If Pianos Could Talk…

Actually, they can! Well–sort of.

Whenever I do a restoration, or even a simple tuning, I’m always intrigued to see what may turn up hidden within the depths of the innards of each piano. Every little fragment, no matter how small, gives another clue to the story surrounding the instrument.

I was extraordinarily fortunate to recover a great deal of interesting artifacts from the 1924 Haines Brothers’ that I recently restored. The main article featuring the process of restoration can be found here, just in case you missed it: https://anamazingmachine.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/an-even-more-amazing-machine-the-great-player-piano-restoration/

And now a showcasing of the interesting bits found within the dust and muck that was the inner keybed:


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1921. San Francisco Mint


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1925. San Francisco Mint


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1938 Philadelphia Mint


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1942. Denver Mint


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1944. Philadelphia Mint


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1944. San Francisco Mint


Lincoln-head wheat penny. 1950. Denver Mint


Mercury-head dime. 1943. Philadelphia Mint


Roosevelt dime. 1970. Denver Mint


Canadian Dime 1989

Magic Mysto Magic coin. Circa WWII era.

Colorado Sales Tax Token. Used from 1935 to 1945. Plastic coins like this one were used instead of aluminum during WWII

A lonely broken off ring leader from the end of a music roll made by the US Music Co.

At first, I thought this was a piece of a bottle. I now know that this is part of a broken end flange on a piano roll made by the QRS Corporation.

About 30 of these sulfur head matches were scatted around the bottom of the keybed. I kept one.

I always had difficulty losing my marbles under the piano…never IN the piano.

Finally: these three stamps. As far as I can figure, they may have belonged to some sort of “book of the month” club at some point. We may never know…

What are these things worth? Not much. What do they tell us about the piano? We can infer from these items a great many things, with a bit of imagination. Judging from the Colorado Sales Tax token, we can infer that this piano has been in Colorado since at least the 1940’s –which makes sense, seeing as how it’s the same place from which I found the piano. It also told me (thankfully) that the piano has likely never been completely opened during its life, apart from normal tunings, since none of this stuff was found or removed. As for the rest: we can only guess…


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