano that was the twin to mine, and he told me his serial number indicated his piano was built in 1923.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Collector of sheet music I can't play.
#1753765 - 09/16/11 06:31 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Jeanie, I love your piano, too! Thanks for commenting and sharing your pictures. Good luck with the piano! I clearly remember when I was a small child (50 years ago), listening to various relatives playing ours when it still sounded terrific. It's really only the last 10 years to so that it has started sounding bad. Hoping for good news on Tuesday!

Patty

#1755964 - 09/20/11 11:38 AM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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The piano technician/mover came today, and this is what my mom reported back to me:
"They are going to do some initial repair and then see what the lay of the land looks like. When Frank turned the piano on its side and you could see all the underpinnings – he was IMPRESSED! The wood is in FANTASTIC shape – the “working parts” need the help, though! He thinks the piano is older than 1904 – probably 1895. He is going to discuss all of the options with Kathy, but I think he was pleasantly surprised. He used the term “great” for being the ORIGINAL piano! He made some social commentary, too – said that the owners must have been wealthy because this piano would have been expensive at that particular time and out of reach of most people!"

We had been told by someone who looked up the serial number that this was a 1905 piano. Is there a chance that could be wrong?

Last edited by PDTPhipps; 09/20/11 11:39 AM. Reason: corrected spelling
#1755986 - 09/20/11 12:13 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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I can check the serial number for you. In my spare time I have been developing a catalogue of Chickerings from 1880 to ~1910 with over 70 individuals recorded. From the serial numbers I can be a bit more precise than the general numbers that are usually given. I'm really glad to see you want to preserve this great piece of American history. It is truely a family heirloom.


Quid est veritas et mendacium, cum orbis terrarum.
#1756008 - 09/20/11 12:39 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: Swarth]  
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That would be great! The serial number is 103131.

And the original owners were my great-grandparents, William M. and Rosa Alice Bostwick, of Jacksonville.

Thanks!

Patty

Last edited by PDTPhipps; 09/20/11 12:40 PM.
#1756014 - 09/20/11 12:44 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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I totally forgot to mention that my sister and my mother discovered one of the reasons the piano had begun to sound bad in the past ten years ... It's only in that period of time that my mom has had a young grandson around her house, and when they opened the piano, inside they found a couple of his marbles and matchbox cars ... ahem. My sister then played the piano and said it sounded pretty good!

#1756023 - 09/20/11 12:58 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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I have determined that your Quarter Grand would be a 1904. The legs also inidicate this date as they were a transition from the more elaborate victorian legs, starting around 1896.

Edit: I have added your Quarter Grand to my database, thanks. To other Chickering owners, I would love to add your pianos to my data base, I have over 400 pictures now and growing.

Last edited by Swarth; 09/20/11 01:01 PM.

Quid est veritas et mendacium, cum orbis terrarum.
#1756101 - 09/20/11 03:33 PM Re: 1904 Chickering Quarter Grand (Photos Added) [Re: PDTPhipps]  
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Thank you again; the 1904 date matches what someone else told my Mom after using the serial number to look it up, so must be the same "source."

If you want the current piano owner's name and location, I can give that to you for your database; not sure what info you keep in that. But I'd rather do that by a private message than here on the forum.

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