The Estey Organ Museum does not provide appraisals of Estey instruments or related products. We suggest that you look at our Organ Classifieds page or on-line auction sites to determine the value of your item.
In addition, the Reed Organ Society website provides guidelines for determining the value of reed organs.
At this time, the Estey Organ Museum does not repair reed, pipe, or electronic organs. There are several reputable organ restorers in New England and throughout the country. The Reed Organ Society has member throughout the United States who specialize in this work. Contact the Estey Organ Museum for additional information.
You might find this 1886 Care and Adjustment of Estey Organs booklet useful as a reference.
Determining the Age of Estey Reed Organs
Determining the age of an Estey reed organ starts with identifying its serial number. Serial numbers are generally found on a paper label on the back of the instrument.
Each Estey reed organ was numbered as it was shipped out. By the time the company closed in the late 1950’s they had built over 521,000 reed organs.
Some serial number dates are known for certain:
- No. 8,700 was shipped in May 1864
- No. 100,000 was built in 1880
- No. 250,000 in 1892
- No. 350,000 in 1905
- No. 500,000 in 1951
The exception was the Estey Virtuoso Organ. These organs were given special serial numbers. A few organs have been identified with lower serial numbers than dates of manufacture, perhaps indicating that they were not made consecutively.
Finding the Serial Number
Finding the serial number on Estey reed organs can be challenging. Ned Phoenix, an expert in reed organ restoration, has provided a guide for locating serial numbers on Estey reed organs and melodeons.
Occasionally the serial number on an older instrument is impossible to locate. If you are trying to determine the age of an organ with no serial number, please feel free to contact the museum for assistance. Make sure to include a photo of the organ.
Determining the Date of Manufacture
Once you have identified the serial number, you can use the Gellerman chart on the Reed Organ Society website to approximate the date of manufacture. This is just an estimate, but it will give you a good idea of when your Estey was built. Contact a professional appraiser if accuracy is essential.
Viewing the Gellerman Chart
R.F. Gellerman published a chart of Estey serial numbers in the Reed Organ Atlas. Click here to view the chart.
Browsing Estey Catalogs
Another way of estimating the date of your reed organ and determining its style is to browse the many catalogs of the Estey Organ Company on the Internet Archive. Click here to learn about our catalog collection.
Estey Pipe Organ Records
Pipe organs took longer to build than reed organs and created a greater amount of paperwork. Most of these records were destroyed when the company closed in 1960. However, Shop Orders exist for about 2/3 of the organs, as do correspondence files for most Estey pipe organs.
Click here to see a list of Estey pipe organs by opus number. This list was compiled by E.A. Boadway and provided by the Organ Historical Society.
In June 2023, Estey Organ Company pipe organ records were transferred to the Library and Archives of the Organ Historical Society in Villanova, Pennsylvania. All research inquiries regarding the Estey Collection may be directed to email@example.com or via phone at (484) 488-PIPE (7473).
For more information about the Organ Historical Society, visit their website at https://organhistoricalsociety.org