Instrument Value
Instrument Value

"To successfully sell your antique instrument, you should become an educated seller."

We often have clients approach us asking if we buy antique pianos and organs, or if we know the best place to list their antique instrument for sale. This portion of our website is designed to help give you guidance about what you have, what it may be worth, and suggestions about selling & marketing.

 

What does "restored" really mean?

There is often confusion to what constitutes a fully restored piano or organ. More often than not, instruments that have been cleaned and serviced are perceived by their owners as having been "completely restored" when in reality the instruments are far from restored condition.

The term "restored" refers to professional internal and professional external restoration and rebuilding, not just cabinet refinishing and internal cleaning, etc. Many people think that because grandma refinished their piano or organ in the garage 10 years ago that the instrument is "restored" and worth a fortune - not true. In fact, a non-professional refinishing job will usually reduce the value of an instrument, much like a poor quality paint job on an automobile. Like the antique automobile, piano/organ restoration includes professional rebuilding of the internal mechanisms as well as the cosmetics and finish.


Restored Value vs. Unrestored Value

Pianos and organs are not like most antique furniture. They are functional and complex pieces of machinery like vintage automobiles. When an antique piano or organ is in original, unrestored condition and is not able to function perfectly, it tends to sell for only a fraction of its potential value.

Daddy, How Does It Play By Itself?

Restoration is not cheap, but it is necessary to make any instrument worth top dollar. If your instrument was an antique automobile sitting on blocks, full of rust and ruining due to neglect, you wouldn't expect it to fetch a very high price.

If you invested in having the automobile restored to make it a show car, you could then expect it to sell for a tidy sum - likely at a nice profit after your investment. Pianos and organs are the same way. Restored instruments sell for high dollars - original, unrestored instruments simply do not. 

Over the past two decades, we have seen the value of antique pianos and organs nearly double across the board. Much of the credit goes to education - folks are now able to go to the internet and learn about what they have, often encouraged to invest and preserve their instruments. The best way to get a general sense of what instruments are worth (after restoration) is by comparing them against what similar instruments are selling for in the real market. It may be helpful if you go to our online showroom. Here you can see what different types and styles of instruments have been selling for over the past few years.

 

Instrument values

Pictured here are a few examples of antique pianos and organs that were popular during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Each photograph represents a particular era and style, and is labeled with some very general value information. By comparing these photographs to your instrument, you may be able to get a better idea about the general value of your instrument in poor, average and restored condition. 

In creating this website, we realize that there will be some bias toward encouraging folks to invest in restoration and preservation - after all, that is the business we are in. That being said, the following information is based on 20 years of experience in this business and it reflects what we see happening in the real market today. This information is meant to help educate, and it isn't meant to insult or offend anyone who has a differing opinion about the value of thier heirloom instrument.

Antique pianos and organs can be valued anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. It is important that sellers realize the real value difference between a restored instrument and an unrestored instrument. Sadly, we see original, unrestored antique instruments selling for only a fraction of their potential restored value. Although we do not offer official appraisals, we have provided some information here to help you understand the current and potential value of your instrument a bit better.

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Upright Piano
Circa 1860 - 1880
Today's Value

$400 - $800 in poor condition
$1,000 - $4,000 in average to good condition
$13,000 - $20,000 totally restored to factory new condition

Upright Piano
Circa 1880 - 1900
Today's Value

$200 - $600 in poor condition
$800 - $3,000 in average to good condition
$12,000 - $16,000 totally restored to factory new condition

Upright Piano
Circa 1900 - 1915
Today's Value

$100 - $400 in poor condition
$600 - $2,500 in average to good condition
$10,000 - $14,000 totally restored to factory-new condition

Upright Piano
Circa 1915 - 1930
Today's Value

$100 - $300 in poor condition
$500 - $2,000 in average to good condition
$9,000 - $13,000 totally restored to factory new condition

Player Piano
Circa 1905 - 1930
Today's Value

$500 - $1,000 in poor condition
$2,000 - $3,000 in good, non-functional condition
$3,500 - $6,500 in functional condition
$15,000 - $20,000 in restored, like new condition

Grand Piano
Circa 1860 - 1880
Today's Value

$1,500 - $3,500 in poor condition
$4,000 - $8,000 in average to good original condition
$25,000 - $65,000 totally restored to like-new condition

Grand Piano
Circa 1880 - 1900
Today's Value

$1,000 - $3,000 in poor condition
$3,500 - $6,500 in average to good original condition
$20,000 - $50,000 totally restored to like-new condition

Grand Piano
Circa 1900 - 1915
Today's Value

$500 - $1,500 in poor condition
$2,500 - $5,500 in average to good condition
$15,000 - $30,000 totally restored to factory new condition

Grand & Baby Grand Pianos
Circa 1915 - 1935
Today's Value

$500 - $1,000 in poor condition
$1,500 - $5,000 in average to good original condition
$13,000 - $20,000 totally restored to like-new condition

Square Grand Piano
Circa 1840 - 1890
Today's Value

$1,000 - $2,500 in poor condition
$3,500 - $6,500 in average to good condition
$25,000 - $50,000 totally restored to factory new condition

Victorian Pump Organ
Circa 1865 - 1915
Today's Value

$1,000 - $1,500 in poor condition
$2,500 - $4,500 in average to good condition,
$6,500 - $10,000 totally restored to factory new condition

Melodeon
Circa 1840 - 1875
Today's Value

$800 - $1,500 in poor condition
$2,000 - $4,000 in average to good condition
$6,500 - $8,500 totally restored to factory new condition

Spinet Piano
Circa 1935 - 1965
Today's Value

Pianos built after about 1935 are generally newer than the instruments we specialize in. We suggest you contact your local piano tuner for value information about them.