The price realized for an antique upright piano depends on who made it, how old it is, what condition it's in and simply what someone is willing to pay for it. If it's an average antique upright in rough condition and out of tune, its resale value wil be in the range of only $10 to $200. But if it was well cared for and is a major brand such as Steinway, it may be worth thousands of dollars. Taking some time to research the instrument and the marketplace may result in a handsome price. A sampling of 2009 online prices for used antique upright pianos ranged from $350 to $800, with better-quality antique uprights selling for as high as $3,500.
Have a qualified piano tuner or piano store owner inspect the instrument. World Wide Piano of Dallas, Texas, offers this advice: "The most accurate way to determine a used piano's value is to have a local piano dealer---who has knowledge of the piano sales market---perform a detailed on-site assessment of the piano's condition and appraise its value." Piano technicians typically charge between $150 and $400 to thoroughly assess an instrument. Online appraisals from photos range from $15 to $25. If the piano is in very good shape, getting an appraisal is a good idea. However, the downside of an appraisal is the tuner may recommend that the piano be rebuilt, which may cost more than the value of the instrument.
Learn the various types of upright pianos and their current values. For instance, antique upright grands are larger antique uprights that create fuller sound and are often highly desired---and therefore worth more. If it's a combination piano/player piano upright, it may be worth even more.
Visit a music store and take note of the prices of similar used models. With this valuable information, determine a fair-market price and place a classified ad in a newspaper or online. Don't wait until the last minute (if moving, for instance) to sell an antique upright piano, because finding the right buyer and getting the best price may take time. Selling out of desperation at the last minute will result in a far lower price.
If it is determined that the piano is in very rough shape and needs a lot of work, contact an antique store or salvage company specializing in architectural antiques. Such businesses often buy pianos because of the decorative value they hold. These types of businesses typically pay $50 to $250 for used pianos. However, if the piano has a gorgeous ornate cabinet, be sure to have it appraised before selling it to a salvage yard. Unique pianos can bring thousands of dollars.
Resell or Trade-in
If the piano is in very good shape, some music or piano stores will buy them outright, especially if the piano was originally purchased from them and is a brand they service. The piano may be worth even more as a trade-in on another piano.
If the instrument cannot be sold through a classified ad or to a dealer, consider donating it to a charitable organization and taking a fair-market tax deduction of $50 to $500.
Classic piano prices
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