Selling, Trading in, or Donating a Piano
Selling or trading in your piano? An email with pictures attached works best.
A model, serial number and some photographs will help us establish a value.
A model and serial number can often be found where the tuning pins in your piano are.
They are often above or in front of the tuning pins or in between the strung sections of a grand or upright piano.
Here is a list of pictures that will help us determine the value of your piano:
- Pictures of the keyboard in three sections from left to right.
- Pictures all around the case of the piano to give us an idea of the cosmetic condition.
- Pictures looking through the strings at the soundboard.
- Pictures looking up from underneath on a grand piano, or on an upright looking at the back if possible.
Is your old ‘antique’ upright piano worth any money? Generally not.
Usually, your best bet is to call a piano moving company to haul it to a recycling facility. By the time we get an old upright performing optimally we have usually spent more money than the piano is worth. We use Manny’s Piano Moving: 612-529-4268.
Is your old ‘antique’ grand piano worth any money? Maybe.
Most older grands don’t make sense for a shop to pick up. By the time we cover freight, tuning and other prep, we would usually have more into the piano than it is worth. If it is a Steinway, Bösendorfer, or other high end piano, then it may have what we call a ‘core value’. A ‘core piano’ is a piano that we consider a good candidate for a complete rebuild. Steinway core pianos are by far the most common cores that we deal in. A decent Steinway core may have value, given that not only the ‘bones’ of the piano are good, but the case as well; a piano with too many serious case issues can quickly become cost prohibitive.
Donating your piano may not be the right thing to do.
If your piano is not worth selling, then it is usually not worth donating. Many institutions get stuck footing the bill for disposal. An institution may feel good about getting, and the donor may feel good about giving, but please be mindful. The people that handle financials are usually not piano technicians or musicians--one can see that between two well meaning parties, a problem rather than a gift can be given.
Be mindful of charities. Look at their federal form 990 tax disclosures and make a good choice. Years ago, we encountered one with roughly the same sales revenue as us. They did not pay for their inventory like us, yet we donated more to charity than they did--cash and in kind. The rest went to ‘overhead’. Be mindful. They might not have any business being in the business--charity or otherwise.
We can facilitate special donations.
In addition to our own donations and sponsorships, we can facilitate quality donations directly to committed institutions and people. We make nothing. Our mission is to promote the art of the piano for the sake of itself, for the betterment of the lives of those who learn, and for the betterment of our community. We can pair you with a recipient, facilitate logistics, and provide a valuation for tax purposes.