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John, CT ABRSM, Piano Teacher CT ABRSM.
Category: Musical Instrument Appraisal
Satisfied Customers: 1068
Experience:  Certificate of Music Teaching. Musical Instrument Appraiser. Qualified Technician. Qualified Piano Tuner. Experienced in Buying, Selling, Restoring and Valuing Pianos for more than 20 years.
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I need to get an assessment of my grand piano (1926

Customer Question

I need to get an assessment of my grand piano (1926 Bechstein)'s keyboard as to whether the keys are ivory coated or otherwise, and the likely age of the coating, for purposes of shipping the piano to New Zealand. Are you able to put me in touch with a qualified antiques assessor for this purpose?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Musical Instrument Appraisal
Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your question. My name is***** will be a pleasure to help you. I will ask you to complete the star rating and payment process after I have completed the question for you.

Looking at the picture it appears that this piano may have been restored, perhaps fairly recently, is that the case? My impression from enlarging the picture in the area of the keys is that they are all one piece. By this I mean that the white key tops are not in two or three pieces, but I cannot be sure without more close up pictures. Bechstein pianos of this age usually have two piece key tops and separate fronts ie the covering is in a total of three.

Often when the majority of the key tops are very badly damaged on a piano of this age, new all in one moulded piece key tops are fitted. This can be ascertained by looking at how even the fronts are fitted to the tops and if there are any (often minute) traces of adhesive which can be seen on the front overhang of the key tops plastic keys.

Ivory key tops have markings in the ivory which are like curved lines almost like finger print lines. If all else fails, another very subjective test is to vigorously rub your finger on the key top until you feel it beginning to get quite warm and quickly smell your finger and if they are true ivory you will smell a trace of cheese and possibly banana but this is not a very scientifically proven test!

If you are certain that the key tops are as originally fitted in 1926 then I would say that they are almost certainly ivory. If you still need help and a certified statement to the effect then you would need to have a technician experienced in this to view your piano and complete the write up for you. Please let me know and I will give you further details on this.

Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 1 year ago.

Hello Anthony. It seems that you may have viewed the details I gave you about the key tops on your piano. So I am following up to see if you need any further help on this question and if you would like any more information to complete the work I have started for you? I would be very grateful if you could please let me know.

Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 1 year ago.

I would just like to let you know that unless you complete the question process by giving a rating for my answer I will not be credited for the research I have done and the answer I have given on here for you. So if you do not have any further points that need to be answered on this question, I would be very grateful if you could please click on the Star Rating button/box in the REQUEST DETAILS section at the top of the page. Thank you.

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