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Ask questions on piano history and the age of your piano.

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Postby saartjevw » 22 Oct 2005, 19:20

Hi, We have just recently inherited a John Spencer & Co. piano. I have noticed that you have shed some light on the age of a piano from the same maker. Any chance you could give us a rough estimate of when ours was built? The piano number is 92142.
Thanks,

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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 22 Oct 2005, 22:41

It's the early ones pre-1909 which are more difficult, the published numbers are wrong. Yours should be 1938.

Some information about Spencer may be found at...
http://www.pianogen.org/numbers.html
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Wrong number

Postby saartjevw » 29 Oct 2005, 15:38

Hi, I had been given the incorrect number. The correct number is: 62142. Any chnace you could advise on this number?

Sorry and thanks
Thanks,

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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 29 Oct 2005, 16:47

That suggests 1915.
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John Spencer of London...

Postby storm1606 » 12 Nov 2005, 21:57

Hi,

I noticed that you have been kind enough to help date some of the John Spencer pianos posted here previously and I wondered if you might do the same for me?
Ours has a serial number of 46588.
Thank you in advance

Neil
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Postby Bill Kibby » 12 Nov 2005, 23:35

Should be around 1906.
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Postby storm1606 » 13 Nov 2005, 00:41

Thanks Bill
:)
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Help with dating our Spencer piano too.

Postby Emma78 » 26 Nov 2005, 14:51

Hi

My husband has a John Spencer & Co Piano that he has had for many years. His father had bought it in about 1966 at which time he was told it was about seventy years old. In about 1968 it was 'modernised' by removing the candlestick holders and scroll work. It was then completely veneered.

We were hoping to find out the date of the piano and any other information eg model number etc. Is there any way we can see what it originally looked like?

The number on the piano is 28726 with John Spencer & Co printed above it. We have found this serial number three times throughout the piano.

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Regards
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 26 Nov 2005, 15:26

The number suggests 1897. If you have logged in, you can contact me at the link below, and I may have photos of similar ones.
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Spencer

Postby Emma78 » 27 Nov 2005, 17:35

Thanks for your help!

Emma.
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John Spencer & Co

Postby Trimitaka » 09 Oct 2006, 07:11

Hi there, I have also received a piano from a relative and was also looking for some help on its age or any info. After opening it I found a stamp in the wood saying John Spencer & Co and under that was 17073, this must be the serial number. Any help would be great.
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 09 Oct 2006, 11:15

I estimate that it was made around 1891. See
http://www.uk-piano.org/piano-gen/datem ... ianos.html
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Postby James_Hall » 29 Oct 2006, 17:35

Bill,
I have a John Spencer & Co panio with the serial number: 46030. It's an upright overstrung one.

Please would you be able to provide an aproximate year?
thank you very much,
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 29 Oct 2006, 17:49

About 1906. Does the transfer mention the Princess of Wales?
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Postby James_Hall » 29 Oct 2006, 17:51

it says "By special appointment to the princess of Wales" and has awards from 1888 and 1890 mentioned.
Thanks
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John Spencer & Co

Postby lilstevey » 20 Nov 2006, 14:56

Hi, I recently aquired a John Spencer upright piano from a couple who were moving and no longer had a need for it. They had been messed around by a few people and the piano was destined for breaking, and the tip when I stumbled across it. I cannot stand seeing such instruments being discarded and whilst I realise it will not be cost effective, I am hoping to repair it, with the view to moving onto a full restoration, primarily using the excellent Reblitz book as a reference. My partner wishes to develop her piano skills, and is supportive of this new hobby. They said it was about 100 years old, and I have noticed that you have dated others pianos in the past. I was wondering if you could do similar for myself. The serial number is '71532'. If anyone could provide pointers to pictures or information about John Spencer pianos of a similar age it would be much appreciated - in particular the woods used for the veneer ( the is some slight damage ) and the sconces ( candle holders ), which have been removed, and I now seek to replace.
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 20 Nov 2006, 15:05

The published numbers should be about right for this, suggesting 1921. Get a tuner to check the wrestpins before you spend money. I am no expert on wood types, but surely there is some veneer surviving on the piano? As for sconces, I can quote for printing a booklet which gives many examples of sconce designs, but there is no way of knowing exactly which type was used on a given model, they varied. It is more or less impossible to replace with the right type, and you have to consider it good luck if you find a pair at all. Try Ebay, but bear in mind that not everyone knows them as "sconces". See also the DATEMARKS and BOOKLETS items at pianogen.org
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Postby Sam Stevenson » 20 Nov 2006, 15:17

I'm in Fremantle, Western Australia. Today I was given a fantastic gift by my partner - a John Spencer & Co upright. Was wondering if you would be able to give me a rough idea as to its age - the number on the inside is 72399. Anything else you can tell me about it would also be appreciated (model name or anything)- it has two gorgeous candle holders on it - I can email photos if that is helpful - am very keen to learn about its history. Also, some of the (ivory) keys are quite dirty and I was wondering if you could advise the best way to clean them. Many thanks.
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Thank you

Postby lilstevey » 20 Nov 2006, 15:36

Thank you for your reply and advice - it is very much appreciatted, and I will be acting on your guidence with regard to the wrestpins - Whilst the piano I have is a wonderfull aid to understanding more about the instrument and its mechanics, and I am happy to invest the time doing such, I would not like to pour money down the drain, or worse raise my partners hopes unecessarily with what can be achieved with it.

I have been searching on ebay for a variety of sconces ( or "candle holders" ) - at present nicer
varients seem to be going for between 30 to 40 pounds - I think therefore, that given the availability of examples such as this:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=010&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=200041952367&rd=1&rd=1

Then my continued study of junk shops and charity shops may just be the best course of action.
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John Spencer & Co

Postby Sam Stevenson » 23 Nov 2006, 09:39

I'm in Fremantle, Western Australia. Today I was given a fantastic gift by my partner - a John Spencer & Co upright. Was wondering if you would be able to give me a rough idea as to its age - the number on the inside is 72399. Anything else you can tell me about it would also be appreciated (model name or anything)- it has two gorgeous candle holders on it - I can email photos if that is helpful - am very keen to learn about its history. Also, some of the (ivory) keys are quite dirty and I was wondering if you could advise the best way to clean them. Many thanks.
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Cleaning piano keys

Postby Bill Kibby » 23 Nov 2006, 13:29

I wonder what it is about Spencer pianos that makes so many people look them up on the net! The number suggests 1921, and there is often a model number or letter right next to the serial number. An 1866 book on London Society includes two interesting pieces of advice on cleaning pianoforte keys: One is to use warm water, the other is to "call in a practical man"! Too much water will wreck the piano, I suggest you call in a practical man, me for instance! Milk is often recommended for cleaning keys, and it is even suggested that the calcium in it does something useful, but really, it is no better than a slightly damp cloth on synthetic keys, and if milk is used on galalith or ivory, which are porous, it will soak into the pores and cause discolouration as it goes sour and mouldy. This effect is often used to artificially age garden statues! Something mildly abrasive (like Cif cream) will often do a good job of removing dirt, but it may also remove the shine, and I prefer to use Solvol Autosol, a thick cream in a tube, like toothpaste, used in the motor trade for cleaning chrome, plastic, etc..
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Postby Sam Stevenson » 26 Nov 2006, 17:13

Many thanks - the Solvol Autosol did the trick brilliantly; the keys look brand new.

Any hints for the ebony keys? I did try a good quality dark wood polish, making sure not to get on the ivory keys, but not sure if this is the best thing.

Cheers,
Sam
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Ebony & ivory

Postby Bill Kibby » 28 Nov 2006, 16:49

A lot depends on whether they are real ebony, and whether there is any paint or other finish on them. Experiment with the solvol on a small area, or try three-in-one oil, or (dare I mention) WD40.
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Postby Linc Daddy » 20 Mar 2007, 15:54

Hi there, my name is Marvin Hoenselaar and I live in The Netherlands. I was lucky recently to be able to buy an upright John Spencer & Co. from friends for the crazy amount of €1.- It has the "By special appointment to H.R.H. The Princess Of Wales" script on it with the medals awarded in Melbourne 1888 and Edinburgh 1890. It also has a nice wood inlay on the front board. According to the numbers I can find in this topic, mine should have been made somewhere between 1909 and 1915. But ofcourse I'm quite interested in the exact year, the number is 55366. Below are some fuzzy pictures of the piano as a whole and some clear pictures of the disassembled state it is currently in in order to be able to lift it up the stairs.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Hopefully I'll have the piano upstairs today and fully reassembled (disassembly was actually remarkably easy).

Thank you very much for your help. It's also nice to see there are many others with such an interest in these piano's, would love to see pics of more of these...
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 20 Mar 2007, 17:23

The number suggests 1912.
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Postby Linc Daddy » 20 Mar 2007, 18:13

Thank you very much Bill. :D
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Spencer

Postby steel v » 31 Mar 2007, 21:31

Hi, This is my first time on this site. I live in New Zealand and have just recently bought an old house in the town of Kawerau. The house was owned by an old hermit and when I took over the property, I inherited a lot of old junk. In the garage tucked away in a corner was this piano. I no nothing about pianos. I was curious (after watching the British 'Antique Road Show') so I decided to look it up on the net, last night. This is how I found out about this site. This old piano has the same 'gold transfer' with the inscription 'By special appiontment to HRH the princess of wales' as shown in the photo by 'Linc Daddy'. It has John Spencer & Co. on the front. After reading some of the posts, I will now find out the serial number, how many keys it has and take some photos of it.

Carol
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Postby killbill » 27 Sep 2007, 04:40

Hi there,

my piano reads,

"John Spencer and Co. London

John G. Murdoch and Co. LTD

53 George St. Edinburgh Scotland

By Special Appointment to H.R.H the Princess of Wales"

Any clues on an approximate year, value, and where I might locate the serial number on the piano?
A while back I opened the bottom cabinet and found two sacks of flour from Scotland, probably used to absorb moisture?? It plays however the sustain pedal is stuck on, probably from the move. It made it a decent way from home since it's now in Texas.

Thanks for your help!

--Bill
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Postby Linc Daddy » 27 Sep 2007, 08:07

Hello Bill, most likely you will find the number on the top right corner area if you open up the top front like in this picture.
Image

That number is needed to define the year of manufacture.

Kindest regards, Marvin.
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 27 Sep 2007, 13:06

It's a fairly good rule that serial numbers can often be seen just by opening the top. Valuation is impossible with inspection, but old Spencers are common in the UK, and many have little value.
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John Spencer Piano

Postby glitterdustgirl » 20 Dec 2007, 15:19

Hi
We have just bought a Spencer piano and the number inside the top says 15537. Can you please advise on the date? We're really interested!

Thanks
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 20 Dec 2007, 15:29

The number suggests 1890.
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Postby glitterdustgirl » 20 Dec 2007, 16:34

Thank you!

Also, some of the keys seem to be sticking and we are not sure if the pedals are working properly. We have never owned a piano before, and it is a surprise present for my mum, and so we will get it tuned after Christmas. Can these problems be fixed by a piano tuner?
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 20 Dec 2007, 18:03

Without seeing it, I can't tell you how bad it is, or what's causing it. Above all, I cannot test the tuning pins from here to see if it is capable of being tuned at all... unless you are in East Anglia?
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John Spencer & Co oak upright in Auckland, NZ

Postby caro58 » 10 Jan 2008, 15:07

Dear Bill

I noticed you are one of those rare beings that seems to have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to piano's.

I live in Auckland, NZ and have a John Spencer & Co, possibly oak upright piano. I would suspect that it is fairly old and was wondering if I provide some serial nos, if you would be kind enough to provide an approximate date of manufacture.

Sadly, it has been recently attacked by bora, and so am trying to decide whether or not to spend money on firstly fumigating it professionally and resorting it to its former glory. Here in NZ, this will cost several thousand dollars and although I dearly love this piano, and learnt to play on it some 35 yrs ago, I am weighing up the options.

I tried to attach some photo's for you, as this may help to identify the age, but cannot seem to do so.

There is an engraved number #13301 on the left of the internal panel which also states "John Spencer & Co, London".

Additionally there is a number # 2 or 3(?)359 on the wooden bar above the hammers which states "J Brooks Limited".

Do you have any idea who "J Brooks Ltd" may be?

I would appreciate any assistance you could provide.

Kind regards
Caro Brooking
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Please date my John Spencer Piano

Postby pete123 » 19 Feb 2008, 07:18

Hi,

I have noticed that you have been very helpful in dating John Spencer Piano's and wondered what date mine would fall in with the serial number of 28575??

Thanks for your help!
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 19 Feb 2008, 11:51

The number suggests 1897.
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PLease Date my John Spencer and Co Piano

Postby Liomari » 23 Feb 2008, 21:45

Hi

My mother has a John Spencer and Co Piano, the serial number is 32439 (stamped at the top right hand of the piano inside). There is also a 2nd number actually carved into the wood on the rim of piano where the top lid would sit when closed which says M7567.

Can you tell me how old the piano is? and what the second number means if possible? There is also a stamp which i assume is where it came from, Henry Mackintosh and Sons, 39 George Street Edinburgh.

Thanks
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 23 Feb 2008, 23:26

The M number would be Mackintosh's stock number. The other number suggests 1899.
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Another 1 from New Zealand

Postby tinyman » 24 Feb 2008, 20:41

hi Mr. Bill Kibby,

How are ya? I have read the threads in this forum and they all are interested in the year their John Spencer Pianos were made, well, add us to this list because I am too is interested of this great piece of musical intrument that we had laid our hands on 2 years ago. the candle holders are gone, but it doesn't matter because it still sounds perfect to us after we had it tuned.

We live in New Zealand and was given this old John Spencer Piano, after reading all the topics from this forum, we were interested as well of what's the exact year our John Spencer is, the number stamped on the casting shows: 53564... on this forum there's a serial number close to this one that we have. If you can tell us what year is this serial number, this would be very much appreciated.

thank you very much in advance and have a good day :D :D :D
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Postby misc » 28 Apr 2008, 10:01

Hi there. I have a John Spencer & Co piano, and I'd be very interested in finding out the date of manufacture. The only number I can see is 2A 8272:

Image

Many thanks in advance for your help.
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 28 Apr 2008, 17:11

No exact dates are available this early, but I estimate it at 1887.
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Postby misc » 28 Apr 2008, 17:13

Very interesting! Thanks again.
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Anyone interested?

Postby tinyman » 06 May 2008, 00:32

hi everyone,
click the link below to hear a sample of a Spencer Piano played by Krystal:


[/url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1TDmbVAwg[url]


it's not perfect but it sounds good.. :D :D
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John Spencer piano history

Postby Kloppert » 21 May 2008, 14:38

Dear Mr Kibby,

Could you indicate a year for a JohnSpencer with # 50088

Thanks!

Hans Kloppert
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Spencer

Postby Bill Kibby » 21 May 2008, 14:58

The number suggests 1908.
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Hans Kloppert

Postby Kloppert » 21 May 2008, 15:11

Thanks !!
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Re: John Spencer & Co.

Postby davidu » 15 Nov 2009, 18:53

Could you give the year of a John Spencer & Co upright piano with serial number 25153?

Thank you!
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Re: John Spencer & Co.

Postby Bill Kibby » 15 Nov 2009, 19:37

The number suggests that it was made in 1895. If the keys were ivory, you could probably see a grain, and joins level with the fronts of the black notes.

I have typed this answer twice in the proper place, but it disappears!
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Re: John Spencer & Co.

Postby davidu » 18 Nov 2009, 23:43

I was also wondering whether the key coverings on an 1895 John Spencer piano are made of ivory or plastic?

Thanks again.
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