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#1264477 - 09/08/09 09:22 AM Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value?
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
Hi, I am new to the forum. I discovered it trying to figure out the date and information on our piano.

We have a Bell upright (manufactured in Guelph, Ontario). From the serial number, we have dated it to early 1903. It has a gorgeous, booked Walnut finish.

This piano has been in our family over 40 years! We bought it reconditioned. It is in excellent condition although it needs a good tuning now as it currently sits unused. The finish on it is still like new. My wife and I are debating selling it. Can anyone help us with a possible value or, how to determine that?

Thanks

Art

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#1264483 - 09/08/09 09:34 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: FutzyFingers]
SteveG_CT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 131
Loc: Connecticut
The value will be dependant on the condition of the instrument. You mentioned that you bought it reconditioned about 40 years ago. Do you know to what extent it was "reconditioned"? i.e Did it just get an action rebeuild or did it get restrung as well? Was the soundboard ever replaced?

If the piano was more or less rebuilt 40 years ago then it probably still has some musical life left in it.

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#1264485 - 09/08/09 09:39 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: SteveG_CT]
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
Steve,

To be honest, I have no idea. The inside looks exactly like pictures I have seen on the internet. The "BELL" logo is very obvious. All the hammers inside seem to be original.

I believe the pedals may have been changed and the finish restored. That would be my best guess.

My wife played this piano for years and then lost interest. Our daughter has zero interest and it is large, and takes up room. So, we have been debating selling it.

If you can tell me how to figure out and tell what is new inside, I am happy to look, photograph etc to give you a better idea.

THANKS! smile

Art

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#1264490 - 09/08/09 09:46 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: FutzyFingers]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10340
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Unfortunately large off-brand uprights have little or no value. That is the situation with the Bell.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1264493 - 09/08/09 09:50 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: Steve Cohen]
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
Disappointing. It is a beautiful instrument. We have kept is over the years more for the beauty of the Walnut! LOL

Well, thanks for letting me know.

Art

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#1264497 - 09/08/09 10:06 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: Steve Cohen]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Unfortunately large off-brand uprights have little or no value. That is the situation with the Bell.


Now hold on there for a minute! smile I'm no Canadian, but I think to Canadians Bell is something more than an off-brand.

Fuzzy, Don't sell it for $5 Cdn. until you collect some other opinions.

Where's Rod V?
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1264524 - 09/08/09 11:04 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: turandot]
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
That is "FutzyFingers" to YOU! LOL Or Art ... smile

Thanks for posting. From what I have read, Bell was quite a player in its day. And, this is really a nice looking classical piece. We kept it over the years as much for the way it looked as a piece of furniture as for the sound. (I am not a musician, but I know it is really all about sound, first! wink ) Space has never been an issue. Currently, the wife wants to re-decorate and since no one in the house seriously plays any more, not much point in holding onto it.

I would be disappointed if it was worthless. Happy to wait for some more opinions. It would be nice to find someone who appreciates it for what it is. I am sure there is still a lot of play left in it.

Thanks

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#1264539 - 09/08/09 11:46 AM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: FutzyFingers]
Piano Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/01/03
Posts: 400
Loc: Southern Ontario,Canada
Bell was probably in top 5 quality Canadian pianos, and some of the nicest crafted cabinets.
_________________________
Richard, the"Piano Guy"
Piano Moving Tuning & Repair
From London ON to Fort Erie ON

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#1264558 - 09/08/09 12:09 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: Piano Guy]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Toronto

Hi:

Those Bell pianos are some of the best uprights anywhere at any price. It probably has the 'illimitable' repeating action, giving it the speed of a grand, and if you look in the back, you will see a large iron plate and no backposts so the sound had less mass obstructing it. The case work is usually great and the original finish was french polish, meaning it could be the original finish and still look great. The downside is it has little value, perhaps $300. As you can tell, I love the old Bells. They exported lots of those to England and they were quite a large company in their day. Give me a call if you like.

Take care,

Steve
_________________________
Vintage Piano sales and restoration in Toronto
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

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#1264570 - 09/08/09 12:24 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: turandot]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3636
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted By: turandot


Where's Rod V?


The Bell is one of my favorites like mentioned one of the top 5 in Canada. That being said if the inside is all original it may have some cabinet value. Not much. If the piano is worn out only a select few will want it for restoration.

I am just putting together a price for a client that wants the one on my web site. I am also doing a Victorian Steinway "A" for them and will be beginning a Heintzman for them shortly.

They are giving each of their Children a restored vintage art case Canadian upright and keeping the Steinway for themselves. I helped them sell their 20 year old Steinway "B" now that they have fallen in love with the vintage stuff.


_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#1264687 - 09/08/09 03:05 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
Here are some pictures of the Bell Piano.

Try the link below for images.







I figure a picture is worth a thousand words. If we are going to talk serious, I might as well get some pictures up. The serial number is behind some of the strings, which you can't see. I checked it against a registry at the Guelph Museum web site and it says 1903.

If you need any more info, I will try the best I can to dig it up.

Thanks for your opinions and advice, I greatly appreciate it!!

Steve, I may call you! wink

Art




Edited by FutzyFingers (09/08/09 03:29 PM)

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#1264688 - 09/08/09 03:10 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: FutzyFingers]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
It is a nice looking piano, but unfortunately it is not worth much.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1264690 - 09/08/09 03:16 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: BDB]
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
BDB

Well, it goes that way sometimes! During the years we had it, we enjoyed it. I thought due to its age, it my be worth something. Regardless, what would be a fair market price for it?

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#1264760 - 09/08/09 05:35 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: FutzyFingers]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Fuzzy Futzy grin,

The people who are telling you it has next to no value are not living in Canada. Rod mentioned a family that has fallen in love with the old Canadian uprights. Surely, they are not the only ones who appreciate these things. Your task is to find someone in your area who does.

Check the kijiji and craigslist piano postings in your area. Find the average asking for old beaters Golden Age relics. Get the thing tuned, add 50% to the average asking price plus the cost of the tuning, and float a free ad on kijiji and Craigslist with nice photos such as the ones you've provided here. Mention that Bell is in an elite group of Canada's piano makers. You can quote the people who gave it a top-five status here. Everyone here is an expert, so that will carry a lot of weight. thumb Don't quote Steve Cohen though. Mention him and you'll have to pay someone to haul the thing away. grin
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1264771 - 09/08/09 05:51 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: turandot]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
We see and answer so many "I have a beautiful old piano in its original condition and it is just flawless - what a beauty - what is it worth?" so many times that I wish there was a STICKY on PW with the standard answer...however I doubt if that will ever be.

We who are here are piano lovers.

However, we must constantly remind the newbie to the site that just because the piano is pretty on the outside (a nice piece of furniture) that does NOT mean that the piano on the inside (WHERE IT COUNTS) is just as good.

For Heaven's Sake.

A piano is an instrument, not a piece of furniture.

Most of those asking about their antique piano have no idea that their antique piano does not have the value that other antiques of the same vintage.

Pianos were not built to last forever. Just do a search on the topic.

However...if one is of a quality name or is one that has a particularly beautiful cabinet AND a quality name, they often are candidates for some refurbishing on the INSIDE which might make them fine instruments again. Often a VERY EXPENSIVE proposition.

Instead of 'us' determining the value, sight unseen (and not just pics) I would suggest having a piano technician come and evaluate the INSIDES of the piano and give you a summary of such, and how much your particular piano might cost to have it refurbished. That way you can have a written appraisal as to its worth in its current condition and its worth (and cost) for its future condition.

BTW, if you want to sell your piano, PW has a separate area for you to advertise.

And to note - the outside to me is very warm and beautiful.

Best wishes for you and your piano.

LL
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1264780 - 09/08/09 06:05 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: Steve Jackson]
Ludwig van Bilge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 204
Originally Posted By: Steve Jackson
It probably has the 'illimitable' repeating action, giving it the speed of a grand

I'd love to know what an illimitable repeating action is and how it's different than the limitable variety.

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#1264787 - 09/08/09 06:16 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: lilylady]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3636
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Look familiar? I see our legs are diffrent.
Your cabinet looks very nice.

This is the one I own that my client may deside on having custom rebuilt. I value mine at $500.00 + the restoration cost.
15 Years ago we would have valued a piano like this around $1,000.00
And our rebuilding charges were also half the price back then.

_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#1264816 - 09/08/09 07:13 PM Re: Bell Upright - 1903 - Any idea of value? [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
FutzyFingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Etobicoke, ON
LOL! You guys are a riot. I am very well versed on collection and selling, just not on something like a Piano. So, I appreciate all your answers. I purposely chose to come to a specialty site with the hope I would learn somthing along the way. And, I have.

Question: Doesn't moving the piano cause it to go out of tune? When we moved, we had it tuned for that reason. Seems like a waste to have it tuned and then sell it, only to have the buyer tune it again! Mind you, I appreciate the insight.

Rod,

Yes, I saw that picture and others you have on your site. I found you when I first started searching. If you search IMAGES for Bell Pianos, the photos on our site come up. I noticed you are from the west coast.

Anyway, you have all given me lots to think about. I will post and let you know what I do, eventually. My wife will make the final decision, since the Bell belongs to her.

Thanks

Art

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