Steinway Pianos – Investing in History
This is an investment that may be music to the ears of some, especially those fans of golden era pianos. Investing in a Steinway Piano may not be the most liquid asset, or the most portable for that matter, but it is an investment in something truly unique. This is especially true when investing in a classic “golden age” Steinway piano, like those made by the legendary company in the first half of the twentieth century, a period that some have come to call the Golden Age of Pianos.
The Steinway Piano holds a venerated place among musical instruments, known the world over, coveted by the world’s best musicians, revered like only a few other names such as Stradivarius, Gibson, and Fender. These pianos typically fetch several tens-of-thousands of dollars on the open market, and that is when one is fortunate enough to find the model that you seek, in a condition worthy of purchase, whether for use or investment – or both.
There are only a handful of Piano companies that continue to manufacture from the United States, most notably Steinway and Baldwin. In 1909, in the heyday of American Piano manufacture, almost 400,000 pianos were sold in the United States, build by any of the almost 300 active US manufacturers. By 1995 the national total had fallen to below 100,000, with that number peaking around 100,000 only a handful of times between 1995 and present, and not at all since the financial crisis of 2008.
To the point of our topic however, the fiercest competition for new Steinway sales is, well Steinway itself. Used Steinways in excellent condition often fetch a multiple of their original price, golden age Steinways often topping that list. Several firms specialize in the sourcing of these classic pianos, Park Avenue Pianos is one of the most well known of these, specializing in finding rare and mint condition Steinway Pianos for enthusiasts and known for some of their charitable and celebrity partnerships featuring Steinway Pianos.
Finding a firm such as Park Avenue or another highly reputable agent is a key to finding an investment quality piano with a higher likelihood of appreciating in value. Understanding which models are most rare, and most in demand, and then evaluating each individual instrument before purchase is key, as these are not commodity items. The selection of a concert piano or a baby grand as an investment can be a rewarding one in many senses, but be sure to do your due diligence. The upside, a Steinway will bring music and joy unlikely to be matched by many other investment choices, after all when is the last time your family gathered around your bond portfolio for an evening’s entertainment.