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Value of Old Player Pianos

This is not a popular opinion but it is none the less true. For every roll-operated player piano that gets converted to a MIDI-operated machine or ends up in a landfill, the value of those that remain increases. Back in January 2000, Art Reblitz wrote an article in which he said, "There is an abundant supply of old player pianos. Tens or hundreds of thousands still exist in relatively good restorable condition. They have never been an investment that necessarily goes up in value faster than the rate of inflation. They are primarily home entertainment devices with great nostalgic value, capable of providing many hours of enjoyment for the owner who enjoys piano music. They should not be thought of as rarities. To paraphrase my good friend, the brilliant rare coin dealer Q. David Bowers, "Anything that was originally very common will never be rare." To see the whole article, go to: https://www.player-care.com/values2.html

Since the late 1990's I've been telling people that player pianos won't become legitimate antiques until they're 100 years old. I was given that information when I was an apprentice at the Tusting Piano Co in 1975. At that time, I was also told (by my 93-year old mentor) that pianos didn't become antiques until they were 125 years old. So, a small percentage of player pianos are now antiques, and by 2025 the vast majority of those that remain will be antiques. By then, virtually all of the people who enjoyed these instruments when they were new will no longer be alive, but a fair number of their children will still remember they years of enjoyment they had listening to or actually pumping their folk's player piano.

Also, we have to consider that the number of people who are still doing complete restorations is constantly diminishing while the cost of living is continually increasing. Those two facts are driving the cost (and subsequent value) of the instruments up. At some point in time, the majority of players that remain will be owned by the rich and they will be novelty items in their game rooms or bars.

I suppose my point is that seeing these instruments converted to MIDI (or solenoid-operated) players isn't such a bad thing. The advantages I see are (a) it keeps them in the public eye and (b) it decreases the number or original players.

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This page was last revised May 14, 2017 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
For The Accuracy or Validity of the Statements and/or Opinions
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Since "Player-Care" is an internet business, I prefer that we correspond via E-Mail (click here to fill out the 'Request Form'). However, if I'm not in the middle of some other activity, you can reach me at 732-840-8787. But please understand that during the hours from 8AM-5PM EST (Mon-Sat), I'm generally quite busy. So, I probably won't answer the phone. If you get the answering machine, please leave a detailed message stating the reason for your call. Also, repeat your name and phone number clearly and distinctly. By necessity, I prioritize everything in my life. And, if you call and just leave your name and number, and ask me to call you back, it might be a day or two before I return your call. Why? Because I don't know why you want me to call and I might not be prepared to assist you in an effective and efficient manner. If you leave me an E-Mail address (which I prefer), spell it out phonetically. The more you do to help me, the more I can help you in return. Don't rush. You have four minutes to record your message.

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