Estate sales are fun places to stumble upon unique and even rare objects. Recently I purchased a Vose & Sons piano from an estate in St. Louis that was no ordinary piano.
For starters, Vose & Sons built truly exceptional pianos. The company was established in 1851 by James Whiting Vose in Boston, which, in the 19th Century, was home to a large population of Old World craftsmen who had immigrated to the United States. These craftsmen possessed supreme skill in piano building and talent in woodworking. Vose knew this and was able to put together a piano-building workforce like no other.
Consequently, Vose & Sons is consistently one of the finest pianos we see come through our restoration shop today. But that’s not the only thing that caught my eye at the estate sale.
In the early 20th century, St. Louis experienced a huge Arts & Crafts / Mission-style movement. The piano I had stumbled upon, created in 1909, is not only rare, but distinct in its design. In fact, it’s an early rendition of the later models that were developed from it. The instrument’s simplistic design accentuates the stunning quarter-sewn oak wood grain. There is no doubt, I fell head over heels for this beauty.
During its restoration, the Antique Piano Shop team worked diligently from the inside out to transform the piano into the rare instrument that it once was. After working on the piece, I admit I became even more attached. But, like any true preservationist and historian, I know that historic objects tell a story. When an object can tell its story in an environment that is reflective of their history, well, nothing beats that. So, in the end, I decided I must part with the Vose and put it up for sale.
Did I mention that it is one of the only Craftsman-style pianos offered by the Vose & Sons Piano Company? As you might be able to tell, the decision to sell it was not an easy one.
However difficult that decision was, when Jay Poole, a St. Louis native, purchased it, I knew that this piano could not be in better hands. St. Louis continues to be a hotspot for Art & Crafts Mission style furniture today, and many natives prefer this style to any others for their home.
In fact, Jay Poole is one of the biggest supporters of this style. He found Antique Piano Shop during his search for the perfect addition to his home, which happened to be the 1909 Mission Art & Crafts Style Vose & Sons Upright piano.
“I have been a collector of Arts & Crafts furniture, pottery and objects d’arte for many years,” says Poole. “The style blends simplicity with that unique beauty that comes from the careful use of quality natural materials. The Vose & Sons piano has been a appropriate addition to my home.”
We are thrilled that Mr. Poole has reunited this piano with its home city. Like people who travel away from their homes and return all the wiser for it, so too, this piano returning to its home city is all the better for having visited Friendsville, Tenn. No need to travel the world or head to any place fancy. In Friendsville, where Antique Piano Shop operates, the Vose has been fully restored inside and out and will once again be appreciated in its home where it has always belonged.
But I sure did enjoy it while it was mine.
Michael Stinnett, Founder, Antique Piano Shop