Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/Estey & Co. Organ

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Estey 1
Estey 1  

Estay Organ Tuner
Estay Organ Tuner  
Hello,
I have a friend who has this old organ in their attic that came out of their local church may years ago that they have had in store all these years. As you can imagine the organ no doubt needs (or would need)restoration as the bellows are probably rotted now and the keys are yellowed and stained as well - from what appears to be mice droppings and such. This organ has been kept dry though in storage and my friend was wondering if this has any value to anyone - be it a collector or such of thee old organs?

Here are just 2 pics I was able to grab quickly.

Answer
Hello Michael!  A pump organ's value nowadays is based on any features the instrument may have that generates a particular interest.  For instance, I have a friend who owns a pump organ with two keyboards.  One keyboard plays the reed organ and the other plays a complete set of sterling silver bells.  Obviously, if the organ was to ever come up for sale, who knows where the bidding war would end.  Unfortunately, most pump organs harbor little or no peculiar points of interest.  Therefore, the sale of such organs which probably number into the 10's of thousands are near worthless because there is simply no demand for them either as a viable instrument or as an object of interest.  Really beautiful instruments come up for sale all the time and are in very nice condition.  Unfortunately, they rarely find a new home.  So, instruments such as the one you sent me a picture of will probably have no value as is.  If mice have had their way with it, I suspect the insides of the organ have been ruined.  The reason for this is  because of the use of hide glue throughout the organ.  Mice love hide glue (and moths love the felt).  

Having said this, these organs do have some intrinsic value in the brass reeds.  As you can imagine, the reeds are no longer being made and anyone wanting to restore or repair an existing reed organ must find parts from "parts" organs. Pulling the reeds and carefully storing them away can fetch much more money than the organ itself, to say nothing of the brass being sold at a salvage center for whatever solid brass is going for.

Just as a point of interest, most pump organ keys were covered with celluloid.  This was an inexpensive alternative to the very expensive ivory.  The original intention of celluloid was to produce billiard balls.  Once the material proved itself, piano and organ manufactures began using it as key covers.  When heated, it produces a strong odor of camphor and if heated a little too much will burst into flames.  Repairing keyboards with celluloid requires replacement with modern day plastic covers since matching the original material is nearly impossible.  

Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

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Thomas Britanyak

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I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics. If you need a piano's date of manufacture, please go to http://www.pianoexchange.com/howold.htm or http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.html I am happy to answer musical or technical questions, however, I CANNOT offer appraisals on pianos or organs. Please do not ask what an instrument is worth. For this service please contact an experienced local appraiser or try the following links: https://mmm1100.verio-web.com/blueb1/appraisal.html or http://www.57piano.com/questions.htm

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I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics.

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I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics.

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