Bechstein pianos are built to last. Each of them is cherished, belongs to a family and is handed down from one generation to the next. Nonetheless, its personal history may get lost. Some instruments have entertained prominent figures, stood in palaces or even belonged to famous musicians; others have traveled the world or even survived wars unscathed. Thanks to their top-quality design and materials, Bechstein grand pianos are virtually indestructible.
All the instruments we produce have their own identity: the “large serial number” usually inscribed on the cast-iron frame and recorded in our production books along with the date of delivery and the name of the first owner. Apart from a few missing pages that were destroyed during the war, this tradition can be traced back to 1853. Upon request, we can send you your piano’s archive data, but bear in mind that we are unable to accept any liability for such archival information.
Where can I find the serial number?
The black figures of the serial number are usually visible on the cast iron frame, next to the tuning pins. In early C. Bechstein instruments, however, big figures are printed on the soundboard, next to the brand’s logo, sometimes concealed behind the strings or dampers.
In older pianos, the serial number might be located on the inner face of the case, next to the action assembly.
If you’re unable to locate the serial number or if the authenticity of the number you find is questionable, the genuine serial number may have been removed or falsified by a previous owner. If your doubts regarding the authenticity or completeness of the number prove founded, there is no way to determine the year the piano was manufactured. In this instance, your only option is to have an expert estimate the instrument’s age.
Unfortunately, any other numbers on the back of the soundboard or other points on the instrument will not shed any light on the year of manufacture as they are merely internal production numbers and will not have been recorded. Photographs will not be of any help, either.
Determining your instrument’s age
If you know the serial number and just want to know the age of your C. Bechstein, W.Hoffmann or Zimmermann piano, simply click on one of the links below.