- Category: Ragtime Collecting
- Written by Jim Dee
Mr. Ralph W. VanGennip, who lives in the St. Louis area, was kind enough to send me pictures of an actual T. Bahnsen piano. What a gorgeous instrument! He bought it 25 years ago, he said, primarily because it was so beautiful. There can't be too many of these around anymore.For the longest time, Bethena (published by Bahnsen) was a "holy grail" piece in our Joplin collection, as most of the sheets he published through smaller houses (or, in this case, a piano manufacturer) are extremely rare. Someone should record Bethena, Binks, and Sarah Dear (all published by Bahnsen) on a piano like this. Thanks again, Ralph, for sharing these images!
I should also add that Ralph agreed to donate this piano to the Scott Joplin Historical site in St. Louis. Many people deserve thanks for making this happen, including most notably Ralph (of course) and Perfessor Bill Edwards. Others, I understand, donated assistance with moving the piece to its new home. Someday, in return for the small role I played in this, I hope someone will let me sit and play Bethena during a visit. Okay, here are the pics:
WOW... Since publishing these pictures, another person has contacted me with pictures of another Bahnsen piano! This one, as of December 2007, is sitting in a thrift store somewhere (not sure where, yet), for a steal:
Note the different logo on the fallboard as compared with the other Bahnsen, above.
Note that this one appears to be a player piano.
The number stamped there is 1234 (possibly 1284). The one pictured atop this page is stamped 1534. Note also that this one also has "St. Louis" cast into the plate.