Lester Piano Value Appraisal
How Much for Lester Betsy Ross Spinet Piano or Baby Grand?

The Lester Piano Company was established in 1888 in Lester, Pennsylvania. It was a key player during the American Golden Age of piano production.


Rebuilding Lester Vintage Piano Picture Demonstration

Lester Company History

The company acquired several name brands like Leonard, Schubert, Bellaire, Alden, Channing, Gounod, Lawrence and Betsy Ross.

The Golden Age of Piano in the United States was from the last quarter of the 19th century up until the early 1930s. The period was the time when home entertainment mostly depended on playing the piano or singing accompanied by a piano.

Lester grand piano had little competition in home entertainment. It was not surprising that there was a convergence of fine piano craftsmen, the right materials and an eager market at this time.

Lester pianos have the distinction of being quality instruments but when compared with the leading American piano makers of that time, did not quite paled in comparison. Its most popular model was aptly named Lester Betsy Ross spinet piano. This small Lester upright piano “saved the day” for Lester Company during the Great Depression in America in the 1930s.

Eventually, the company closed shop in 1960.

Lester Pianos Value & Build Quality

lester-piano-spinet

It has been said that the sound produced by a Lester is “sweet” and full-toned. There is not tin-like sound even in the high register. At its height, more homes, schools, conservatories, concert halls and auditoriums preferred a Lester baby grand piano.

The piano company adhered to its mission of “one name… one quality…one price”. This meant that each and every acoustic Lester piano was built to sustain equal musicality and that the difference in price will only depend on the casing and framing used.

The scale of Lester grand pianos is well-balanced. The bass strings are in synch with the treble giving out a balanced, full, deep and musical tone. The action is light and responsive yet strong enough to withstand years of key “pounding”.

Lester takes pride in claiming that it takes at least 6 months to build a piano. Wood used take several seasons to dry which is good thing as the drying of the wood is not forced. It was usual back in those days to order a custom-made piano to match a buyer's needs.

Lester Piano Models Circa 1901

Lester Upright Piano

  • New Style T - This ornate piano has a full metal frame, 7 1/3 octaves, overstrung bass that has three strings and a silver grained maple that cannot split for a tuning pin block. Where most acoustic pianos have two pedals, this style has 3- soft, loud and sostenuto.
  • New Style S - Basically has the same component as the Lester T, but its casing and ornamentation differ. Upright Lester pianos held true to its promise of the same quality and sound for each piano. The company has hundreds of designs for a piano's casing so as not to “mass” produce a particular style.

Some of the styles for Lester upright pianos are: New Style R; New Style C; New Style B. The model that saved the Company from bankruptcy in the 1930s was the Lester piano Betsy Ross spinet. Originally it was a Lester spinet piano, but later developed into a complete line of spinets and consoles that are customizable.

Lester Grand Piano

  • Louis XV - is a 5 feet 4 inches baby grand, scalloped and made of burled walnut. This vintage Lester baby grand piano is circa 1920s and the appraisal value is around $27,000- rebuilt and refinished.
  • Lester Victorian - is another antique baby grand measuring 5 feet and 3 inches. Its casing is of mahogany satin with a deep undertone. Pegged at $20,000, this circa 1930s is a real treasure.
  • Lester Mahogany- is also an old baby grand measuring 5 feet and 4 inches. It is a 1922 model, made of mahogany and fully restored. You can find this used Lester piano for sale with great value at about $15,000.

It is a great loss that Lester folded after 70 years of great piano-making history.

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Updated October 3, 2010
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