It is normally difficult to give a value to a piano especially the used one. Pianos depreciate very little or not at all, depends on how much you have done in keeping the condition good of your piano. A rebuilt or used Steinway piano that was bought 10 years ago but maintained well will have increased in value.
Determining the value of an old piano cannot be done by just looking on it and knowing its brand. A piano with good brand as Steinway but in bad condition cannot be considered as a good value.
There are lots of things to be considered in knowing the value of used pianos. The first and the most important to be consider is the overall condition of the piano. A person without or has a little knowledge about the maintenance of piano is not reliable enough to ask for an opinion. Do not settle with the idea that it is because your friend’s uncle liked it and that he played it all his life so the piano must be valuable. In-depth look at the instrument is needed and that can be done only by an experienced piano technician.
The main concern is the soundboard. Does it have cracks? Are they large or small? Small cracks can be shimmed by a rebuilder. The next is the action. The rebuilder can advise you as to the actual condition of the action. Sometimes there is no need for replacement. The key is how the piano was stored and how often it was maintained. A rebuilder can tell very quickly.
Consider your money in making a private transactions to acquire a piano. Though you can get a cheaper deal than buying it to piano dealers, however, if the quality is not guaranteed, it may not be worth the investment.
There is a common belief that an antique is more valuable than new stuff. Is it applicable in buying a piano? The answer is yes and no. No, if you buy an antique piano from a friend who inherited it from his ancestors but doesn’t know anything about how to maintained it. It is just a piano, an old piano though it was built a century ago. Yes, if you buy a rebuilt from a reliable dealer who has years of experienced in this field that knows how to maintain the technical quality and condition (interior and exterior) of an antique piano.
The used piano worth $0 to $500 with all parts are considered wear. It cannot play music at all unless you ask a piano technician to rebuilt it and that would cost you more. The money you spend in rebuilding it can be up to ½ the price of a brand new piano. Restoring/replacing these parts to its original condition needs skill and requires long hours of work.
It doesn’t mean that old pianos have no value at all. They have great value and they are a lifetime investment only if they are being cared and maintained properly. Take for example the Steinway brand. Many Steinway pianos that were built from the late 18th century to early 19th century are still in the market today.
The reason? Those years are known to be the Golden-Age of piano making in the United States. It means that during those years, the materials used were delicately chosen and the craftsmanship was superb. In those times, the greatest name of piano maker in the history were founded.
Rebuilding Steinway, Bechstein, Baldwin, Shimmel, and other pianos in this class of pianos are worth every dollar. There are several piano dealers that are doing this kind of work because they knew how valuable these pianos are and all they need to do is to change all the moving parts but preserve the beauty and the quality of the instrument. Know that a Steinway rebuilt and restore will sound and look like the a brand new piano. Some people feel the sound of the older pianos are better than new, in addition artistic style cases with elegant carvings that are a beauty to the house.
Remember, only an experienced and skilled technician can restore used piano and its value. Piano tuners are not trained to do this complex work. Only a reliable piano dealer can give you warranty for a quality piano and can move it for you without any trouble. Always ask for an expert’s opinion before investing in anything like a piano.