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Hey all,

My husband inherited a Steinway Grand Concert, model D piano. It is one of 10 model D pianos that had a duo-art player system installed.

This is what I found about it - http://www.pianola.org/reproducing/reproducing_duo-art.cfm

"Most of the grand pianos used for the Duo-Art were of small or medium size, but there were nevertheless a few concert instruments as well. In the late 1920s, Duo-Art mechanisms were installed into a small number of Steinway 'D' grand pianos, but for its own concert purposes the Aeolian Company built a series of Weber 9-foot grands around 1917. At least two of these have survived, one facilitating the return in 1985 of the late Rudolph Ganz to Symphony Hall, Chicago, where he appeared as posthumous soloist in the Liszt Eb Piano Concerto, with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra."

How do we find out more information about the piano? How to figure out value? What about what it needs? We have no idea where to start!

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What were you and your husband going to do with this piano? Keep it or sell it? If you keep it, would someone play it? If you keep it, would you want to see if the player system can be restored? We do have several forum members with a good deal of expertise. I myself would call or email Steinway & Sons and get the name of an expert piano technician to inspect the D and the very old player system to see what your options are.


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Actually, Steinway considers their player grands to be worthless junk (according to David Kirkland in a fairly recent telephone conversation). Now, whether this also applies to a rare model D player I cannot say. However, I can attest to the fact that these things are a nightmare to work on. Action removal can turn into hours with tubes needing to be labeled, andv all sorts of things needing to be disconnected. You need to know these things inside and out. Lots of compromises were made in these pianos to make them work as a player (at least the ones I have seen). They represent cool (but hopelessly outdated) technology.

Have fun. Not trying to be negative...just realistic.

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I have an email out to Steinway and have asked for David Kirkland so if I get a hold of him, I'll definitely be interested to hear what he has to say. Thank you for your response, definitely not negative, to your point it just may be reality.

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We're not sure what we're going to do with it yet. We don't play piano so we don't want it to go to waste, such a beautiful instrument.
The player works with no issues. It was kept in pristine condition so to my non-steinway ear, it sounds amazing when someone plays it or it is playing a roll.
We have a letter from someone on the behalf of Henry Steinway indicating this piano was the first of only 10 to be made.

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I suspect that this piano would be quite valuable to the right person, but it would be difficult to sell.

Steinway sold these pianos to the Aeolian company, which installed the mechanism and sold them to consumers. The concert grands were used as advertising, playing with orchestras, or with a famous artist alternating with the player mechanism.

Piedmont Piano here in Oakland specializes in unusual and historic pianos, so they might be able to help you.


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Rarity and uniqueness often tips the balance in your favor. Especially if all provenance is indisputable and particularly if very famous people are associated with it.

I repeat though...provenance must be indisputable or else it's just another item someone is trying to hawk (too often these days).

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My understanding of the current policy of Steinway is older Steinway pianos are to be valued very low except if the Steinway company is selling the piano or selling the owner work. So asking Steinway to value it has many conflict of interest issues.


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Thank you everyone! I appreciate your input. I will continue my research.

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The player roll versions of the D size are the biggest ever produced Steinway grands..., besides of some "art case" pianos like the two D grands for the white House, #100.000 and #300.000.
(Biggest i.e. longest, but not the heaviest. This title goes to the Centennial D model, the precedessor 1875-1884 of the actual D).

So this case with it's elongation, and it's very long keys (for the player roll mechanism space) represent a rarity of it's own.

I would be proud and glad to own such an instrument. But I am far far away in Germany. My 0.02 Euro cent.

If I would try to get rid of such an instrument, I would advertise and try to catch attraction via the rarity of the utmost lenght and the suuuper loong keys.


Pls excuse any bad english.

Centennial D Sept 1877

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For people interested in automatic musical interments from 1890-1940 what you have is about as rare and desirable as it gets. That being said there said not many people who are interested in in old automatic musical instruments, and even fewer with lots of money to spend on purchasing and restoring an instrument like this.
You said that the piano does play, but for a true knowledge collector there is a HUGE difference between a piano like this cranking out a fox trot from the1920,s and the piano being in perfect shape and being able to play classical music in a way that is truly inspiring. Restored and set up properly a Duo/Art in a Steinway D would be treat to hear. I have heard some Duo/Art Steinway Bs but in over 40 years in the piano world i have never even seen or heard of anyone having a Duo/Art D. Also, there are very few techs in the whole US who would have the skill set and knowledge to be able restore and probably regulate the player system on this piano.
You may want to check out Amica.org. It’s a community of people interested in automatic musical instruments. From there you may find someone interested and the right Duo/Art expert tech to work on it.

You may find this link interesting. It gets very technical but shows off what the Duo/Art can do. I don’t know who this tech is but he seems to be the type of tech I was talking about who is very knowledgeable about how these player systems work.





Best wishes

Larry Hofer
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There does exist knowledge about automated player roll systems.

In Germany there is a chapter for automated instruments whose former boss made great, really great presentations with his automated Bösendorfer 225together with a player preset thing named Welte-Vorsetzer which can be clamped onto nearly every piano.

Both things can work together via an especially built electronic device (computerized controller with a set of pneumatic valves to act on the active elements) which allows MIDI informations also played on the grand and on the other piano being used by the Vorsetzer - and you will hear two concert instruments play synchronized together - a great experience. He is a fan of the music of a mexican-american composer specialized on player roll pianos - Conlon Nancarrow.

I own a CD set with a complete documentation on an old grand with a player system, restoring the piano and restoring the player automaton.

Other chances are installing a modern player system, or to use a great big grand as it is - a grand, and maybe first or partly restore the instrument for human playing alone, with the options to restore the player automaton afterwards.


Pls excuse any bad english.

Centennial D Sept 1877

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I am surprised and probably disagree with those that think the player system in this piano makes it more desirable or worth more than a non player model D. For non Steinway D's my impression is that an old player system doesn't add to the value and usually makes it less desirable. Certainly the old player systems are beyond terrible compared to even the most basic modern player system.

I suppose it's possible that some might like a D with an old player system just because of its rarity, but my guess is more would consider the player system a reason not to get the piano. I certainly don't think, as one poster suggested, the fact that this piano is longer than a normal D adds to its appeal or value.

My guess is the value of this piano depends on its condition just like any other used piano.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I am surprised and probably disagree with those that think the player system in this piano makes it more desirable or worth more than a non player model D. For non Steinway D's my impression is that an old player system doesn't add to the value and usually makes it less desirable. Certainly the old player systems are beyond terrible compared to even the most basic modern player system.

I suppose it's possible that some might like a D with an old player system just because of its rarity, but my guess is more would consider the player system a reason not to get the piano. I certainly don't think, as one poster suggested, the fact that this piano is longer than a normal D adds to its appeal or value.

My guess is the value of this piano depends on its condition just like any other used piano.


This is a rare piano in a niche market; without knowledge and experience with that market, don’t find any basis to make a judgement.

Last edited by dogperson; 06/04/21 04:05 PM.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I am surprised and probably disagree with those that think the player system in this piano makes it more desirable or worth more than a non player model D. For non Steinway D's my impression is that an old player system doesn't add to the value and usually makes it less desirable. Certainly the old player systems are beyond terrible compared to even the most basic modern player system.

I suppose it's possible that some might like a D with an old player system just because of its rarity, but my guess is more would consider the player system a reason not to get the piano. I certainly don't think, as one poster suggested, the fact that this piano is longer than a normal D adds to its appeal or value.

My guess is the value of this piano depends on its condition just like any other used piano.


This is a rare piano in a niche market; without knowledge and experience with that market, don’t find any basis to make a judgement.
The basis is that if non Ds with player systems are less desirable, I don't see much reason why a D with a player would be particularly desirable. Of course, there's always a chance that someone would want one just because there aren't many of them just like someone may want one of the more outlandish art case pianos out there.

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Depending on what the piano technician tells you, maybe just keep it and enjoy it if the player system still works.


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You have to find the nexus of a collector that knows what it is and desires it, has funds to invest in repair and maintenance, and has space for a 9' (and isn't already buried in player piano projects eek ). They buyer is as rare as the piano.


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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
You have to find the nexus of a collector that knows what it is and desires it, has funds to invest in repair and maintenance, and has space for a 9' (and isn't already buried in player piano projects eek ). They buyer is as rare as the piano.

I actually know one of those potential buyers, but as regulars know, when "it just needs to be tuned", its value is, well, a matter of negotiation.

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I think it would be about 9'-5".


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This was your 29,999th post ...
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The basis is that if non Ds with player systems are less desirable, I don't see much reason why a D with a player would be particularly desirable. Of course, there's always a chance that someone would want one just because there aren't many of them just like someone may want one of the more outlandish art case pianos out there.

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