2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments. Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
38 members (Chouca, CharlesXX, Beowulf, AndrewJCW, Belma, DDobs, EPW, 10 invisible), 505 guests, and 492 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Steinway C with ivory keys
#2945616 02/11/20 04:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 4
G
Giupi Offline OP
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
G
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 4
Hello,

I recently inherited a Steinway Grand with ivory keys, model C, made in Hamburg in 1984. The piano is currently located in Italy and I would like to ship it to my home in New York for my own personal use.

I obtained two certificates from Steinway that describe the history and provenance of the instrument, its replacement value for insurance, and a certification for the ivory keys, indicating the country of origin, the species, and the year that the ivory was imported (1984 from Tanzania).

I was wondering if you had any experience trying to import a piano with ivory keys into the US, and specifically ivory that was acquired from Africa after the CITES cut-off of February 1976. I would be able to obtain a CITES re-export certificate from the European Union, but it seems that the US Fish and Wildlife Agency is more restrictive in that respect. I also understand that the USFW Agency makes a distinction between "acquired" and "removed from the wild" when it comes to the origin of the ivory, but Steinway (the Hamburg factory) has not been able to provide me with the date of when the ivory was actually removed from the elephant, but only the date of import.

I realize that I may not be able to import the piano at all, but I'm just looking for any advice at this point. Also, I was wondering if replacing the ivory with Ivoplast or some other synthetic material would potentially damage the keys. A local Steinway dealer in Italy has offered to do this job, but I'm worried about altering its structure irreversibly.

As you can imagine, the piano has a tremendous emotional and financial value for me, and I want to make sure I’m taking all the right steps.

Thank you.

Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2945639 02/11/20 05:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 601
O
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
O
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 601
My suggestion would be to contact a good technician in Italy to replace the ivory with a material that doesn't bear any additional problems in terms of importing it into the US. In addition to that I would have that piano appraised and repaired by someone familiar with Hamburg Steinway Cs, especially with regard to voicing the hammers without lacquering them.

My suggestion would be to find out whether Angelo Fabbrini or one of his associates can do an appraisal and give you a price point to have it brought back to perfection.

That way you'll get an instrument that is a) really good and b) has the best possible financial value for resale in the US.

Since I've had both ivory and plastic, I would never make a big deal out of it. Besides, if you really want ivory, it's easier to ship an older set of key tops to the US and have a local workshop replace these for plastic tops.

Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
OE1FEU #2945927 02/12/20 10:38 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 685
S
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 685
You can't ship a set of ivory into the US for installation on a piano. That is illegal here.


Sally Phillips
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
www.steinwaypiano.com
Acoustic Piano Technical Consultant - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/07a-should-i-have-my-piano-rebuilt.html
Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2945946 02/12/20 11:17 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,705

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
5000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
5000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,705
Originally Posted by Giupi
I was wondering if replacing the ivory with Ivoplast or some other synthetic material would potentially damage the keys. A local Steinway dealer in Italy has offered to do this job, but I'm worried about altering its structure irreversibly.

As you can imagine, the piano has a tremendous emotional and financial value for me, and I want to make sure I’m taking all the right steps.

Replacing the ivory key covers with a modern equivalent is fairly common, and not likely to damage the keys. Worst case scenario is that keys can be repaired or even replaced if necessary.

If I were in your shoes, I would have the key tops replaced so that "ivory" as an issue is eliminated from the equation altogether.

Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2945953 02/12/20 11:36 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,705

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
5000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
5000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,705
btw, if you want to understand the key top replacement process, there are some interesting videos on this site:

http://www.keytops.net


Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2946066 02/12/20 03:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 173
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 173
We successfully imported our American 1899 M+H from South America last year. It was stuck waiting for CITES permits nearly a year before it finally shipped. They shipped it and Customs had it here for several weeks. They asked some idiotic questions, like were the keys replaced when we had it tuned in the US 15 years ago. Finally, they just gave up. They released the piano, asked us to get it out of their warehouse immediately, and refused to acknowledge they had ever seen it or provide any paperwork. I think perhaps this was because it was an American piano which we had exported ourselves and were re-importing, although we didn't supply any proof of that as I recall. I was prepared to hold my shippers liable if it was not admitted, since they had exported it without proper CITES paperwork. USF&W can be tricky so be prepared for long delays, and/or never getting approval.

Last edited by oldMH; 02/12/20 03:57 PM.
Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2946157 02/12/20 10:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,783
J
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,783
The 1899 Mason and Hamlin is a different situation from the 1984 Steinway, because the Steinway is obviously much newer and falls outside the threshold.

It might be possible to export the piano from Italy to NYC and it might even be the case that you get all the right paperwork and legal loopholes filled, but ultimately it's still up to the customs officer at the port of entry, and if they decide that the ivory can't enter the USA, they could decide to strip it off causing irreversible damage to the keyboard.

I'd say you have two options here, one rather expensive and one not so expensive. The least expensive option is to have the ivory changed over for whatever Steinway uses today. It's a substance by Kluge called Tharan, and on Steinway pianos its called ivoplast but I *think* it's the same thing (it might not be identical so don't quote me on that - Kluge is owned by Steinway anyway).

The other option, if you want to keep the ivory keyboard, is to have a new keyboard fitted to your piano, and you keep the old keyboard in Italy should you ever return the piano.

Your third option would be to trade the piano in for a new C, and get Steinway in New York to bring the piano over for you, but given the price of Hamburg Steinways in the USA I wouldn't bother with that option. New York don't make a C anymore, sadly.

I do think it's rather silly that they won't allow a 36 year old piano with ivory fitted 36 years ago into the country - but I also think it was rather irresponsible of Steinways in Hamburg to keep using ivory until 1991 - I remember a particularly fine model C from 1990 that had ivory keys on it. Anyway, all of that aside, these are probably the only three options you have.

Changing the keytops won't cause damage to the keyboard if it's done properly. Keytops are not structural.

Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2946274 02/13/20 07:57 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 877
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 877
Regarding Tharan and Ivoplast, I found some interesting reading here: https://my.ptg.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=43&MID=234535

The Tharan on my replacement keyboard feels different than plastic. It is somewhat cooler to the touch, feels harder. Repeating what I read about Tharan on the PianoTek site, it has some sort of "micro texturing" so as not to be completely smooth, though this is quite subtle to my own hands. Sanded with the right grit abrasive, Tharan can be made grippier, more like ivory. I have NOT opted for that on my own keyboard.

As for Ivorite, used on Yamaha pianos years back, interesting comments here: http://www.campoly.com/blog/tickling-synthetic-formulations/


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
I Make Music that Lifts People Up & Brings Them Together
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2947641 02/16/20 01:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 4
G
Giupi Offline OP
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
G
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 4
Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and input. I have contacted Mr. Fabbrini in Italy, who has experience replacing the ivory key tops with the modern equivalent that Steinway uses. He said that this would require adjusting the keys to the thickness of the new material, but he was not too worried about it. He will also build the crate for shipping, and I am now negotiating the price for the shipment overseas and final delivery to my home. It is quite expensive! I was told that shipment by sea would be cheaper, but I'm worried about possible negative effect of humidity on the piano. Any thoughts about shipment by air vs by sea? I'm using Rock-it Cargo and ProPiano, both based in New York.

Re: Steinway C with ivory keys
Giupi #2947653 02/16/20 01:32 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,695
M
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,695
Originally Posted by Giupi
It is quite expensive! I was told that shipment by sea would be cheaper, but I'm worried about possible negative effect of humidity on the piano. Any thoughts about shipment by air vs by sea?

I had a conversation with someone on the forum last year and was only half joking about how much cheaper it seemed to ship a horse by air than a piano. My friend just shipped her horse from Chicago to Germany and it cost $7K, and she rode in the plane with the horse. There is a vet on board and the stall is about 10'x10'. The weight of a horse is about 1000# so that's about the same as a large piano. So if you're paying more than $7K I guess it's another data point that makes me wonder why shipping pianos is so expensive.

To answer your question, all new pianos come by sea, so there must be an adequate way to package them to minimize the affects of the trip. I would assume a piano dealer would know how to do that.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
100,000!
---------------------
NEW! Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Yamaha or Rolan Or William rhapsody
by Belma - 01/15/21 11:22 PM
Kawai GX2 vs Shimmel 180
by tony3304 - 01/15/21 10:51 PM
N3X Lid Pin Sticking Out?
by tierce_de_picardie - 01/15/21 07:45 PM
Polyester finish Yammy
by bill miller - 01/15/21 07:29 PM
Stack of Thirds Temperament
by Seeker - 01/15/21 07:07 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics204,279
Posts3,047,119
Members100,069
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4