Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/Dating a Mathushek baby grand


QUESTION: Dear Ralph, I have a Mathushek baby grand. I cannot find a serial number, although I have found on the underside a paper sticker (actually two identical stickers) with the following information:

Made in America for the Advancement of Music 584029. National Association of Music Merchants. Division Member. Music Industries Chamber of Commerce.

Any help would be very appreciated. In addition, information about its value also very much welcome. I am in Buffalo NY and my son is in Tucson AZ wondering whether we should send it off.
Thank you, George

ANSWER: Hi George:

The sticker you found is the one some Piano Companies put on all of their pianos.

It has little to do with your "Mathushek"

The last recorded date of manufacture of these was 1958 with a serial number of 354200.

So...you have some detective work to do.

I just answered all the hiding places where a serial number can be found just a few Days ago...let me see if I can find it...


Serial numbers are sometimes obvious, and sometimes not so much.

I would look at the following:

1. Belly up to the piano. Stand in the center. Remove the music desk and look just to your left where there would be a triangular area formed by the steel plate. It may be there.

2. Look on the plate struts...on the sides of them. Miller numbers start with four digits in the 1800's to 6 digits in the 1980's

3. Loon down on the plate in the upper right hand side just above where the tuning pins are.

4. Look under the keybed...remember your flashlight.

5. There is a piece of furniture just in front of the white keys. It is as wide as the keys and about 2" high. This is the "key slip". It is probably held fast by a few screws that go through the bottom of the keybed up. If there are no screws then it just comes off by prying upward.. Look on the back of that piece of wood,

6. While you have the keyslip off...look on the key frame just below the white keys. It may be stamped there.

Let me know how you do.

With regard to worth...I can do somewhat better once we find it's age, the size, the finish, etc.

Viability in terms of serviceability is also an issue.

However, regardless of what we find, the worth will not exceed 5K.

If you need an accurate number, you can go to http://www.ptg.org to find a registered technician in your are. Look for one who has evaluation/appraisal experience.

I hope that helped.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Ralph,
I am very delighted, not only that you replied so quickly but also with such helpful directions. Okay, it was not until the 5th option that I was able to locate a number, and I almost missed it.
I had to remove four long screws of the key slip, and lo! there was a number stamped in the wood on the bottom of the key slip.. but consisting in only three digits: 865.
Interestingly, on the wood under the key cushions is printed in pencil in caps MATHUSHEK.

It seems odd to me that there is only one site where the serial number is located; and that it is not located on the metal plate.

So, can you now date the piano?
In respect of value, I found a site that listed a Mathushek baby grand at over $10,000.00 (or more, I can't recall exactly) restored. The site also announced its restoration capabilities.

Thank you very much.
All the best,

Hi George:

First off...Mathushek numbers start with four digits at a minimum in 1895.

And you are correct, usually there are numbers on the plate. This might suggest someone either did work on the piano and painted over the numbers, or they are buried in age.

Good for you in getting to the keyslip! And you are sure there isn't more to that number????

Second...If you were my client and wanted to restore that piano, we would have that long, father/son talk.

They are just not worth the input of bucks.

And, people throw the word "restore" around recklessly.

A full, REAL restoration on a grand would start at 27K or more. With all the pianos on the marked that are acoustically superior at less money...why invest there?!

I'll stick to my proverbial guns here and suggest you get an appraisal from a REAL, REGISTERED piano technician.

If you just want a number for the purposes of moving, 7,500.00 is not out of the question for insurance.

Let me know if I can help further!  

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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.

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