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Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845099
02/15/12 08:40 AM
02/15/12 08:40 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
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Bob Newbie Offline
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Exactly CC2! the value is in the name.. and after its rebuilt you still have a wonderful instrument at far less cost of a new Steinway..

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Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: CC2 and Chopin lover] #1845206
02/15/12 11:12 AM
02/15/12 11:12 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Supply Offline OP
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Supply  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
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Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by CC2 and Chopin lover
The fact still remains, Bob, that someone is willing to pay $7000.00 for that "shell", (that cost $500.00 in perfect working order in 1915)...
In 1915, that piano cost maybe one quarter of what it cost to buy a house, or two yearly incomes for a workman. That hardly equates to $7000 today.

For me the kicker is the 20 - 30 year time period and the 3 to 4 times the original purchase price quoted by the president of Steinway. How much did a Steinway cost in 1990? I am not sure, but let's say an L would have set you back $40,000. Where is that piano selling for $120,000 or more today, restored or not?

Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845274
02/15/12 12:50 PM
02/15/12 12:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,983
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CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Quote
In 1915, that piano cost maybe one quarter of what it cost to buy a house, or two yearly incomes for a workman. That hardly equates to $7000 today.


A couple of thoughts here. First, I doubt that back then, a person making $1000.00 per year was buying a $500.00 piano. It was probably a much more affluent person, and so, the effect of inflation was inconsequential to such a person. Secondly, there is still no consideration being made for the fact that, at the time of resale, the piano in my scenario is essentially a worn out piece of junk that needs to be completely rebuilt, yet fetches the $7000.00, after 97 years of use, and brings additional profit to the rebuilder of thousands of dollars.....a good investment for all.


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845288
02/15/12 01:16 PM
02/15/12 01:16 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,986
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
Well, yes, people making $1000 a year in 1915 would buy a $500 piano. They would buy it on credit, make a few payments, and then move, leaving the piano behind. It would cost too much for the dealer to repossess it, so it became part of the furniture in the apartment.

Today, many things get financed by bankruptcy in a very similar manner. You buy some cheap land on the edge of nowhere, put up a sample house and sell the rights to buy similar houses in the development, and maybe build the houses and declare bankruptcy so you will not be responsible for anything that goes wrong because you built the houses on the cheap, or you just declare bankruptcy without building the houses if the economy gets bad. That happens all the time.


Semipro Tech
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Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845295
02/15/12 01:30 PM
02/15/12 01:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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I finally watched the video. The president makes no claim about vintage instruments. He does make the claim that a Steinway instrument purchased 20-30 years ago will have increase in value and therefore makes a good investment. This is sales speak only, not truth to the current marketplace. That is what this discussion is about.

Of course a piano built 100 years ago will have increased value for the raw materials or frame. But this can be said about a lot of other items too.

Antique furniture would be a source. So would stamp collecting. Vintage cars another. So this argument about vintage costing more than the original build cost can be found in a variety of places.

But the president makes no reference to anything vintage.


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845303
02/15/12 01:37 PM
02/15/12 01:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,945
Northern VA, U.S.
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I wish I had invested in Whirligig in the second race at Epsom yesterday.


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Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845343
02/15/12 02:31 PM
02/15/12 02:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,983
C
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,983
Dan,
I did not watch the video, nor were my comments meant to in any way bolster the Steinway Corporation's arguments about the value of recently manufactured instruments. My points were more globally referencing the fact that Steinway pianos, as well as numerous other items you mention, can be good investments in a general sense, when the scenario I described exists


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845351
02/15/12 02:39 PM
02/15/12 02:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,983
C
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member
CC2 and Chopin lover  Offline
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C

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,983
Quote
Well, yes, people making $1000 a year in 1915 would buy a $500 piano. They would buy it on credit, make a few payments, and then move, leaving the piano behind. It would cost too much for the dealer to repossess it, so it became part of the furniture in the apartment.


BDB, I know your stock in trade here is to be argumentative at any cost, but this comment is inane even by your standards.


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845374
02/15/12 03:26 PM
02/15/12 03:26 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,986
Oakland
B
BDB Offline
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Oakland
I cannot remember where I read that, but that was definitely the way many pianos were sold then. Things like that are done even today. It is not much different from buying clothes, wearing them once, and then returning them.


Semipro Tech
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845532
02/15/12 06:46 PM
02/15/12 06:46 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,555
B
Bob Newbie Offline
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Ford Mustangs sold for about 3,000 in 1964....but here we are folks
brand new "shells for 15,000 direct from Ford, for you Mustang fans!
this is what popularity of a "name" brings

http://blogs.automotive.com/ford-re...rtible-shells-for-restoration-63053.html

Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: BDB] #1845611
02/15/12 08:21 PM
02/15/12 08:21 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,983
C
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Quote
I cannot remember where I read that, but that was definitely the way many pianos were sold then. Things like that are done even today. It is not much different from buying clothes, wearing them once, and then returning them


What bank back then would lend someone 50% of their yearly income to purchase something that had nothing to do with clothing, feeding or sheltering them, ESPECIALLY if the trend was to walk out on it and leave it for someone else, who wasn't any more likely to pay for it?


Piano Technician/Tuner
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845621
02/15/12 08:28 PM
02/15/12 08:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,986
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Banks did not finance the sale. The dealers did. The mark-ups must have been quite substantial.
It was a different world back then.


Semipro Tech
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1845714
02/15/12 10:39 PM
02/15/12 10:39 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,016
Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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Madison, WI USA
2010 was the year of my 40th high school reunion. I visited the Classmates.com site quite often and reminisced about being in high school during the late 60's. One thing that came up was prices for goods and services then and now. Nearly everything today cost 10 times in 2010 what it did then. Pianos and piano service pretty much followed that trend.

Certain things did not, however. A long distance telephone call back then was something to avoid for how costly it was. Now, a long distance phone call doesn't cost any more than a local one on most cell phone plans. A TV set was an expensive item but nearly every household had one. Just before the flat screens became available, I bought a 25" standard definition color TV for the bedroom that would have been the envy of any living room back then for $120. I don't think you could have bought such a TV in the late 60's for less than $500.

In 1997, I bought my first computer with accessories that had only a 2 Gig hard drive for $2,700. Now you can get one for $400 or less with 450 GB. When the first hand held cell phones became available, they cost about $1,500 and calls were 50 cents a minute. Watch you bill skyrocket if you "roamed" out of the area! Now, a cell phone is the cheapest phone service.

In 1910, there were over 300 piano manufacturers operating in the USA. Now there are 3. A 99% decline. An upright piano back then cost about $300 when a laborer made $1 a day. So, yes, only the more affluent people could afford them but many of them were well built and still being traded around for $300.

I have often told people over the years that a well kept piano seems to keep more or less the face value of its original purchase price. My Dad bought our family a Kimball Studio (Chicago built) piano for $800 in 1963. It is still in quite good shape with a solid pinblock and never had a broken part or string. It would be considered a good buy on Craigslist for $800 today.

A Yamaha studio purchased 20 years ago for $2,000 and still in good shape might easily get $2,000 today.

But a Steinway actually increasing in value? Perhaps one of the art case models. In December, I appraised an 1877 art case Steinway D at the historic Villa Louis mansion in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. It was complete toast: unplayable and unserviceable with some makeshift repairs. Yet, due to its uniqueness and being one of the earliest models the factory produced, I still appraised its value at $20,000 as is. I would not have any idea what its selling price was in 1877 but doubt very much that it was anywhere near $20,000. Restoration will cost $100,000 but after that, it will be worth as much as $250,000. Of course, they don't plan to sell it but they could use it as collateral. (You default on the loan, we come and get the piano).

On the other hand, a 1960's Steinway with Teflon bushing action could hardly command its original selling price, let alone multiplying that by 10! It would take at least the original selling price just to redo the action with currently made parts.

Nevertheless, I would still agree that a Steinway piano of any era is a good investment but not one for making a financial profit, for sure. It is a quality instrument. The name alone does make banks recognize its collateral value (with a well documented appraisal). Primarily, however, it is an investment in a person's music education or experience. It is also the ultimate recyclable piano. Any qualified rebuilder will jump at the chance to restore one.

Any family who has a Steinway piano from virtually any era can have the instrument restored as many times as is necessary. A good restoration will last a lifetime with moderate use. Even with heavy use by a working and practicing professional musician, the original investment can be maintained through replacement of action parts and strings as often as needed at a fraction of the cost of the "throw it away and buy a new one" mentality that we all are accustomed to with so many other consumer products.

The Villa Louis is an interesting place. I felt that I was an honored guest being asked to go there and was treated graciously. Oddly enough, I sometimes make more money as a piano technician when I never even take a single tool out of my bag.

The Villa Louis board had hemmed and hawed much about what they would do with the piano that could no longer be used but which had been there for over 130 years. Some wanted it "refinished" and then to put a cheap sound system under it to play piano music for tourists who paid to tour the elegant historic mansion. There is already a place like that not so far away in Wisconsin called the "House on the Rock" where all kinds of unworkable ancient instruments are on display and have tinny recordings played for the hoards of tourists who pass through. To me, that is a place I never want to go again.

Others wanted only "functional" repairs. The whole thing is so dilapidated that such a half way measure was impossible. The lid was cracking and people put makeshift braces across it to hold it together. The legs had fallen apart and been replaced with legs from a square grand. The pedal lyre had disintegrated and been replaced with a cobbled replica. I recommended full and complete restoration.

The Villa Louis plans, upon receipt of the completely restored instrument, to have regular salon concerts with substantial ticket prices to slowly recoup their restoration investment. In the end, perhaps after 10 years or so, they shall call it a wash and only profit thereafter from their decision made at the end of 2011.

Prairie du Chien has an interesting history as the furthest place west that early French explorers traveled in 1673. You can read a Wikipedia article on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_du_Chien,_Wisconsin

The Villa Louis is also a very interesting place. As a person who had lived in France during my college years, it seems so very historically French to me, as if I were in a historic place in France. In the following link, click on "Step Inside the Villa Louis Mansion". Then, (view all of the pics if you like but) click on image #7 and you will see the salon where the historic Steinway is located.

http://villalouis.wisconsinhistory.org/

This was an interesting thread and I enjoyed reading all comments.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Steinway a good investment? (reader discretion advised) [Re: Supply] #1847492
02/18/12 07:23 PM
02/18/12 07:23 PM
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Monterey, Ca
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