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Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
#1835936 01/31/12 08:19 PM
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Seth S. Offline OP
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Hello.

I am a bookseller in the San Francisco Bay area, and an elderly client with a large book collection that we are handling asked me to assist in the sale of her piano (as a favor so to speak). Alas, I have no knowledge whatsoever of pianos.

The piano is a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano, serial # 9178. I have a fair amount of correspondence concerning the piano (dated 1960's), including comments on a reinforced frame to handle an extra 2000 pounds of pressure due to 3 strings in the extreme trebble.

I am looking for suggestions on how to value / sell this piano: how to find shops / brokers that might be interested, perhaps posting on Craigslist (or this site), etc. From perusing these forums and talking to a couple of local piano brokers, I understand that square grands may be of far less interest than standard grand pianos and that Decker Brothers is not Steinway as far as appeal; my knowledge is extremely limited after that.

The client has provided me a number of photographs, I'd be glad to pass them along to anyone.

ANY suggestions would be appreciated. Personally, I'd love to help the client find a buyer (such as a dealer) with minimal involvement from me, since it's extremely difficult logistically to handle this as the client and piano are located 90 miles away from here.

THANK YOU to anyone who responds with helpful advice.

Regards,

Seth S.

Re: Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
Seth S. #1835944 01/31/12 08:28 PM
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From what I've read, square pianos generally have no value in the market today. Part of this stems from inferior performance compared to modern upright and grand pianos, difficulty of finding repair parts, and scarcity of technicians who will even work on them at all. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...

Perhaps someone with specific experience with this brand or model will see this and chime in with more useful and relevant information than I can provide.


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Re: Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
Seth S. #1835952 01/31/12 08:38 PM
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My suggestion would be to politely decline the sellers generous offer to turn you into a middle man. The market for this piano is extremely limited - and donating to a museum or tourist attraction may be the best option.



Re: Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
Seth S. #1836478 02/01/12 01:19 PM
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Seth S. Offline OP
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Thank you for the comments; upon calling a few local piano dealers, I heard pretty much the same story.

On the other hand, Michael Stinnett, of The Antique Piano Shop, Inc. (there is a thread on this forum about his business) suggested this is a very valuable piano ($25,000 - $35,000) with INCREASING demand of late -- that is, if it is restored, which his company will do for $13,000. I very much doubt my client will want to go that route but perhaps the right buyer can be found on Craigslist or eBay for 10% of that amount, which is much better than nothing.

Hopefully I can get myself out of the picture and hopefully she will get *something* for the piano, albeit much, much less than she hoped.

(She did note she had listed this on eBay for quite a bit of money some years back with many inquiries but no sale.)

Seth

Re: Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
Seth S. #1836494 02/01/12 01:43 PM
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She should offer to sell it to Michael Stinnett for $2000. That will provide him a profit of $10,000 plus the profit on the rebuild. If he is honest, he will take it. If he does not take it, you will know the value of his estimate.


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Re: Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
Seth S. #1836506 02/01/12 02:18 PM
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This thread reminds me of the TV show "Antiques Road Show". It is always interesting to hear the experts estimate of what an item "might" sell for at auction. I wonder how often the owner of the item can actually sell the item for even close to the estimate.

The world of antiques is a strange and unusual world.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice on selling a Decker Brothers Square Grand Piano
Seth S. #1836510 02/01/12 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Seth S.
On the other hand, Michael Stinnett, of The Antique Piano Shop, Inc. (there is a thread on this forum about his business) suggested this is a very valuable piano ($25,000 - $35,000) with INCREASING demand of late -- that is, if it is restored, which his company will do for $13,000. I very much doubt my client will want to go that route but perhaps the right buyer can be found on Craigslist or eBay for 10% of that amount, which is much better than nothing.

Sometimes some squares have value to some buyers if the instrument has some particular historic value beyond its aesthetic and/or musical value. Such a buyer would only want the instrument if it were in its original condition; they would not want it “restored” unless it was a carefully done, fully documented, historically accurate restoration.

Send a private message with your contact information to my email address shown below and I will try to put you in touch with a person who actually deals with historic instruments and who will be able to give you current and honest information on the state of that market segment.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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