Nathaniel Berry Upright Piano advice?

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Nathaniel Berry Upright Piano advice?

Post by whiskas999 » 04 Jan 2017, 11:20

Hi guys.

I have in my possesion a Nathaniel Berry upright piano. It has a serial number of 38007 inside it and on the back. It looks to be in the art deco style with electric bulb holders both sides and the bakelite ashtrays underneath on both sides as well. Can anyone give me any info as to the age, history and any values please? i have attached some pictures in the hope this helps a bit more.

Many thanks in advance.

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Nathaniel Berry Upright Piano advice?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 05 Jan 2017, 01:53

Hi Suzi

The serial number suggests 1937, and fits into the Art Deco period/ walnut style & chrome fittings.
Some unusual features which look good. Not sure if the ashtrays are original? !!
Berry were established in 1888, and their factory was based in The Grove Crouch End, London, and the company folded around 1966, making just over 46,000 pianos. Fairly "middle of the road" pianos re quality.

It seems to be overstrung by the LH key block being wider than the RH block, but not sure if over or under-damped.
Under-damped is better, so long as the dampers work OK.

We cannot give values for specific pianos on the forum (as stated in the blue header above), as no one knows the internal condition of the piano, including the mechanism, strings, tuning, pitch, structure/ wrest plank and other things - for an accurate value, you will need to book a piano technician who specialises in values (not just your local Joe Bloggs tuner).

Many pianos of an unknown condition/ not in tune/ below Concert Pitch/ not serviced for donkey's years/ house clearance jobs (not inspected) fall sometimes into a "default" price range at auction, anything from £50 - £100 at auction, however you may get more if selling in an antique shop?? if you mark it well .... but this may not fit the value of your piano - depends on internal condition, like you would value a clock.... if the movement inside cannot be seen, who knows the value!
I see a price tag on the music rest?? .... if so, what is the price? (might be helpful to know if over-priced)
What did you pay for the piano?
Not worth a lot I'm afraid, but may sell better with the art deco ornamentation, and perhaps offer a tuning when delivered (put into the price). You should make a profit though. Don't include delivery - collection only.

Regarding the electric light holders.... if the original twisted 2-core wiring is still inside (and porcelain inners), always state it has not been rewired or tested. Would need to be rewired and best to fit 12v with a transformer - that is to advise your potential buyer!

For cleaning the walnut veneer, mix 50/50 linseed oil & vinegar in a jar, and then use beeswax for polishing. Only a damp cloth for the piano keys. Perhaps clean the chrome with T-Cut or car polish.

Hope that helps & good luck (if selling)

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Nathaniel Berry Upright Piano advice?

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Jan 2017, 11:10

I used to work for Berrys, and the bakelite ashtrays seem to have been mainly used by them, I can't remember anyone else having them. It was a better arrangement than having people rest their fags on the keys and burn them, which was quite common.

The most important factor deciding the value of an old piano is not its name, but its condition, and the most important aspect of that is whether it holds in tune, because if it doesn't, repairs can cost over a thousand pounds, and this is usually more than an old piano is worth. Nobody anywhere can guess the value or condition of a piano without inspecting it on the spot, and checking whether it will hold in tune, so the local tuner is the best person to ask about that.
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