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Q: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: mikeginnyc-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 28 Sep 2004 16:48 PDT
Expires: 28 Oct 2004 16:48 PDT
Question ID: 407673
I'd like to help someone else -- showing off my 'relationship' with
Google and it's wonderful Answers service.

So -- can you give me (and justify) the approximate value of this piano?

STEINWAY Upright Piano
Serial # 244874V
Model D-5786

Manufactured 1926 - so 78 yasrs old

Sold to Juiliard Music Foundation in NYC

then sold to Baldwin Piano in July 1957

Black -- 4 feet high - 5 feet wide

hoping for fast but insightful answer!


Request for Question Clarification by kriswrite-ga on 29 Sep 2004 11:05 PDT
Hi Mike~

Just to be sure, what is the condition like? Has it been restored at
all? Is there any damage? Has it been restrung? Anything that you know
along these lines will help.


Clarification of Question by mikeginnyc-ga on 29 Sep 2004 11:25 PDT
thanks kris. when my doorman comes on duty (it's his piano!)
i'll find out the answer and write back again.
i'm encouraged by your questions ...

Request for Question Clarification by kriswrite-ga on 29 Sep 2004 12:18 PDT
Hi Mike~

I'm glad to be encouraging. I have an answer nearly completed; when
your friend provides information about the condition of the piano, I
will finish it up and post it as an official Answer.

Kind regards,

Clarification of Question by mikeginnyc-ga on 29 Sep 2004 16:23 PDT
okay -- here are the answers!

1) condition?  GOOD!

2) restored?  simply not sure/don't know

3) damage?   none visible, none known

4) ever restrung?   not known at all, 
    but we do think it needs to be "tuned"

staying tuned ....
Subject: Re: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 29 Sep 2004 16:59 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Mike~

The first thing I did was check with Steinway about the piano?s serial
number. (Sometimes information gets passed down about a piano?s age
that turns out to be inaccurate.) 244874 is, indeed, a serial number
from 1926. (To see this for yourself, check out ?Find Out How Old Your
Steinway Is? at )

Now, it?s important to realize that there are several possible values
for any piano. First, there?s the price a dealer would pay for it,
which is around the same value you?d get if you sold the piano
privately. Then there?s the value if you were to *buy* it from a
dealer. If you just want to know for insurance purposes (or your
personal curiosity) what the piano?s worth, the last value may be most
useful. If you want to sell the piano, one of the first two values
will be more useful.

In addition, several factors must be taken into consideration when
attempting to value any piano. The brand name is of great importance;
fortunately for your friend, it doesn?t get much better than Steinway.

The type of piano (upright, spinet, grand, etc.) plays an important
role, also. Some types are worth much more than others. In your case,
it?s important to realize that an upright is worth considerably less
than a grand.

The condition of the piano is the next thing to look at. This is so
important that a good appraisal should include a personal inspection
by a qualified professional. Remember that there?s no such thing as
?good condition for it?s age.? It?s either in good condition, or it?s
not. Consider both the outside appearance of the piano (the finish,
trim, keys, etc.) and the inner workings of the piano. Again, an
expert can assess this easily, but here are a few pointers:

* Is the inside of the piano musty smelling? This is a sign of serious
issues, and means the piano is probably worth very little.

* Do the hammers strike all the strings? 

* Do all the keys play?

* When the bottom board is removed, is there any sign of pests? If so,
the piano is probably not worth anything.

* Are there any cracks, inside or outside, the piano? The piano's
probably not worth anything if there are.

* Is there any rust anywhere? 

For more pointers, please see ?Buying A Used Piano? at Bluebook of

It sounds like the outside of the piano in question is in good to very
good shape. Also, there?s nothing to worry about if it just needs
tuning; however, sometimes what we think of as ?out of tune? may
indicate a more serious problem, so have your friend check inside for
any of the above issues, or for any bumping or thumping noises when
the keys are played.

The National Piano Manufacturers Association says the average lifetime
of a piano, without restoration, is about 40 years. (?Information You
Need Before You Buy,? )

Another key factor is age. Although most pianos are purchased to be
played (and therefore sound quality is of vital interest), pianos that
are pre-WWII are rarely of keen interest to painists, except as a
second piano that?s appreciated for its history and/or beauty.

As Piano World correctly points out ?Unlike say, a Chippendale writing
desk or Tiffany lamp, an old piano is usually just that, an old piano.
While restoring a fine piece of furniture usually involves a craftsman
restoring the finish, this would only be the starting point with a
piano. The piano is a complicated mechanical marvel involving
thousands of moving parts, all of which are subject to wear and
deterioration. Restoring these many parts to their original condition
is a major undertaking for a skilled piano technician, requiring many,
many hours of labor. And even this is sometimes not possible due to
the lack of available replacement parts.? (?What Is My Piano Worth?? )

In old pianos, beauty may play an important role. Check out this
website for some good basic information on ?grading? an antique
piano?s physical appearance: ?Grading Vintage Upright Piano,? at
Bluebook of Pianos:

Also bear in mind that piano values fluctuate according to where you
are in the country, and who happens to be piano shopping at that

All that said, here are a few Steinway uprights that you should look
at; they come from an excellent website, with pianos from all around
the country. Remember that these are *asking prices* :

* a 1926 upright Steinway for $2,900:

* a 1922 for $1,650:

* a1925 for $3,200:

Experts say that you can expect to bargain with sellers for 10-30% off
the asking price, which would make the ?real? prices of these pianos a
bit lower.

For actual selling prices, I've consulted ?The Piano Book? by Larry
Fine, which is considered one of the best sources available for piano
values. (Amazon listing:

A Steinway upright from the 1920s, purchased from an individual,
generally sells for about  $800-1,500, assuming it?s in good to very
good playing and physical condition. That same piano, from a piano
dealer, might sell for about $1,000-2,500.

The fact that it's a former Juiliard piano adds interst, and perhaps
$100 or $200 more to the value. (Of course, if you find a buyer who
feels sentimental about Juiliard, it may increase the value more.)

If it turns out that the piano needs restoration (in other words, it
needs more than just tuning...which is something a good tuner can tell
you), the value will be less, depending upon the problem. Some
problems might be easy to fix (like a broken string), and therefore
take very little off the value. Others might be difficult to fix
because parts aren?t available; this would decrease value
considerably. Assuming the parts *can* be purchased or made somewhere,
you?d discount according to the cost of having that work done. If the
parts absolutely can?t be had or made, the piano may be worth only a
couple hundred dollars.  And other problems (like cracks or mold and
mildew) make the piano virtually worthless.

I hope this answers your question more than sufficiently. However, if
you have any questions, please don?t hesitate to ask for clarification
before rating this Answer.


antique Steinway upright value
antique piano values
buying antique piano
mikeginnyc-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
really and truly -- another excellent, thorough, thoughtful answer via Google.
You took the initiative to CHECK with Steinway.  You took the
initiative to request clarifications  In readint the result, at first
I was afraid, because the "perspective" was so rich, that you wouldn't
give me approximate/relevant prics ... but you did.  you gave me
everything and promptly too.  I'm totally, totally satisfied and
appreciative.  thanks! mike

Subject: Re: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
From: kriswrite-ga on 29 Sep 2004 17:54 PDT
Mike, thank you for the excellent rating, and the tip! I appreciate both :)

Subject: Re: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
From: cryptica-ga on 29 Sep 2004 18:58 PDT
Mikeginnyc --

kriswrite helped on one of MY questions today, so i'd like to help out a little
on this one in return.

A friend of mine here in Manhattan has been trying to sell her pre-war
Steinway concert Grand for the past year and was not having much luck
with the dealers here in NY.  Steinway itself (where she bought it!)
offered the least money of all.   So she finally placed an ad on PIANO
MART  (, whic kriswrite has already written about
above -- and
got a LOT of nibbles --including one from someone in the midwest.  So, that might
be something for your doorman to look into.

When * I * wanted sell my Hardman console last year, I w as told
repeatedly, "A piano is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it."
 Now, I would assume a Steinway upright would have more takers than my
Hardman -- but you just never know.  Especially with this economy.
So, here's another suggestion if  things don't look so hot for selling
the Steinway.

I finally donated my piano to the non-profit service run by the
Department of Cultural Affairs of New York City, called MATERIAL FOR

They take everything -- from computer equipment, to boxes of buttons,
to you name it -- and it all goes to a giant warehouse, where
non-profit arts groups can come and get for free anything that they
need for their creative projects.  There is a long waiting list of
groups that want pianos.

I gave mine to a small theater group that performs at fire houses and
police stations and
for families who lost loved ones in the September 11th attack.   

If your doorman goes this route, he tells Material for the Arts what
he feels the piano is worth -- they'll take his word for it -- and
they'll  send hime an official letter which he can use when it's time
to do his taxes.    They don't ask you to get it appraised or
anything.  My piano tuner gave me a ball park figure of value and that
was that.
Subject: Re: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
From: mikeginnyc-ga on 30 Sep 2004 02:18 PDT
to Cryptica(ga) --  THANK YOU.  I'll be so delighted to pass your note
on to my doorman too!  And i love the spirit of you folks helping each

Listen, Cryptica -- and Kriswrite, too -- if I can ever take one or
both of you to lunch some day here in Manhattan, I'd love to.  Google
need NEVER, EVER fear that I'll be getting into the research business!
 I'm a low-tech English Lit Major Speechwriter and other
writer/creative director with Macintosh computers.

But I'm an interviewer (wrote a book about AIDS back in 19EIGHTY5,
series of interviews) and naturally inquisitive/interested, and love
how technology is changing our lives (wrote articles for The Futurist
magazine years ago.)

anyway - the offer is sincere ... lunch on me, whenever, but you'd
have to be willing to chat with me about technology and Life and

at any rate ... even without that .. THANK YOU for the added comment
to what was already a splendid response.

Best wishes to both/all of you.

Subject: Re: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
From: cryptica-ga on 01 Oct 2004 15:53 PDT
What a nice message, Mike!
I agree with you that the generosity of spirt on Google Answers sets
it apart from anything else on the web.
Just to clarify something, though.  I'm not an official researcher.
KRISWRITE is -- 'cause her name is in bright blue.  That's how you can tell.
The rest of us are "Commenters!" (but ASPIRE to be researchers!)
Subject: Re: can you give me a decent estimate on the worth of this piano?
From: kriswrite-ga on 01 Oct 2004 19:04 PDT
Why thanks to both of you :)  Mike, I lived in NYC for a few years,
when I was younger, but now I'm nowhere near.


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