what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

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mydadsbechstein
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what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by mydadsbechstein » 23 Feb 2013, 19:02

Hi, I have not posted on here before.

Perhaps you can advise us on my fathers piano?

Details below. It was my nan’s 21st Birthday present a long time ago (60 years?) and my Dad inherited it. I have also found out that my great nan had the piano before giving it to my nan for her 21st.

Dad looked after it for a short while but over recent years it has not had any attention and has deteriorated somewhat. My mother passed away recently and now my father needs the money and wants the piano moved. Very sad now I realise how old and how much history this upright has had.

Anyway, I said I would do some research via google - thus finding this forum and would be grateful for any advice re: selling it for a "fair" price and/or convincing my husband to "buy" it from my dad so it stays in the family!! (my father was advised to sell it on eBay.)

Piano:
C Bechstein Berlin.
Serial no 29013.
Walnut Burr.
Over strung.
Concert Pitch.
Iron frame.
Needs work to veneer.
One peddle needs refixing.


Where do I start? What would you do?

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athomik
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Re: what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by athomik » 24 Feb 2013, 01:17

It may be worth getting a piano technician to assess the piano, but with something that old, there's a good chance that you'll end up paying someone to take it away.

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Re: what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by Colin Nicholson » 24 Feb 2013, 01:18

Welcome to the forum.

The serial number suggests your piano was made in 1891 (not 1981!) - I think you got the 8 and the 9 the wrong way round.

Do you know the model number?
If you remove the front panel, you may see 2 numbers on the right hand side on the cast iron frame.... possibly a model 10 / 8 / IV ?.

We cannot give you a 'fair price' or any kind of valuation here on the forum about your piano specifically, as the piano's overall condition will need to be inspected on-site and partly tuned and assessed by a piano tuner/ restorer. Bechstein is a very good maker of pianos - but it depends on its condition of the mechanism, strings, wrest plank etc. for its current value.

Un-restored, they don't sell for very much. As an example - a 1897 overstrung Bechstein in a rosewood case was estimated between £300 - £500 at a London auction a few years ago - however, I don't know what it sold for. You may get less for this on Ebay.

Depending on if you are going to keep the piano, and with its history & sentimentality - it may be worth having it restored - i.e. re-strung, mechanism refurbished - but this would cost about £3k for a basic restoration - and in most cases, most restorers adopt the policy "all or nothing" regarding the level of restoration. For example - if you have the piano re-strung, you will also need to have the mechanism restored aswell.... and if you just decided to have the mechanism restored, then with old strings - the piano wouldnt be worth much more if the mechanism was left untouched - so its usually a "all or nothing" situation - a bit like double glazing windows.

However - at the same auctions in London - another Bechstein (c.1905) serial number #70763 - model 8, overstrung, in burr walnut with stool was estimated to sell between £1.5K and £2K ...... so its original exterior and interior condition is of paramount importance - just like a piece of old china - if its cracked (and not a rare piece) - the value dramatically falls.

Pedal repairs are usually no problem to restore - and may be included in the quote, depending on the original condition/ parts missing/broken/ badly worn etc. If you had the piano refurbished, then depending on the model number - your piano wouldn't fetch much more than what you paid for the restoration.

If you decide to sell it on Ebay - don't be too greedy - its a very old piano - and maybe start your bidding at around £150 - £200.... and see how the bidding goes - perhaps put a reserve on for £150.... but again, this may not reflect the condition of your piano, which should be inspected. If the veneer is badly damaged/ chipped/ cracked etc ...... then the price will drop quite a bit. Veneer repairs are quite specialised, and to have it repaired & french polished - then DOUBLE the restoration quote!!


Hope that helps....
Last edited by Colin Nicholson on 24 Feb 2013, 01:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by athomik » 24 Feb 2013, 01:28

Colin Nicholson wrote: However - at the same auctions in London - another Bechstein (c.1905) serial number #70763 - model 8, overstrung, in burr walnut with stool was estimated to sell between £1.5K and £2K .......
If that was unrestored, I suspect it would have been bought by someone who is looking for another antique to adorn their mansion, rather than someone who wants to play the piano. I've come across a surprising number of wealthy people who spend thousands of pound on a piano (even new grands) who have no intention of ever playing it. (esp. in my field, where you don't have to be able to play the piano, it does everything for you by itself ;-) - they just use it as a sort of juke box for dinner parties)

Then again, if you intend to play your piano and it has sentimental value, £3k for a 'good as new' restored Bechstein isn't too bad.

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Re: what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by Colin Nicholson » 24 Feb 2013, 01:38

This was Conways piano auctions in Holborn, WC1. I visited their showroom in 2010 - and mainly grands there - some were just fit for the skip! (even some Steinways were SHEDS!) .... but others were OK.... mostly unrestored - unless it said otherwise.

The new member should realise though that these are "London prices" ! - not a general "run of the mill" auction. The website is .... http://www.pianoauctions.co.uk

I think that Bechstein sold for £1.2K ...... see here.... item 18

http://www.pianoauctions.co.uk/past_sal ... 09-09-2010
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Re: what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by athomik » 24 Feb 2013, 03:04

As you and everyone else says, get a piano tech to assess it, and then see if you love the piano enough to pay for a proper restoration.
Otherwise, give it away to the local tinkers for the metal, next time they come around (at least you won't have to pay for removal) or do something spectacular for YouTube.

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Re: what do I do with my fathers Bechstein 1981c Upright

Post by mydadsbechstein » 25 Feb 2013, 21:04

With many thanks for the quick responses to my post.

Yes, it is certainly an interesting one, until only a few days ago I did realise how much history this piano has!

Correct, I meant to type 1891 - apologies, I am not used to writing such date!!

So, maybe try and sell for £500 or keep as a serious heirloom and look at spending money overtime to restore or just keep as an old antique.

Much food for thought, for which we are most grateful for your experienced replies.

With best regards to you all,

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