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piano folks, inheriting a Steinway

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  • #16
    Originally posted by JBME View Post
    2) yeah we have a separate living room and a separate dining room and a separate family room sort of house...not open concept. So the living room (where the upright is) is really just a piano room. We actually bought the house with my vision that the formal living room would have a piano. So now we can just have two. I would either need to sell the upright or keep it in the same room...can't move the upright to another room as there isn't space for that.

    4) My asking about the piano price is really just to better understand if I have a depreciating or appreciating asset. Everyone here is clear it's appreciating. So even though I don't plan to sell anytime, I'm more inclined to take something that appreciates as the cost is "will take up space." I grew up with a baby grand (non-steinway) with ivory keys and my parents struggled mightily to sell it actually. In the end someone just bought it for parts and I think my parents got $500 or $1000 for it after a lot of non-interest. So that story certainly impacts me with regards to this, although I know we might be in a totally different scenario since it's a steinway.
    Your reasons for getting the piano are great. Especially because you have the space and already have a piano and piano players.

    My biggest concern would have been the space and whether one rationalizes that they would take it because it would give them motivation to learn. Kind of like home gym equipment like Bowflex. People buy the bulky things and think it will encourage them to work out, but most home gym equipment take up unnecessary space, collect dust, and are sold for pennies on the dollars (if at all) on Craigslist. Glad to know you will use it, have the space for it, and it will actually appreciate in value.

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    • #17
      By a factor of 10, this thread has made me more envious than any other thread up to date.

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      • #18
        You won't sell it through Craigslist. The Steinway is an instrument for "connoisseurs". Look up used Steinway piano values. This is not an item to be abused. You could actually ship it and sell it and make money off of it. Bev is correct, the size will dominate a room. Just like you, no one will take it unless they are settled and have space. Moving is a PITA. Your kids might not take it until a least a decade out of college.

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        • #19
          I'll pay half to have it moved, tuned, appraised and donated. Tax write off, right? (sort of kidding.. sort of not).

          If you have the room, I'd take it and sell the other piano. Even if it's not played, it would be like a piece of art in your home. The drawback-- I think even a proficient piano player would walk in and be afraid to touch it as to damage it.

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          • #20
            Heck no! Most pianists would love to play and tap on a Steinway just because it is. They aren't Picassos.

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            • #21
              yes, let's say i'm lucky enough to have a kid stick with the piano, as I did. Played and got quite good by the end of HS. Pretty much no piano in my 20s and lived in various apartments. no time to play, no room for a piano. Then I get into a house in my 30s and my parents still had that piano. I considered taking it but it was worth no more than $1000 and I was relatively poor at the time and the cost to move it was at least $3k for over 2k miles so I didn't take it. I don't regret not taking it.

              Bev brings up good points and the things I was thinking before most chimed in and said to take it. I'd use it. But my plan is to be out of the big house by the time the kids are in their 30s and if they aren't settled then I don't want to just hold onto it. Like I said, it's in the family but not in my nuclear family so I don't have an emotional attachment. I'd get a good 10-20 years out of it. I'm going to have to think about it more and convince the wife, which at this point is going to be the hardest part. Probably put some tape on the floor to get an idea of exactly how little living room will be left with two pianos in there

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              • #22
                I am not a great believer of Steinway being kept just as a center piece. It will take up space and I like open spaces in the house.

                Definitely sell the upright if you take this one. Don't go in for that dream of dueling pianos. It is more like dueling space hoggers.

                use it mainly for your pleasure. I doubt the kids will have that emotional attachment to it. And when the time comes, sell it

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Kamban View Post
                  I am not a great believer of Steinway being kept just as a center piece. It will take up space and I like open spaces in the house.

                  Definitely sell the upright if you take this one. Don't go in for that dream of dueling pianos. It is more like dueling space hoggers.

                  use it mainly for your pleasure. I doubt the kids will have that emotional attachment to it. And when the time comes, sell it
                  By the time you get set to move, you will have a taker or not with the kids. Figure that out when you get there. My “little one” has claimed hers for years. No problem for us, the living and dining rooms are rarely used. Once my “little one” takes possession her plan is to book some serious lessons. Who knows? It’s not a Steinway, but it’s her baby grand.
                  The vast majority of Steinways are institutional use (university music programs). 30-40 years of heavy use. Definitely not dainty when played. If someone plays, invite them.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by JBME View Post
                    man you all are making this tough! I was hoping people would say "well it's another big thing that eventually you'll have to deal with" but everyone makes solid points above and now my thinking has turned positively towards it even more....I'll just have to get my wife on board who was leaning more against it than me (just because it'll take up so much space).

                    1) It will have to move ~450-500 miles.

                    2) yeah we have a separate living room and a separate dining room and a separate family room sort of house...not open concept. So the living room (where the upright is) is really just a piano room. We actually bought the house with my vision that the formal living room would have a piano. So now we can just have two. I would either need to sell the upright or keep it in the same room...can't move the upright to another room as there isn't space for that.

                    3) Thanks for making it clear that I would need to pay. My aunt's eldest daughter is helping her get rid of stuff as she moves out of her house. I might just need to ask her (so my cousin) if she's able to find piano movers and I'd reimburse.

                    4) My asking about the piano price is really just to better understand if I have a depreciating or appreciating asset. Everyone here is clear it's appreciating. So even though I don't plan to sell anytime, I'm more inclined to take something that appreciates as the cost is "will take up space." I grew up with a baby grand (non-steinway) with ivory keys and my parents struggled mightily to sell it actually. In the end someone just bought it for parts and I think my parents got $500 or $1000 for it after a lot of non-interest. So that story certainly impacts me with regards to this, although I know we might be in a totally different scenario since it's a steinway.
                    It's probably still worth it to move it that many miles. If I were you I wouldn't try to negotiate who pays for what or how much. If you want it, transport it properly and don't think about the cost. These instruments do appreciate and with a name like Steinway you will likely get what you paid for transport plus some upon sale but while they do appreciate, getting someone to purchase an instrument (especially a run-of-the-mill piano, which this is not) is difficult. If you send it to a dealer they will put it on consignment and show it last because they want to make the most from selling their own instruments. But it's Steinway so it's likely you'll be able to sell regardless. Even if you can't, there are plenty of starving nonprofits that would be simply transformed by such a donation down the road so if you get 10-20 years of use and worst case, end up donating it, plenty of performers, teachers, and maybe even students would derive much joy from it for years to come.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by burritos View Post
                      By a factor of 10, this thread has made me more envious than any other thread up to date.
                      Is it a Steinway or a piano you're wanting? Check out all the local ads, people will almost pay you to unload such an instrument.

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                      • #26
                        thanks all. you've changed my mind somewhat and instead of doing a half-hearted sell to get my household on board I'll be doing a harder sell. But if I still can't get them to go for it, then it's a loss but not so big that it's worth making others eventually regret having such a huge thing in the room and being stressed just looking at it

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                        • #27
                          JBME, About 6-7 years ago I did a lot of research into buying used pianos and ended up settling on an antique Baldwin grand from the 1930’s. Mine is a baby grand Model M. I remember speaking to many people about steinways as well. Antique pianos are all over the place in terms of value. The most valuable ones are those which were originally made well (Steinways and Baldwins being examples of the best), those in beautiful physical condition and finally those that play beautifully. For an antique instrument of that age (you said it’s 100 years old, so 1920s) you would expect it to have been restored at some point. The key thing with Steinways is that they MUST be restored with authentic Steinway parts (action, soundboard, strings, etc) and by someone qualified to do the restoration for them to maintain their highest value. If your family piano was done in the 1960’s you would need to know who did the work and what kind of work they did including parts used in order to get an accurate value on it. If done with non-authentic steinway parts, it’s far less valuable and no more valuable than any other brand of similar caliber (such as a baldwin). However if done correctly with steinway parts, they are the most valuable used pianos out there. And they can be restored now if desired and would still be worthy of such a restoration if the cost is not prohibitive.

                          If I were you I would absolutely take the piano. Even if not restored to steinway standards, an antique piano from that era is a real treat to play. They have qualities in their sound that is unmatched in most new modern pianos. It all has to do with the quality of the workmanship, materials used including wood from old growth forests that don’t exist anymore and 100 years of patina that can’t be recreated. If yours is a full size concert grand the sound is usually unbelievable (huge bass tone that will give you chills). The only manufacturer today that still makes pianos the old world way is Steinway. To get a modern piano that is as well made as that antique steinway you would have to spend well over 100k. If it needs to be transported that far it will not be cheap, but definitely worth it in my opinion. I would immediately have a well respected piano technician in your area tune it and assess its condition when it arrives. They will be able to tell you if the action is still good and the condition of the soundboard and strings. It may need nothing but a tuning. It may need some work on the action (hammers and all moving parts, which is not too expensive and worth it for playability). Strings and sound board replacement would only be necessary if in really bad shape or if you wanted to use it for concerts.
                          Take a picture and share when you get it!

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                          • #28
                            I would take the piano (and the not insignificant moving and upkeep costs) if it has the following values for you:
                            1. You or your kids will play on it and actually use it as an instrument
                            2. Pretty piece of furniture that works for your house
                            3. Sentimental value

                            I personally wouldn't take it as an appreciating asset. Sure, if you advertise well enough and wait long enough you can probably get a buyer willing to spend a decent amount on it. But as you probably have noticed, moving the grand is a pain in the butt. In addition a 100 yr old piano needs to be appraised carefully. Any issues with the sound board or other components will significantly decrease its value. Lastly when your talking about the segment of the population looking to spend 25-50K plus on a piano will probably lean more towards a commercial used establishment rather than an individual buyer.

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                            • #29
                              Click image for larger version

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                              thanks to all for their help. some were asking for pictures so I'll post now, delayed. I've decided to keep it in the family and use it!
                              Attached Files

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                              • #30
                                Sounds great in the picture! I thought the dog leash on the bench was genius.
                                Sure you already know, talent is nice but skill is developed through practice.Enjoy.

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