Do you know what a ‘stencil piano’ is?

This week at Britannia Piano Auctions the topic of ‘stencil pianos’ came up fairly often in various conversations, we wondered how many of our auction goers and followers know what a stencil piano is ? And if they truly understand what it is all about.

Well if you didn’t you will after reading this!

For decades many piano manufactures have designed and made pianos that are of inferior quality. These instruments were designed to be sold to traders and retailers and would have a variety of names ‘stencilled’ on the front of the piano.

A typical example of this is the ‘Archer family’ who own a local piano shop. They would purchase a number of stencil pianos for their showroom floor that would display ‘Archer‘  on the fall board as the name of the instrument. The word ‘Archer’ thus being the stencil.

Another classic example of stencil pianos is when manufactures produce a cheap end piano that has a German sounding name, or a name that sounds like one of the top established makers, for instance;

Steinwell        (sounds like Steinway)

Bachstein       ( sounds like Bechstein)

Arard               ( sounds like Erard )

Schiedmayar ( sounds like Schiedmayer & Soehne)


Examples of Stencils that could be purchased in many different fonts and presentations


Similarly the use of German sounding words, for example the blatant use of famous composers names, and even stencils that sounded like the names of famous composers have all been well-known styles of stenciling.

In some cases the names derived from obsolete piano companies of yesteryear that still ‘grab the attention’ and interest of the buying marketplace.

Interestingly many stencil pianos are made in Indonesia or Mainland China. And many buyers are deceived into believing that these pianos are produced in famous geographical location that are recognized for their production of quality instruments, most notably Germany.

It does have to be pointed out that stencil pianos are not always poor in their quality, but they are generally made of cheaper material and are less impressive that the pianos that bear the true factory name.


0161 977 0075

The UK’s Central Piano Auction House


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