- Serial number
Sterling pianos were manufactured from 1866 to 1960 in Derby, Conn. Nearly a century of craftsmanship can be found in this line of mainly upright pianos made from iron and carefully selected spruce. One Victorian-style upright piano may look much like any other, however, if you don't know what to look for. Fortunately there are clues to look for, and places to check on the age of the piano.
Examine the Sterling piano. Find the serial number pressed into it and write down the numbers. The serial number should be stamped into one of the iron components, but look everywhere for any maker's marks.
Compare the serial number on the piano with the chart provided by Blue Book of Pianos in References. This helpful chart will give you the serial numbers of Sterling pianos back to 1934, which will help identify many of the Sterling pianos in question.
Contact the Derby Historical Society and ask for help identifying your Sterling piano. This group doesn't offer to place a monetary value on your piano. However, a simple email with your request and some photographs of the piano in question from different angles should be enough to get an answer from a group that specializes in knowledge of these pianos.
Ask other sources with knowledge about old instruments. An antique piano dealer or a local shop that deals in old instruments may be of help. The same goes for local historians and museum employees who specialize in the time period, or have an interest in pianos.