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#66932 - 04/04/07 07:42 PM Willis & Co Piano  
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tecom Offline
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#66933 - 04/04/07 07:48 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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BDB Offline
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Less than the cost to get it into mint condition.


Semipro Tech
#66934 - 04/04/07 07:51 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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tecom Offline
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#66935 - 04/04/07 08:18 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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BDB Offline
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I answered the question you asked. The piano is not in mint condition, and it would cost too much to get it near there.

What you want to know is that it is worth about nothing. There are lots of old pianos lying around, and most people do not want them any more, because it costs more than the price of a new piano to put them into decent condition. If you can give it away, consider yourself lucky.


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#66936 - 04/04/07 10:46 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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BDB is a very experienced tech, and gave you an honest opinion... which is, after all, what you asked for.

In the first case, nothing 80 years old is "mint", especially not an instrument made of wood, felt, leather, and other organic materials.

Unfortunately, pianos don't have "antique" value. If you review this forum, you'll see that there are many more people trying to sell pianos like this, than there are people looking to find a piano of that vintage. Some of them can be decent if rebuilt; others will cost you $200 to have them hauled away.

Ask your tuner for an appraisal.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
#66937 - 04/05/07 04:15 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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tecom Offline
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#66938 - 04/05/07 05:17 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Ken Knapp Offline
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Pennsylvania
tecom, the cost to truly rebuild such an old piano would probably approach $10,000. If this is significantly more than you paid for the piano then you most likely bought a 'repaired' piano, not rebuilt. Nothing wrong with that. I saw the example on the website you provided. They say that particular piano has a 'repaired' soundboard. Personally if they were truly rebuilding I would expect the soundboard to be replaced.

Now compare that info with the price of a new piano. I have a 48" studio I bought new a year ago for $3,000. Yours, if it has no problems may be worth $500 or so, provided you find someone willing to pay that much.

BDB isn't a troll, he gave you an honest opinion - just the short version. smile Honestly, old uprights are a dime a dozen unless there is something that distinguishes them. If you do a search you'll discover tons of queries from people hoping their old uprights have more value then they do. I think if I had a nickel for every such question I could afford a new Steinway!! laugh

Ken


Ken

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#66939 - 04/05/07 05:58 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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AJB Offline
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Tecom - I agree with Ken. BDB is not a troll and was being straight with you.

There is practically no demand for such pianos. They are not at all sought after by serious players and those looking for an "occasional" instrument or starter piano are just as likely to go digital these days (far easier to move, zero tuning costs, probably better sound and touch too).

This is no doubt not what you want to hear, but this forum has seen hundreds of worthless old pianos like yours that people hope have value. Try to get rid of it for a few hundred dollars if you do not have the space for it, but be prepared to give it away.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
#66940 - 04/05/07 10:17 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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VE1PL Offline
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Nova Scotia, Canada
I have a 1911 Willis upright myself (looks just like the one in the picture at the link above), which my mother-in-law had fixed up ten or so years ago. New damper felts, hammers, ribbons and regulation. The piano still sounds as good as many new ones (the bass is a bit restrained), but the action isn't standing up to regular practice from my kids, and I spend what time I can get in at my Yamaha digital as a result. My mother's Heintzman of the same vintage is much more mechanically robust (sounds nicer too), but even Heintzman oldies don't fetch anything now.

If I was looking for an acoustic piano to start a kid on, and didn't already have one, I'd be willing to pay 1K for mine. Not a penny more. As I am willing to pay much more than that, I will give mine away when I buy a new one (soon, I hope, as does the dealer with the S6 down the street).

Also, if you are mechanically minded, they are very interesting things to work on. I expect to replace the jack springs as an experiment this summer, just to see what difference it makes. Perhaps I should make some before and after recordings.


Willis (1910) and Yamaha CLP-280
#66941 - 04/05/07 10:49 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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John Delmore Offline
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John Delmore  Offline
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Shreveport, LA
The Willis you linked to for 1550 CAD?

With soundboard repair, new bass bridge, new dampers?

It should certainly have had new strings (and certainly looks like it didn't), with those types of repair. Even without new strings, you've already spent more than the selling price (~1340 USD). New strings, and you're way over. I would be very suspect. If they DID the work, they're losing money. Call a local tech for an offhand estimate for these repair, if you like.


John Delmore
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#66942 - 04/05/07 01:45 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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tecom Offline
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#66943 - 04/05/07 02:45 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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The biggest impediment to selling upright pianos used to be that they were considered old fasioned and ugly. Everyone wanted a spinet or some other small 'living room' piano. Fortunately, that has changed. Pianos that look just like the traditional 'old uprights' are now being manufactured new. In fact it's just about impossible to buy a new spinet (thank goodness - they weren't the greatest pianos). So your piano is no longer 'ugly'. In fact it looks pretty nice. I can't know about the condition, but the consensus (of those board members who think it has value) seems to be between $500 and $1,000 which is probably about right. Many people believe that every old piano needs overhauling on general principal. Others believe that a well-made piano (with maintainance) can last indefinately. You've already seen by searching on the internet that the rule of thumb that 'pianos have no antique value' and 'old uprights are worthless' is no longer universally recognized. The condition of your piano and the beliefs of your customer will help to determine the worth of your piano. Good luck w/your sale and feel free to contact me if any more info would be helpful. Walt

#66944 - 04/05/07 10:27 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Monica K. Online blank

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Joined: Aug 2005
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Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by w_scott@verizon.net:
I can't know about the condition, but the consensus (of those board members who think it has value) seems to be between $500 and $1,000 which is probably about right.
You may be giving tecom some false optimism here. There were five estimates of value given in this thread: $0, $0, $0, $500, and $1000. The median and modal estimate is thus $0. The mean estimate is $300. (And I'm guessing all these estimates were in USD, not CAD.)

tecom, if I were you I'd list the piano at $500 but take any offer you get.

p.s. I do think you owe BDB an apology. Nothing he said constituted trolling or flaming in my book. You wanna see flaming, take a stroll through the archives... wink


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#66945 - 04/06/07 09:24 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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West Virginia
I hope that I haven't led him astray. I guess I'm agreeing with the other two people that thought it had value. If the piano plays as well as it looks, I think it would bring $500 pretty easily. And if it looks so good because someone refinished it and went over the 'innards', I think $1,000 may be reasonable. I can't know anything other than what the piano looks like, so I can't speak authoratively, but I think it's probably not very reasonable to dismiss it as junk just because it's an upright.

#66946 - 04/06/07 09:31 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
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Tecom,
We could probably give you more reliable information if you took a picture of the action (remove the part that the music rests on) and also posted a sound recording of a chromatic scale (every note from the lowest to the top). The keyboard looks as though it may have been recovered and leveled, although a better picture would help.

#66947 - 04/06/07 09:34 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
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Tecom's post says that the piano is 'rebuilt'. It certainly looks as though it might be. If that's true, it's easily worth $1000.

#66948 - 04/06/07 09:43 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
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Monica,
It's a very small point (and I apologise for making it), but I only saw 2 posters who said the piano had no value...

#66949 - 04/07/07 03:19 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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BDB Offline
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For what it is worth, the reason for my posts were that from the picture, it obviously has the original finish which is crazed from age, or maybe sometime in the past, it was sprayed over, rather than refinished properly. Even then, there are nicks and scratches in the finish. The pedals are worn. So clearly it is not in "mint" condition. Redoing those two things alone would cost more than the piano would be worth once it is done. I suspect that nothing has been done to the interior of the piano, either.

Even if the piano had accidentally been walled up in a piano store and not discovered until this year, it would not be in "mint" condition. It is still over 80 years old. It is like the 30 year old horse with a distinguished past: You may love it, and think that it is wonderful for what it used to be, its only value is sentimental. For anyone else, it is more to feed than it is worth.

As much as W Scott may like pianos like this, I doubt he would pay as much for it as he says it is worth. It may have been a wonderful piano at one time. But those times are past. It would cost more than it would cost for a new piano to restore it to decent condition. For someone who wanted that sort of piano, it may be worth doing. However, even for someone like that, there is no reason to pay anything for a piano like this to start from, because someone else will give you a similar one for free, just to get rid of it. (Let us not even consider how few people can restore old uprights well, except to say that those who can do it can do it just as well with pianos which are in even worse shape, which means condition is less of a factor in the price than one might think.) Most people, who just want a cheap piano, would be better off putting money into something newer. Even though a newer piano may never have been as good a piano as this one once was, it is likely to be better now.


Semipro Tech
#66950 - 04/07/07 02:27 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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tecom Offline
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#66951 - 04/07/07 02:57 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Steve Cohen Offline
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tecom, you are WAY off base here.

The term "rebuilt" has a fairly finite definition in the piano industry. Rebuilding a piano involves, AT A MINIMUM, a new pinblock, new pins, new strings and the replacement of any worn action parts. The cheapest rebuild I have seen in the past 10 years was over $6000.

While I am sure that you believe that the piano was "bought rebuilt and FULLY restored", it could not have been. You wree probably misled in 1999.

BDB is NOT a troll. He has been a fairly well-respected poster here for alsmost 4 years and has a history of over 5000 posts. He and others here have disagreed from time-to-time, but his opinions here are very valid.

I would strongly suggest that you contact a local Registered Piano Technician in the Piano Technician's Guild (www.PTG.org), and have them appraise the instrument. I think you will find that their opinion will be in line with those here.

The piano likely has little if any retail value. If a decent job was done when it was refirbished, it might bring a few hundred dollars, however calling it "rebuilt" is very misleading to potential buyers.


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#66952 - 04/07/07 03:42 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Ken Knapp Offline
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I guess it's time to play moderator.

Tecom, you came here asking advice. BDB gave you his opinion based on the information you provided. I stated it before and I will say it again. He is not a troll, he is giving you his honest opinion. Sorry if it's not what you want to hear.

That being said, the only person flaming and trolling in here at this point is you. Calling people dumb and calling them trolls will not win you friends - it will more likely get you banned.

My suggestion is that you pay someone qualified to look at it and give you an honest appraisal of what your piano is worth. As you stated above there is not much we can tell from a picture.

I think you owe BDB an apology.

Moderator hat off.

Ken


Ken

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#66953 - 04/07/07 04:47 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Well, I'm sorry Tecom's posts are gone. I was hoping to get a peek inside the piano. It's too bad when personalities get in the way of a free exchange of opinions. In any case, Tecom, if you visit the thread again, feel free to contact me. I'd love to look a little more closely at your piano.

#66954 - 04/07/07 05:17 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Monica K. Online blank

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Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by w_scott@verizon.net:
Monica,
It's a very small point (and I apologise for making it), but I only saw 2 posters who said the piano had no value...
A small point but a valid one... I was counting Cy as a $0, too, but reading his post over I realize that he doesn't commit one way or the other. Sorry!

At any rate, since tecom got in a snit :rolleyes: , it's rather a moot point.


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#66955 - 04/08/07 09:15 PM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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tecom Offline
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I have edited and removed my posts.

I have proceeded to list the piano for sale and see how it goes.

I thank all of you for your help.

I would like to specially thank w_scott@verizon.net for his professionalism and well informed insights. I will not be sending you an email because I am already proceeding to the sale, but thank you for the offer to help! =)

#66956 - 04/09/07 10:58 AM Re: Willis & Co Piano  
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Good luck. Please let us know how everything goes. Walt


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