Pre 1930's Uprights
The Great Depression basically ended the heyday of the piano industry. Between 1900 and 1930 there were hundreds of thousands of pianos built every year by thousands of makers only a few of which have names recognizeable to the average buyer. Most of these were the same basic design used today with slight differences in materials and scaling. While I wouldn't recommend rebuilding most of these unless there is some sentimental value, most were built to a higher standard and with better raw materials than most pianos built today. We usually have a few of these older uprights for sale. These are pianos that I pick up occasionally when they meet my criteria of being not too worn, in good physical condition and large enough to have a full, resonant tone (generally 48" or taller).
Pianos built before 1930 are exceptional in their craftmanship and the quality of materials used. If they haven't been exposed to extreme environments they can be in quite good condition, especially here in the mild northwest climate - only really needing action work to compensate for wear (hammer filing and regulation) and tuning and voicing. While they may not sound quite as good as when they were new, they can sound better than many newer, cheaply made pianos of questionable design and musicality.
In general, when I prepare these pianos for sale I go through the action and do any necessary repairs, replace the old damper felts with new ones, file the hammers (otherwise known as reshaping the hammers) and regulate or adjust the entire action mechanism to play as efficiently and consistently as possible. I then check the voicing to even out tonal irregularities and tune the piano to A 440 (concert pitch). If I were to do this work on a clients piano in their home it would usually cost about $600 (about 7 hours plus the cost of damper felts).
I normally sell these pianos for $1200 with free local delivery (stairs are extra) and a free tuning after a reasonable acclimation period. I also guarantee these pianos to be problem free for 5 years under normal use in an acceptable environment.