I've come into possession of a 1914 Lester upright piano - with provenance - and need help finding resources to determine its value.
The 1914 upright Lester piano
came as a “free gift with purchase” with the house I recently bought. The previous home owners (who were the second owners of this home) inherited it from the original owners/builder when they bought the house in 2009, and were either being nice, sentimental with the house, or were too cheap to pay a piano mover (which I have come to understand often costs more than pianos). All the surnames on my documents are the surnames of the original homeowners.
As far as condition, on the outside, it looks pretty good for a 100 year piano, and I was told with a few tunings and some repairs it would be good to go for me to learn piano. I've been to this 'what is my piano worth' site
, and I can see it’s not worth much, but I've watched a fair bit of Antiques Roadshow and have come to understand that provenance can increase the value of an item. A friend suggested I look into it as I might have something worth more than the price of a new piano. I have no emotional connection to the piano and wouldn’t be broken hearted to part with it. In fact, in a perfect world I could get enough for it that could cover at least the cost of a new piano for me to learn on and all the moving involved.
Based on the documents that came with the piano, I am 95% sure the person who bought the piano in 1917 is the father of the man who built my house in 1955. My neighbor is occasionally in touch with the previous owner’s daughter, so I do have a source to confirm/deny my hunch if I need to.
Here is a scan of 3 of the 4 documents that came with the piano
. They are:
-A typed letter sent from Mr. Geo H. Lofland from “F.A. North Company – makers of Lester Pianos” in Camden, NJ to Mr. N on Water Street in Philadelphia. I checked both addresses on google maps and neither are there anymore.
-A typed receipt stating that $100 was received for partial payment for a piano, “style 26 mahogany”. On it in pencil is written “received payment in full”.
- The envelope these two documents came in, addressed, stamped and post-marked
- (not pictured) a certificate from Lester Piano company dated 6/14/1914 stating that piano “53758” has a 10 year guarantee. On the back of this document, is a “how to care for your piano” from Lester Piano Company, 1306 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. On google maps, that property still exists, but is vacant.
There is also a stool with glass ball claw feet; I don’t know it they came as a set.
So Mefites with experience with antiques and/or pianos - is this selling this piano something I should pursue or do I just have a ‘cool story bro’ to share with friends about my piano? What sites or forums do you recommend or who might I contact to sell my piano? Or who might I contact locally (I’m in the Philly burbs) to help me out with this?
Thanks in advance!