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It’s a fake!
#2998066 07/02/20 10:12 PM
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Well... we bought a piano today. It was advertised as a Baldwin M. The serial number indicated early 1940s. Some work had been done. Hammers, strings replaced, case refinished and plate painted. When I looked at it for the first time it was evening in a dark, Tudor house with low lighting. I shone a flashlight all over and took my time working through all the things Larry Fine says you should when you look at a used piano. I played it and it sounded pleasant and very close to 440. No red flags. Today we had a tech come and do a quick once over before the mover loaded it on to the truck. Looks good. Off we go. Almost as soon as it was in my own home though (mover had only just driven away) I realized the plate wasn’t right. No BAldwin logo (how had I missed that?), holes not round like other Ms I’ve seen. We called our tech (not the one who had inspected it, the piano was about an hour away so we hired someone local) and the tech who had looked at it for us. Both of them said it was possible it was a fake but it wasn’t something they had seen before and they’d be surprised. But... guys. It’s a fake. I’m pretty disappointed but mostly just embarrassed that I didn’t use my head and recognize it before it was sitting in my living room. I’m not sure if the (Craigslist) seller knew it was a fake or not. They’d owned it for thirty years and I suspect bought it as a Baldwin and never realized their mistake. In the end it was not expensive and we’ll wait and see what our tech says before we decide what to do. We DO like the sound and maybe it can be a decent piano for us for a while.

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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998079 07/02/20 11:24 PM
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No logo on the cast iron plate? I can't imagine that. Bummer. Hope you get your money back.


With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.
Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998081 07/02/20 11:38 PM
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Are you able to post photos?, perhaps some of the other forum members could assist in identifying the piano. You could then determine the market value based on the actual make.


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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998100 07/03/20 02:25 AM
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If it's cheap and you are happy with it as a musical instrument, which presumably you are because you bought it happily after playing it, I think you should treat this as an amusing life-incident and choose not to be upset by it. It's the same piano you thought you were buying. The "fake-ness" is just a curiosity. Enjoy your piano and tell the story to your friends over dinner. Get a laugh over it. Sounds like there was no intended deception. Not the end of the world to have a cheap, playable piano - regardless of its origin.

Re: It’s a fake!
ando #2998116 07/03/20 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ando
If it's cheap and you are happy with it as a musical instrument, which presumably you are because you bought it happily after playing it, I think you should treat this as an amusing life-incident and choose not to be upset by it. It's the same piano you thought you were buying. The "fake-ness" is just a curiosity. Enjoy your piano and tell the story to your friends over dinner. Get a laugh over it. Sounds like there was no intended deception. Not the end of the world to have a cheap, playable piano - regardless of its origin.

+1

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998132 07/03/20 06:35 AM
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I was thinking exactly the same thing. I understand the initial disappointment very well. When I buy something used and find out something is wrong with it afterwards my first reaction is to be all pissed off and stressed out, haha.

But, like others have said, it is exactly the instrument you bought because you liked it. So apart from knowing it's not a real Baldwin, nothing has changed. It's still a real and nice piano.

If it was me, I think i'd be stressed and disappointed for a day or so, but then would shake that off and happily enjoy my new used piano.

It's not the best start, but you just might still love the instrument.

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998133 07/03/20 07:03 AM
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I think it's not exactly the instrument the OP bought because if it was a Baldwin that would imply a certain quality to the parts, scale design, and resale value that the actual piano may not have. Those considerations may or may not matter much, however. I don't think it's been conclusively determined that the piano is not a Baldwin yet. The techs only said it might be a fake.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/03/20 07:07 AM.
Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998138 07/03/20 07:37 AM
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I appreciate all the comments encouraging us to just enjoy the piano and laugh about the experience. It is true that it’s still a piano I enjoyed playing and it is still better than our old upright. I also see it like pianoloverus. The morning I bought the “Baldwin” I also looked at Knabe grand of similar age but the Knabe needed some regulation and action work and it wasn’t clear to me how much. I did like the piano I bought but I also based my decision on what I believed the pianos’ potential might be. As suggested, I believed that any imperfections (and of course there are some) were acceptable because I was getting a piano worth putting a significant amount of money into as time went on. Now it looks like the Knabe would have been the better buy.

I’m not sure how to post pictures but I’m pretty sure I know what kind of piano it is. The serial number, plate and music desk design match a 1957 Winter 😬 which I’m well aware is a pretty terrible brand. It looks like there’s a faint impression on the plate where I imagine Winter was ground out. I suppose at this point we are at the mercy of the quality of the replacement parts. My tech isn’t coming until the end of next week but I’m dying to know what he thinks.

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998140 07/03/20 07:41 AM
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If you don't mind me asking, how much money did you spend on it?

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998143 07/03/20 08:08 AM
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$1200 plus moving costs.

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998147 07/03/20 08:18 AM
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For $1,200 I wouldn’t expect much in a grand piano anyway, but that is rather disconcerting. If the seller advertised it as a Baldwin, I think you should have options for some sort of recourse. Also, the tech who inspected it should be contacted and I’d demand my money back for them not noticing something so obvious...it’s not as though a Baldwin M is some sort of exotic piano a tech is unlikely to have ever seen before!

If your budget is really that low and it’s a working and serviceable grand piano that you somewhat like, I’d probably just keep it.


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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998149 07/03/20 08:28 AM
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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998150 07/03/20 08:28 AM
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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998152 07/03/20 08:39 AM
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So how do you feel about contacting the Seller? After all, apparently he/she sold you a fake Baldwin, while advertising it as real. Even if he/she didn't know it, I would say a compensation or full refund/return would be fair.

Also good point about the tech. You didn't hire a tech for nothing, I think he failed you, and is even kind of responsibile for this.

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998158 07/03/20 08:59 AM
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Can you find a serial number? Load some other pictures that show the tuning pin field. Also, when you look at the action, is there any makers mark on the action brackets?


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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998162 07/03/20 09:13 AM
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What’s the serial number? Someone here can check if it’s listed as a Baldwin or not. If it were me, I’d get proof that it’s a fake then call the seller. If the grand is nice and suitable for your playing I’d ask the seller for some of the money back. If it’s not suitable try to get the seller to refund the money and bring the piano back. I’m no professional but a fake Baldwin made in the 1940s does sound unusual. Best Wishes. So sorry for your disappointment.


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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998171 07/03/20 09:49 AM
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I agree with ando. At this point, it would be less stress to just play the piano and enjoy it. It does have a Baldwin decal on the fallboard. smile

I also agree with terminaldegree. The tech who inspected it should have picked up on the looks of the piano not being a Baldwin M immediately, especially the odd looking holes in the cast iron plate. That doesn't speak well for the techs overall experience. He/she certainly hasn't seen many older Baldwin M grands, apparently.

I also agree with the OP, in that, chances are, the seller honestly thought he had a Baldwin M, because he was hoodwinked as well when he bought it.

Congratulations on your new-to-you mystery piano either way!

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998172 07/03/20 09:58 AM
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Is the CL listing still up? Be sure to get some screenshots of the listing if you haven’t already.

If it were a no-name baby grand, in my area, asking prices would typically range between five- and fifteen-hundred, so the price is “right” if it’s in decent shape and you like it. However, it’s not what you thought you were getting. As PLU mentioned, if it were a Baldwin M there would be a certain baseline of quality, so to speak, not to mention the name recognition that you were looking for, rather than some other lessor brand.

Also, believing it’s fake and that you were cheated is disconcerting. If it had happened to me then I probably would not want the piano in my home, reminding me of the deception.

On the other hand, I suspect that the onus will be on you to prove that it’s not a Baldwin. If you have to hire an attorney, the hourly rates paid up front, and ultimately by the looser (presumably), will quickly exceed the monies spent so far. And, it may be difficult to prove that it’s not a Baldwin.

If the sellers have always believed that it was a Baldwin, then you re-approaching them after having taken it is likely to sound like a scam to them. If they’re in on the deception, then they will simply deny it.

Did the technician tell you that it’s a Baldwin? Or did you tell him? Are his inspection results in writing (it sounds like you called him over between looking and loading)? Does his report say or confirm that it’s a Baldwin? Or only the piano’s condition?

If the serial number is also fake, then there’s no telling when it was built, but you may find a true serial number elsewhere on the piano. Since the plate was refinished, the serial number may be fake too. It may even be deliberately chosen to place it in those years, because there’s no telling what may have come out of the factory in the war years. And my understanding is that Baldwin’s old records are long gone.

I have always thought that the M was a post-war model, but I’ve heard of older ones from time to time. That said, this does not look like Baldwin’s modern casework, or the older (IMO), but casework is only wood and sometimes different styles are made.

Definitely a case of caveat emptor!



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998174 07/03/20 10:03 AM
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Here are some pictures of the pins. I wasn’t able to lift the fall board out; it seems to be attached to the cheek blocks (correct term?) and I’m nervous about unscrewing the keyslip and cheek blocks and having something go wrong.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/e6nzC1E4vbqypJC29

https://photos.app.goo.gl/fsGSGM6DdVFKDBPi9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MsBdrAgdQZ9Uq913A

Re: It’s a fake!
Gabrielsyme #2998177 07/03/20 10:11 AM
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I'm no pro, but whoever restrung the piano seems to have done a good job. Looks professionally done to me, and certainly not a hack job.

Good luck!

Rick


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