Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/Upright pianos


I have the opportunity to purchase two old pianos and am trying to decipher which is the best value.

Piano #1 is a Harwood. On the inside it says product of Aeolian. On the back it has 146701 etched in the wood. I am wondering if you can tell me it's age and Value. One note is not working properly. The hammer doesn't strike the strings properly as they bow outward slightly. Otherwise, it looks and sounds great.

Piano #2 is a WM Knabe & Co. and has 192727 stamped inside. It also has two brass plates inside the lid. One says Official Piano Metropolitan Opera Since 1926 & the other says Official Piano San Francisco Opera. The exterior has some damage to the woodwork but the interior looks practically brand new.....like it has been very well maintained or rebuilt. I'm wondering if it was actually used for the opera companies. I would love to know when it was made and its value.

Thank you so much for any information you can give me.

Hi Karen:

Piano #1: Harwood; Built around 1937-8. This could have age related issues: pin block, sound board, etc. It's best to have this looked at. These pianos in great shape typically change hands in the 50-200.00 range. But...it's worth NOTHING if it can't be serviced!

Piano #2: Knabe; Built in 1979 also by the Aeolian Company. Forget all that "Official Piano" stuff. That is just sales hype!

When pianos become "official" it means they were GIVEN to the establishment ( Metropolitan Opera Company) for their use so they could say: "Official". It's all hype and it means nothing.

On an even ground, I would go with the younger of the two, but NOT without having them looked at first by a registered member of the piano technicians guild, otherwise it's a crap shoot.

Go to http://www.ptg.org and look in the upper right hand corner for "Locate a technician". There you can plug in your zip code and a list of REGISTERED technicians will pop up in your area.

I would have them look at the Knabe first. If it's good...make your deal. I'm thinking in the higher hundreds.

Let me know how you make out!

Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ralph Onesti


I am a Registered/tested member of the Piano Technicians Guild (RPT) with 49 years of experience in all phases and levels of the acoustic piano. I will answer any questions regarding acoustic pianos only. All questions and answers are to remain public. Please to not include sensitive material! If they are marked private, I will change them to public. My answers may be of assistance to others. If privacy is an issue, please contact me through my web site: http://www.onestipiano.com Electronic keyboards, organs, and player/reproducing piano mechanisms are outside of my expertise. Anything to do with: Construction, Service, Tuning, Climate Control Systems, Piano Disc, Purchasing, Selling, Insurance Appraisal, Rebuilding, Repairs, Legal issues, Maintenance, Environmental issues, Finish issues with acoustic pianos. My full resume can be found at: http://onestipiano.com/pages/history.html You can like us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/onestipianoservice


In business since 1964, Extensive Rebuilding/Repair/Service facility. A certified, tested, member of the Piano Technicians Guild, Member of the Technical Advisory Service to Attorneys. Have performed piano service on Concert Stage, Recording Studios, and in the home. Http://www.onestipiano.com. The shop's work comes from all over the world from private clients or other techncians.

The Piano Technicians Guild, Master Piano Technicians of America, Technical Advisory Service to Attorneys. (TASA), IAPBT. The Piano Technicians Guild is the only organization in the US that offers a certification test to become Registered. There are no "factory authorized techncians".

The Piano Technicians Journal

Attented Temple University, Drexel University, Philadelphia Community college all in the areas of engineering and Music. I taught a two semester course in Piano Technology and the related acoustical physics at Temple University. I have taught extensively for the Piano Technicians Guild and the Master Piano Technicians of America.

Awards and Honors
Service Award for the Rose Tree Media School District in Pennsylvania. Chapter Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild.

Past/Present Clients
The list is rather extensive. I would suggest you go http://onestipiano.com/pages/testimonials.html where there is a comprehensive list of clients past and present.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.