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My house came with TWO pianos - help!

Posted By: JeffBC

My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 10:27 AM

When I purchased my house it came with two pianos. I do not play (bad memories of lessons at Baldwin studios when I was younger - but, my 4 y/o daughter is taking lessons at the local Yamaha Music School). I'm trying to figure out what I have, what it's worth, and what I should do with them (keep one, sell one, sell both, etc.). What I've found out so far is:

(1) 1920? C.C. Harvey Upright #72956 "Made expressly for C.C. Harvey Co by Sterling Co, Derby, Conn USA" with original matching piano stool.

C.C. Harvey Company was headquartered at 144 Boylston St. (next to the American Piano Co.) in Boston, MA.

The Sterling Organ Company was founded in 1845 in Derby, Connecticut by Charles Sterling of Sharon, CT. In 1860, the company added pianos to their line. A large fire destroyed the plant in 1875, but it was quickly rebuilt, and by 1879 the factory was double its original size. By 1884 organs made only a small percentage of the company's output, and the company was known as Sterling Piano.  In 1896, Sterling Piano was one of the largest factory concerns in Connecticut's Lower Naugatuck Valley, composed of 16 buildings fronting 640 feet along the canal and railroad, several drying kilns, and two waterwheels. Its capital that year was $210,000. A spur track maintained by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford railroad ran long the rear of the complex. Sterling Pianos were shipped across the country, and all over the world, especially South America. Some even found their way onto American battleships.
Company literature described the construction of the pianos as: “…made with a full iron frame covering the entire wrest plank, giving perfect solidity and firmness. The sounding boards are from carefully selected spruce, no soft pine of any other material being allowed to enter into this important part of the instrument. The backs are built up very strongly, and the instruments are constructed with every regard for durability. The scales used are the most perfect and thoroughly tested and thoroughly even throughout, and the tone produced in the Sterling is noted for its long sustained or singing quality. It is by superior tone, easy action, beauty of design, and honest make, that the Sterling has made a favorable debut in all the large cities of the United States, Mexico, and Central America, while agencies have been established in several European cities”.
An attempt by Steinway to buy out Sterling Piano was refused by local management, and the popularity of radios cut deeply into sales. Sterling Piano closed for good in 1926. The Sterling Piano buildings were subsequently razed in early 1930. At the time, the main building was considered the largest wooden factory building in Connecticut.

(2) 1980? Yamaha M202 Console #113350

Oddly, the online Yamaha Piano Serial Number Search at http://www.yamaha.com/pianoserials/index.asp states:
"Serial: 113350, Model: LU11 PE - This model was made for use in the North American market"

I've seen pictures (online) of LU11's and it's NOT one. It's stamped M202 and I believe it to be one.

Additionally, the Yamaha "Finding the age of your Yamaha Piano" page at http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/ContentDetail/Text_WithCatMenu_XC/0,,CNTID%25253D12173%252526CTID%25253D410010,00.html lists that serial number as being manufactured in Hamamatsu, Japan sometime in late 1959 (before they made the M202).

Obviously, I'm having no luck with the Yamaha either...

Any tips on how to figure this stuff out?
Posted By: apple*

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 11:33 AM

there are worse problems to have you know.

best of luck to you
Posted By: Toddler2

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 02:38 PM

The Harvey is probably not worth anything if you are thinking about selling it. Antique pianos are not like antique furniture that could be worth a fortune. A 27 y/o yamaha console won't be very valuable either.

So I suggest you don't worry about what they are worth money wise. Have a tech/tuner over. They can tell you if either one is worth keeping for your daughter to practice on.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 03:22 PM

hmmmmm. Houses are sold with pianos included? Maybe this could be a new business model for piano dealers laugh

Real estate agents can get sales commissions wink
Posted By: BDB

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 03:27 PM

In the 1920's it was common to sell pianos on time. People would often move and leave the pianos behind and just quit paying for them. It cost more for the dealers to remove them than to just leave them there, so many old pianos never were fully paid for, and the new owners or renters got a piano for free. When the economy went bad this was a real blow to the piano industry.
Posted By: bitWrangler

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 05:05 PM

If selling isn't worthwhile, then you could donate them and get a tax writeoff.
Posted By: pianist.ame

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 05:08 PM

it will cost too much money to mantain these 2 piano's if you want them in tune etc...

I would advice you to sell both of and buy a new piano.
Posted By: BradKY

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 05:37 PM

I'm wanting to say the old owners most likely tried to sale the pianos but didn't have any luck. Thats just my opinion.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 08:17 PM

Originally posted by bitWrangler:
If selling isn't worthwhile, then you could donate them and get a tax writeoff.
I would recommend, before thinking of donating either or both of these pianos, that you determine - with the help of a tuner/tech - that you will not be donating expensive problems to the donee along with the piano(s).

Posted By: Christopher P. Smith

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 08:58 PM

give the harvey away and have a tech look at the yamaha.
Posted By: J. Mark

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 10/05/07 10:23 PM

When we were looking at houses last year several "came with" pianos. One came with a very old, very heavy full size slate pool table. Others came with various other things.

I think it boils down to -- these things are expensive and difficult to move, and may have little or no use value to the seller (or the estate, as the case may be). FWIW, I never saw a decent piano in that situation. (The pool table was pretty cool, tho.)

I actually had one broker tell me that having a decent little grand piano in a house was a great way to make it look appealing. Part of the "staging" thing that is increasingly popular (put rented furniture in an empty house to sell it).

Around here there are also "antiques dealers" who will put stuff in your house if you let them use it to have a "sale" (they sort of pretend it's the furniture of the estate, and try to sell a bunch of stuff that way). They actually did that at the house we bought, and it was offensive the prices they stuck on a bunch of junk. Of course, we made sure they took it all away.

Not easy to sell houses these days. About like selling pianos.... smile
Posted By: JeffBC

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 11/16/07 06:53 PM

Well after having a number of piano techs to my house the answer is clear: my 1920's C.C. Harvey is WORTH SAVING.

Internally (the soundboard, action, etc.) is in great shape. The flame mahogany case, ivory keys, brass, etc., etc. had people drooling. This was clearly a high-end piano way back when.

Most of the work it needs is cosmetic (so we can bring it from the basement up to the living room).

Mechanically and cosmetically it looks like a $900 investment will give me a showpiece. Best part, selling the Yamaha after we're done restoring the C.C. Harvey will more than cover the repairs and give me some cash in my pocket.

Not bad for two free pianos. smile

In a few months I'll post pics when it's done. Comments appreciated.
Posted By: GoatRider

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 11/16/07 10:05 PM

Time to start taking lessons!
Posted By: SCCDoug

Re: My house came with TWO pianos - help! - 11/16/07 10:24 PM

Jeff, could you post a picture for us?
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