The price ranges given reflect the wide possibilities a buyer faces in the used-piano market. At the low end of each range is a price one might find in a poor economy or a “buyer’s market,” where supply exceeds demand. At the high end, the prices are consistent with both a better economy and a higher demand for the type of instrument indicated. In some categories, the prices we received from our sources varied all over the map, and we had to use a considerable amount of editorial discretion to produce price ranges that were not so broad as to be useless as guidelines, and to retain at least a modicum of internal consistency in the chart. For that reason, you should expect to find some markets or situations in which prices higher or lower than those given here are normal or appropriate.

The prices given here for pianos that are not reconditioned or rebuilt (those labeled Worse, Average, Better) are the price ranges you might expect to find when buying pianos from private owners. The Reconditioned and Rebuilt categories represent prices you might encounter when shopping for such pianos at piano stores or from piano technicians, with a warranty given. In some cases we have omitted the Rebuilt price because we would not expect rebuilding to be cost-effective for pianos of that general age and type. In every case, prices assume the least expensive style and finish; prices for pianos with fancier cabinets, exotic veneers, inlays, and so forth, could be much higher.

Quality

“Best brands” include Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, and the very best European makes, such as Bechstein, Blüthner, and Bösendorfer. “Better brands” include the well-regarded older names mentioned in the accompanying article for the pre-1930 period, such as Knabe and Chickering; and names such as Baldwin, Everett, Kawai, Sohmer, Yamaha, and others of similar quality for the 1950–1980 period. “Average brands” are pretty much everything else.

Condition

Worse, Average, and Better refer to the condition of the piano in comparison to the amount of wear and tear one would expect from the piano’s age. However, even Worse pianos should be playable and serviceable. Note that because many buyers are quite conscious of a piano’s appearance, pianos that are in good shape musically but in poor shape cosmetically will often sell at a price more consistent with the Worse range than with a higher one. This offers an opportunity for the less furniture-conscious buyer to obtain a bargain.

PRICES OF USED PIANOS (US$)
 Private SellerDealer
 WorseAverageBetterReconditionedRebuilt
Vertical, pre-1950, average brand0-300300-750600-1,0001,000-1,500N/A
Vertical, pre-1950, better brand150-500400-1,000700-1,5001,200-2,000N/A
Vertical, pre-1950, best brand500-1,0001,000-3,0002,000-5,0003,000-6,00010,000-16,000
Vertical, 1950-1980, average brand200-600400-1,0001,000-1,5001,200-2,500N/A
Vertical, 1950-1980, better brand400-800700-1,5001,000-2,5002,000-4,500N/A
Vertical, 1950-1980, best brand700-2,0001,500-2,5003,000-5,0004,000-7,0007,000-10,000
Vertical, 1980-Use Depreciation Schedule
Grand, pre-1950, average brand, 5'0-500700-1,5001,000-2,5001,500-3,500N/A
Grand, pre-1950, average brand, 6'500-1,2001,500-2,0002,000-3,0003,500-4,500N/A
Grand, pre-1950, average brand, 7'800-1,5001,500-3,5003,000-5,0004,000-7,0008,000-10,000
Grand, pre-1950, better brand, 5'500-1,0002,000-3,0002,500-4,0005,000-8,000N/A
Grand, pre-1950, better brand, 6'1,000-2,5002,500-4,0004,000-7,0007,000-10,00012,000-18,000
Grand, pre-1950, better brand, 7'1,800-3,5003,500-7,0006,000-10,0008,000-15,00018,000-30,000
Grand, pre-1950, best brand, 5'3,000-6,0006,000-9,0008,000-15,00015,000-20,00015,000-25,000
Grand, pre-1950, best brand, 6'5,000-8,0007,000-15,00012,000-20,00015,000-28,00028,000-50,000
Grand, pre-1950, best brand, 7'7,000-10,00012,000-18,00020,000-35,00020,000-40,00035,000-65,000
Grand, 1950-1980, average brand, 5'500-1,2001,500-2,5002,000-4,0003,000-5,000N/A
Grand, 1950-1980, average brand, 6'800-2,0002,000-3,0003,000-5,0003,500-7,000N/A
Grand, 1950-1980, average brand, 7'1,500-2,5002,500-4,0004,000-7,0004,000-8,0008,000-12,000
Grand, 1950-1980, better brand, 5'800-2,0002,000-4,0002,500-5,0005,000-9,000N/A
Grand, 1950-1980, better brand, 6'1,500-3,0002,500-5,0004,000-9,0008,000-12,00012,000-22,000
Grand, 1950-1980, better brand, 7'3,000-6,0005,000-10,0008,000-15,00010,000-20,00015,000-30,000
Grand, 1950-1980, best brand, 5'4,000-7,0007,000-10,0009,000-18,00016,000-21,00017,000-25,000
Grand, 1950-1980, best brand, 6' 6,000-10,0008,000-15,00012,000-20,00020,000-28,00028,000-50,000
Grand, 1950-1980, best brand, 7'8,000-12,00014,000-20,00018,000-30,00020,000-40,00035,000-65,000
Grand, 1980-Use Depreciation Schedule

The Definitive Piano Buying Guide for

Buying New, Used, and Restored Acoustic Pianos and Digital Pianos

Spring 2014    Page 71

Spring 2014    Page 71

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