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Missing serial number on beat-up Steinway #196569
02/26/05 01:57 PM
02/26/05 01:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 63
Washington state
Anodos Offline OP
Full Member
Anodos  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 63
Washington state
Our church decommissioned its main piano a few years ago. When I was looking at this instrument, a Steinway, I couldn't find the serial number or model number anywhere on the plate. Is this an indication that the plate may have been rebronzed in a previous restoration?

I was interested in the piano, and wondering what it would take to restore it. So I opened it up and started looking. I looked for the serial number and model number in that triangular region on the plate at the front, between the bass and tenor strings. Nada. All I saw was what looked like a faint hand-written inscription: #204587, although the last digit could be something else. I did notice on the tail end of the plate the following number: 2319.L, and under it, 4254.

I *think* this is an old L, although the style doesn't really look so old. There are markings on the plate for tunings, in the '70's and '80's. But if that hand-written number was really the serial number, wouldn't that make this a 1920's piano?

Unfortunately, I also noticed several long cracks in the soundboard. This piano's tone really speaks to me (much more so than the nice Baldwin that replaced it), but I can't get much volume out of it. I fear that decades of sitting in a non-climate controlled environment in Wisconsin has left it pretty much a mess. I'm guessing that it would need a total rebuild, probably including the soundboard. If true, what would this instrument be worth?

Thanks, as always, for your collective expertise!

Anodos


"If I had fingers, I'd be dangerous."
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Re: Missing serial number on beat-up Steinway #196570
02/26/05 02:06 PM
02/26/05 02:06 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 299
E
enlitened Offline
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enlitened  Offline
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E

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 299
Did you check on the back side of the key-slip. They usually stamp the serial # there. It's also stamped on the action somewhere.

Hope that helps


independent piano salesman selling most major piano brands from time to time around the country.
Re: Missing serial number on beat-up Steinway #196571
02/26/05 03:29 PM
02/26/05 03:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,694
Oakland
B
BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,694
Oakland
The plate probably was repainted at some time. Steinway put their serial numbers all over on their pianos. The keyslip or keyframes are good places to start, but you might find it embossed on several other parts, including the music desk. Look on the bottom of it.

The L has 26 notes in the bass, and a tight corner at the back corner on the bass side. All other models with 26 bass notes have a big curve there, so the piano looks almost circular from the rear. An O is similar in size, also has no wound strings on the tenor bridge, but has the big curve in the back, as do the M and S, which are smaller and have wound strings on the tenor bridge.


Semipro Tech
Re: Missing serial number on beat-up Steinway #196572
02/26/05 03:30 PM
02/26/05 03:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,770
Hamilton Twp, NJ
curry Offline
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curry  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,770
Hamilton Twp, NJ
#204587would make it a 1920 vintage, and from the plate an L. Measure it. It would definitely need a complete rebuild. In any case as is it would be worth around $8,000- 13,000.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
Re: Missing serial number on beat-up Steinway #196573
02/27/05 01:06 PM
02/27/05 01:06 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 63
Washington state
Anodos Offline OP
Full Member
Anodos  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 63
Washington state
So do you think this piano was already rebuilt once, if the plate was refinished? I'm wondering whether rebuilding it now would even make sense -- and what it would likely cost. I think I'd be further ahead saving up for a newer piano. Am I making sense? I thought the soundboard cracks were ominous, but apparently that's not always the case, if I'm to believe what I read elsewhere.


"If I had fingers, I'd be dangerous."

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

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