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John,  CT ABRSM
John, CT ABRSM, Piano Teacher CT ABRSM.
Category: Musical Instrument Appraisal
Satisfied Customers: 1059
Experience:  Certificate of Music Teaching. Musical Instrument Appraiser. Qualified Technician. Qualified Piano Tuner. Experienced in Buying, Selling, Restoring and Valuing Pianos for more than 20 years.
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What is a 1918 Beckworth Concert brand player piano worth?

Customer Question

What is a 1918 Beckworth Concert brand player piano worth?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Musical Instrument Appraisal
Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 11 months ago.

Thanks for your question. My name is***** will work on this for you now and ask you to complete the star rating when you have a complete appraisal. Welcome to JustAnswer and it will be my pleasure to help you. I will come back to you with a reply soon.

To do this could you let me have the serial number please? Has your piano been regularly tuned and maintained? Have any of the internal mechanics been replaced or restored over the years or is it all still as originally built? Also if you have any pictures, particularly of the internal mechanics which you could attach on here using the paperclip or the +Add button on the menu bar in the reply section, that would be very helpful.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Serial number is ***** But it could be CA394687....second set of number is ***** first set. Style is 20
19497Still as originally built
Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 11 months ago.

Thank you.

Could I ask you for confirmation of the spelling of the name on this piano please.

John

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Beckwith concert brand chicago
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
we have the original paperwork and bill of sale. It is stamped August 26,1918 and there is a $.03 stamp on the envelope from that year.
Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 11 months ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** now located this company's records.

In very general terms, Pianos and Player Pianos have a limited life span of around 60 years mainly due to the wear during use and natural deterioration of the mechanical parts over time, such as the action, the strings, the soundboard, the tuning pins, the pin block, etc. This is particularly so for Player Pianos with their multitude of extra quite fragile parts. The life of these instruments can often be extended by careful regular maintenance/tuning/repairs and some restoration over the years or a total re-build/restoration of the major mechanical components. Thus one of the overriding factors in any appraisal valuation is the age and condition of the internal mechanics.

Therefore I am a bit perplexed by the serial numbers you have found. It is possible that they are part numbers such as the casework - the cabinet etc. The serial number records for this maker stop at 234000 in 1925. The serial numbers for 1918 are from 193000 to 200000 so the 19497 could be missing a digit which would then all come together with the interesting original paperwork you have.

So I can work on the fact that it is a 1918 Piano. Therefore I just have a few last questions please which I need information on to complete this appraisal for you. I had assumed that this was a large Upright Player Piano, is that correct? If so, could I have the full height measured from the floor to the top. Does it play the music rolls right through without many missing notes? Lastly, when was it last tuned?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
56 1/2 inches tall. Yes, it is large upright Player Piano. Not sure what to say about the serial numbers. The first number doesn't seem to add up to the ones you said and the second number was immediately below it but seems to be short one number. We can't remember when it was tuned but it plays music perfectly other than at times we have to push the pedals a little harder as it seems to sometimes lose a little air.
Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for the extra information and your patience. I have to say at the start of this appraisal write up that I do not have any very good news for you in terms of value, but I will come to that a bit further on.

Apart from a few unique and rare instruments, pianos and player pianos are not usually bought as antiques in the furniture sense of the word because they are bought to be played. Hence pianos do not necessarily have any great value because they are old. They depreciate with age and usage.

As I said previously, Pianos and Player Pianos have a limited life span of around 60 years mainly due to the wear during use and natural deterioration of the mechanical pieces over time, which is particularly so for Player Pianos with their multitude of extra quite fragile parts. As you have found, even though it is still playing, the fact that you are having to expend more effort, means that it is in need of having some work done. For its age it is doing remarkably well to be still playing and as long as you keep it going it could continue for some time before it becomes too difficult. One of the worst enemies of these instruments is to leave them un-played as the player part materials tend to deteriorate very much quicker as they become set and brittle.

A full internal and external restoration rebuild of the complete instrument will usually cost $10,000 to $15,000 or more. Thus if you were selling it now a potential purchaser would have to accept that some money would need to be spent on it in the short term with the possibility that a large amount of money would have to be spent on the instrument on an ongoing basis. It has always been a very specialized market for these instruments and in the current market with a good many similar instruments for sale, even in ‘mint’ condition after a costly total restoration, the owner may only receive offers often well below $5000 in a private sale or even less at auction! This is why generally only the real enthusiast, who really knows how wonderful these instruments can be in top condition, have them restored because they understand and live with the fact that it is unlikely that they will ever achieve their money back if they have to sell. Or they hang on to them even un-restored and put up with a few hiccups when they are playing.

Based on the information I have, plus the details you have provided, I believe your circa 1918 Beckwith Upright Player Piano has a current value of $500 to $1,000 for a private sale. As there are many such player pianos still around you may only be offered lower than this range. However, if you were considering insurance, I would suggest that it should be covered for a replacement value of up to $2,000.

Thank you for using JustAnswer. My aim is to provide you with a great service and receive a 5 star rating but at least 3 is preferable; therefore I trust that you have found this answer helpful. If so, please accept the answer and click the ‘STAR RATING’ or the 'RATE TO FINISH’ and ‘SUBMIT’ button in the REQUEST DETAILS SECTION at the top, as this is the only way as an Independent Expert I receive any recompense for the research I do to assist you There is no additional cost to you as my percentage of the payment for this question is taken from the amount you have agreed for this question only. Also by completing the rating star system it will stop the continual rating reminder emails you would receive from this site.

If you are disappointed in the value given ‘please do not shoot the messenger’, I can only give you a value based on the current markets and a reflection of similar sales. Owners of musical instruments often have a very sincerely ***** ***** that their ‘pride and joy’ is particularly valuable and sometimes it is, but musical instruments unfortunately generally depreciate with age. Many thanks and if you need any more help or explanations on the value I have given please contact me before you complete the rating.

John

Expert:  John, CT ABRSM replied 11 months ago.

Hello again Mike. I see that you have viewed my answer to your question but not yet completed the question process. So may I ask if you need any further help? If you do not have any further points that need to be answered on this question, I would be very grateful if you could please click on the Star Rating button in the REQUEST DETAILS SECTION at the top of this page. Thank you. John.

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