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Seeking advice on next steps
#3014379 08/15/20 07:41 PM
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I am seeking advice on how best to move ahead with my upright piano restoration. I purchased an old upright Kurtzmann a while back and have been slowly restoring it. I have completly finished all of the mahogany wood, the harp has been sandblasted and powder-coated, base strings have been removed, cleaned, and reinstalled, treble strings are new, action has been gone through and all bridle straps were replaced. I recently had a professional come by and estimated the remaining labor/parts to be $3000 and a value of the piano at $18,000 once completeKurtzmann appraisal. I would like to just let the piano go as is, but unsure on the best way to find a potential buyer for an antique piano in a non-playable condition (still needs hammers, springs, tuning, etc.) Any advice would be much appreciated. Pics can be sent if needed. I am located in MD.

Thanks,
David

Piano details,
1900-1903 Kurtzmann Upright
Serial #3369

Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014385 08/15/20 08:17 PM
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You might also post this on the piano tech forum. I am quite curious to hear whether others agree with the $18,000 evaluation once restored.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014416 08/16/20 01:13 AM
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That link won't work for me.

$18,000 is pie in the sky.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014437 08/16/20 03:25 AM
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Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014493 08/16/20 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Newbie Restorer
I am seeking advice on how best to move ahead with my upright piano restoration. I purchased an old upright Kurtzmann a while back and have been slowly restoring it. I have completly finished all of the mahogany wood, the harp has been sandblasted and powder-coated, base strings have been removed, cleaned, and reinstalled, treble strings are new, action has been gone through and all bridle straps were replaced. I recently had a professional come by and estimated the remaining labor/parts to be $3000 and a value of the piano at $18,000 once completeKurtzmann appraisal. I would like to just let the piano go as is, but unsure on the best way to find a potential buyer for an antique piano in a non-playable condition (still needs hammers, springs, tuning, etc.) Any advice would be much appreciated. Pics can be sent if needed. I am located in MD.
Unless the piano has some incredibly ornate and gorgeous case I think it would be hard to get much for an upright in non-playable condition, especially because it's a 117 year old piano with original bass strings, soundboard, pinblock, and most action parts. If you are hoping to get 18K-3K=15K that would be even more difficult.

Are you a piano technician? Is this the first piano you have restored?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/16/20 08:48 AM.
Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014511 08/16/20 09:41 AM
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Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

My suggestion is to advertise it as is, and ask $15K, (as pianoloverus mentioned) and see what happens.

I'm thinking the market for rebuilt old upright pianos is slim to not-quite-none, although there may be some interested buyers, possibly, maybe.

As for the appraisal, I'm thinking it is not much more than something you could use as a sale tactic, or, heaven forbid, if your home and contents were to be destroyed by a fire or storm, the appraisal might be of value dealing with the insurance company. Otherwise, I don't think an interested buyer would pay much attention to an appraisal, but they might.

As a real-world, practical experience/example, many years ago I looked at an older, 1927 Baldwin 7 foot grand, that had an older restoration, and the seller was asking $12K. I went to look at it, and the seller gave me a copy of an appraisal done by a piano technician for $32,000. I guess the appraisal was a good sales tactic, but I decided not to buy the piano, and I noticed his asking price on Craigslist kept coming down over time... started at $12K, then $10K, then $8K. Not sure what it sold for, but I didn't see the ad anymore after the $8K price over a year or so.

On the other hand, like I said, put the piano on the market, as is, and use your appraisal and the work done so far as part of the description, and see what happens. If it doesn't sell, keep lowering the price incrementally until it does.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014518 08/16/20 10:10 AM
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Offer to sell it to the person who gave you the appraisal, since they think it’s so valuable. If the piano is in non playable condition, it has no current value to a pianist. It also doesn’t work for most rebuilders, because part of making money on rebuilds involves acquiring the “core” piano for a low price in the first place.

I would advise either following through and finishing it and count yourself lucky if you don’t take too much of a loss, or stopping completely, if your primary concern is financial.


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Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014520 08/16/20 10:17 AM
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As a frame of reference, Brigham young pianos is selling one fully refurbished with s 3 yr warranty for $7,999. That is the ‘hope we get’ price with a warranty and refurbished.

You should set your sights MUCH lower even if you finish the work.
Hope your appraiser will buy it.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014526 08/16/20 10:25 AM
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If the piano is a literal basket case it has negative value, ie: it's a liability that you will have to pay to dispose. A musical instrument that doesn't make music isn't in demand. It's not going to be worth $18,000, nor even $3,000 if you do the work so it's a good idea to abandon it before spending more money.

Sorry for the bad news.

Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014528 08/16/20 10:38 AM
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Thanks for the information. I understand the appraisal is an arbitrary number and the value of the piano is whatever someone is willing to buy it for. I am not interested in finishing the restoration myself at this time and just wanting to know if I should put another $3k into the piano for someone else to compete it just to try to turn around and try to sell it in order to recoup some/all of the financial investment. How strong is the market for old, restored upright pianos? Could I reasonably expect to get at least $3-4k back out of it and how long should I expect to wait for a buyer at this price?

Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014531 08/16/20 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Newbie Restorer
How strong is the market for old, restored upright pianos? Could I reasonably expect to get at least $3-4k back out of it and how long should I expect to wait for a buyer at this price?

The market for partially restored >100 year old tall upright pianos from lesser known brands is basically none, I'm afraid.
As a teacher, that's not what I would steer a student and their family toward, if they had a budget of $3-4k for a first or second piano.

My sense is, if you invested another $3k into the piano, it would likely sell for $2k or less, and you'd be waiting an awfully long time to get an offer.


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Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014644 08/16/20 05:03 PM
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Restore it for yourself or donate it. No value as is. Sorry.

At this point you may want to carefully and meticulously attempt it on your own. They aren’t so complicated when you break it down to one note. You just have to multiply your experience by 88.


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014648 08/16/20 05:06 PM
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Oh, I guess I could mention that if the case has been beautifully restored it could have value as shell for an electronic keyboard. Although abhorrent to me, there is a trend of disguising keyboards in beautiful furniture cases.


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: Seeking advice on next steps
Newbie Restorer #3014970 08/17/20 06:47 PM
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I appreciate all of the candid advice. Sounds like I have a partially restored, 120 year old, over-sized paper weight. Well.. if there is anyone near the Baltimore area who has an interest in it, please feel free to reach out. I can send pictures or would be happy to show it to you in person.


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