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The Geezer
The Geezer, Successful careers
Category: General
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Experience:  Retired Civil Engineer, USC Professor & Realtor, financier
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I have my mothers Gulbransen piano from 1927. I have ...

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I have my mother's Gulbransen piano from 1927. I have had several piano tuners want to buy it. Mother said it was the first small piano (versus the player pianos of earlier years) produced. I realize the keys are ivory and they would have value, but wondered if there was another significant value because of it being the first small upright piano produced in its day?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  The Geezer replied 10 years ago.
I have a similar issue with an 1895 Marshall and Wendell upright that I bought years ago from a private party. I am sure, if it could talk, it could tell stories about the Ragtime Years and the Roaring Twenties...

Your (and my) difficulty is/was this: Except for a Steinway, an old piano is just an old piano to people who can buy brand new ones for $1600-$2200 from piano stores everywhere. Doesn't matter to them that the new ones in that price range sound "tinny", the salesmen are taught to call that sound "bright".

The finish on my piano isn't new. The keys, while ivory, have the inevitable marks from people's natural oils mixing with smoggy air... which eventually eat away real ivory. Your piano probably doesn't look new either.

I finally had to sell my piano on terms, to a neighbor, for $800... had hoped to get twice that for it... pretty sad for a piano that spans three different centuries and still sounds pretty good...

Plus I had to fend off all the people responding to my ads who "don't have a checking account, will you take a cashier's check for more than the amount and send the difference to blah blah...", a scam that is increasingly prevalent these days.

but all you have to do is look in the classified ads under "Pianos for Sale" in your city to see the competition's pricing. Everything used is $1200-1500 or less, and eventually I got tired of letting complete strangers into the house...

Not only that, nowadays people can RENT a piano for well under $100 a month if they visit their local piano shops. It's not a good business decision but they might think "What if the kid doesn't like piano lessons or doesn't do well"...

I researched this matter with local piano dealers, friends who know pianos, personally with ads in Yahoo, EBay, Penny Saver, and others. Sorry to be the bearer of this news but used pianos are always worth more to us than to our potential buyers.

Having said all that, there is a sight that purports to be the "Blue Book of Piano's". It couldn't hurt to get their estimate of value, it might help convince a potential buyer to offer a better price. On the other hand their "appraisal fee is $20. I didn't use the site, as hard as I tried to sell my piano, I had a solid feeling of what the actual market value was.
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