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#2042936 - 03/04/13 04:15 PM Baldwin piano plate or not?  
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 9
GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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Greetings! in 1993, I bought a used Baldwin piano with a suspicious serial number. I honestly don't care if the piano is a Baldwin or not as I dearly love the instrument. The piano was rebuilt in late 60's or early 70's. At the time, it was "given" a serial number of 178008 (see attached photo). I have discovered the number 5736 stamped on the top of the legs (where it joins the body) and on the music stand. The plate has no makings (Baldwin name badge, etc.). The only thing that it has is the Baldwin decal on the key tray. Can any of you look at the pictures and tell me if this may be a Baldwin or what? Thank you! George.

Attached Files PIANO_SN.jpg
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#2042937 - 03/04/13 04:21 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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ando Online content
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ando  Online Content
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Melbourne, Australia
There's no file there.

#2043004 - 03/04/13 07:21 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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miscrms Offline
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Phoenix, AZ
For whatever reason posting images as attachments doesn't actually seem to work. You need to post to a photo sharing site such as flickr, or the PW photo gallery ( http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/42/1/Photo%20Gallery.html ) and then you can use the image tag to add the image url into your post.

FWIW I've never seen a Baldwin w/o the name cast into the plate, but 5736 would be a very early Baldwin (<1900?) so I suppose its possible?

Rob

Last edited by miscrms; 03/04/13 07:25 PM.
#2043252 - 03/05/13 08:44 AM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: ando]  
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GFinkle Offline
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Rob, Ando, ok, so, the file upload doesn't work very well! HA! Here is a link to the photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgetfinkleiii/8530328413/in/photostream

Let me know if you are able to open it. Rob, I agree, if that is the serial number and not the case number, then it would be one of the first small grands made by Baldwin. I suspect it isn't a Baldwin. It may be a "lesser" Baldwin that was made for "home use". There is a "blank spot" between the round holes in the plate. There may have been a decal or attached medallion in that spot. One clue is the location of the serial number. There is a race track oval hole in the plate with wood showing through. In the wood showing through, that's where the "new" serial number is. Thank you to anyone who can help me come to the end of this saga that is my piano. George

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#2043301 - 03/05/13 10:34 AM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
Joined: May 2001
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Eric Gloo Offline
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The Baldwin name would be on the plate. The serial number of 178008 has probably always been there. The other number is not the serial number. Without seeing pictures of the entire case and plate, it's hard to tell. What size is the piano...i.e. how long? It may be a different piano altogether, with a Baldwin logo added to the fall board.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
#2043346 - 03/05/13 12:14 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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Eric, I'll measure it this evening. What other pictures would you like to have, what angles? Thank you! George

#2043350 - 03/05/13 12:22 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
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East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
The four digit numbers are just a case style number, so when it was being built they rolled the various parts in from the wood shop and made sure those all matched. 178008 puts that piano at a 1967 model. Hard to tell in the photos but it looks older, maybe just left in the sun too long.


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#2043360 - 03/05/13 12:45 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted by GFinkle
Greetings! in 1993, I bought a used Baldwin piano with a suspicious serial number. I honestly don't care if the piano is a Baldwin or not as I dearly love the instrument. The piano was rebuilt in late 60's or early 70's. At the time, it was "given" a serial number of 178008 (see attached photo). I have discovered the number 5736 stamped on the top of the legs (where it joins the body) and on the music stand. The plate has no makings (Baldwin name badge, etc.). The only thing that it has is the Baldwin decal on the key tray. Can any of you look at the pictures and tell me if this may be a Baldwin or what? Thank you! George.


Sorry, but that is definitely not a Baldwin. Several aspects of the plate style gives it away.

#2043385 - 03/05/13 01:48 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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WOW! All of this information is WONDERFUL! Maybe I'll finally find out the actual maker of the piano! Yes, the case is faded, I bought it that way in 1993. "Faded Mahogany" was an "upgrade" on some "upper end" furnishings in the 1980's. I was told when I bought the piano that it had been "reworked" in the 1970's. There are places where it looks like the piano may have had a yellow or blond finish at one time. That was popular in the 40's and 50's. The piano is very, very, very plain in design, which I like. So, do you all have any idea of age by looking at the plate? I would think the location, shape, and size of the holes would be a clue, and the location of the serial number would be a clue. THANK YOU ALL for helping me with this. George

#2043390 - 03/05/13 01:53 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
Joined: May 2001
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Eric Gloo Offline
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Richfield Springs, New York
The serial number location on your piano is where most serial numbers are found. The case can sometimes be a clue to age (legs and lyre, too)...so it would be helpful to see those. The action can be another clue. On some pianos, there are dates written on the sides of the end keys, which are usually close to the manufacture date.

Last edited by Eric Gloo; 03/05/13 01:54 PM.

Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
#2043391 - 03/05/13 01:55 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
It certainly would not be a Baldwin with that serial number. It does not look like any of the brand names Baldwin used, either.


Semipro Tech
#2043396 - 03/05/13 02:11 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: BDB]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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BDB: Do you mean the four digit SN or the 178 SN?
Eric: Thank you for the date/key information. I'll see what I can find. I'll post more pictures tomorrow along with the cabinet size. The pedal assembly is very plain, it matches the long tapered legs. The trappings all seem to be nickel over brass, except for the the pedals. I believe they were worn, and then polished to brass when the cabinet was redone. . . THANK YOU again to all who have posted. I'm learning so much.

#2043448 - 03/05/13 03:55 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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Eric Gloo Offline
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There is only one serial number, and that is 178008. The other number is a case part number. If you were to disassemble the piano, you'd find that 4-digit number stamped on other parts. It was used in the assembly process to keep all the correct parts together.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
#2043536 - 03/05/13 07:17 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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Ok. More information for you all: The piano measures 56.5 inches long (4 foot 8 inches). It is 55.5 inches wide. There are no date stamps on the ends of the end keys. I'll upload more pictures tomorrow. Thank you! George

#2043544 - 03/05/13 07:37 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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Supply Offline
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Chances are, you will never be able to determine the origin of your piano. Not that it matters - you already love it!

For more background information on this kind of situation, do a search for "stencil piano" in the search bar in the top left corner of any page.

#2043609 - 03/05/13 09:42 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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Jurgen, thank you for that information. You are right, I may never discover the original manufacturer name, especially since the plate and cabinet are so very generic in appearance. I believe the serial number is correct and the Baldwin decal is a forgery. There are many (too many to count) manufacturers who used that numbering series, most of which date to the 1920's. the piano was reworked in the 1960's or 70's and intentionally passed off as a Baldwin. I remember the dealer telling me a sordid tale of legal woes and even a suicide over it (renaming many pianos with false names). I do love my piano but I would like to know it's complete sordid life, so I will persist. Thanks again, George

#2043907 - 03/06/13 12:10 PM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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I just had the most wonderful phone conversation with a piano expert in Texas. He asked some questions, and I emailed him some pictures. . . He said the keys are acetate which would date the key assembly to around the 1920's. So, a little progress is being made. And, he will be coming to look at the piano this next month to tune it. He will be able to solve more clues at that time. I'll update our findings then. Thank you, again, to all who have responded. This forum is so incredibly helpful and valuable. Best, George.

#2045868 - 03/10/13 09:55 AM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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GFinkle Offline
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GFinkle  Offline
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UPDATE! I heard back from the place where I bought the piano. The following is a excerpt from the message. Do any of you remember hearing this tale? Any help with names, dates, locations, would be great. Remember, I am only trying to solve a puzzle, I'm not trying to "build a case".

start message: I searched for information, but I do not remember enough details to find any history on this. I do remember that a couple of partners in a piano rebuilding company near Memphis were caught making lesser known brands into Steinways and Baldwins. One partner committed suicide and the other hired a good attorney and got off with no time served. You might continue to search towns in east Arkansas or north Mississippi as well as suburbs of Memphis for this in old news. You probably have the real number from the wood parts of the piano, definitely not a Baldwin, good luck. Glad to hear you still enjoy the piano. :end message.

Thank you to anyone who may be able to help me with this. Best, George

#2045890 - 03/10/13 10:45 AM Re: Baldwin piano plate or not? [Re: GFinkle]  
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Rochester MN
You might contact the Memphis Historical Society. Often, these societies have a wealth of info about the manufacturing, in the area, in past eras. The public library might even be of assistance. This type of scandal would certainly have gotten some press.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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