Thank you, beethoven. I will call him back and make sure that I understood him correctly. He is a very well respected tech in the Chicago area, so I suspect that I am explaining things poorly, rather than he not having the appropriate tools.
I know him personally, so no need to defend him to me! To be fair, even if he didn't have a #1 tip, I wouldn't hold it against him. I don't have one, and I bet most techs don't, because 99% of instruments we encounter have #2 or higher pins.
Edited to add that I asked the tech to explain it to me again and he said the pins are loose. He said I could get larger pins put in, but that this fix would likely hold for 20 years, not 50. Since I plan on passing this piano down (and actually hoping to play it for more than 20 years, if the powers that be agree) I don't want to have to deal with this again two decades hence.
If it were me, in this case, I would treat the pin block with thin CA glue. I have used this technique successfully on a few pianos with prematurely failing blocks, and it is quickly becoming a go-to fix for many other techs. It is much cheaper and less traumatic for the piano.
While I understand your desire to not want to "deal with this again", I think it is overly optimistic to expect a 30 year old piano to perform optimally without a good amount of work, much less a 50 year old piano. Unfortunately, high-performance pianos aren't a product, they're a process, and you're likely going to run into issues with whatever you go with. That said, I've seen the Grotrian on Craigslist... I think their asking price is too high.