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#2156828 - 09/24/13 12:41 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT


That is why properly rebuilt Steinways are the main competition for new Steinways. They can represent the best value. The really good ones are priced a little low in todays market due to the weak economy.


Ed, this is absolutely true. And I generally find that the rebuilt S&Ss sound better than the new ones, so it's a great value all the way around!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2156914 - 09/24/13 04:04 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
michaelha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 852
I love it when people use charts from the 20th century to try to predict future financial performance. Those days are gone, and aren't going to happen here (the USA) for a while. We'll be lucky if we can maintain our living standards and not spiral into a deflationary environment which the Feds have been fighting since the financial crisis.

Also reminds me of people who invest in wines. Supposedly it beat the market by a hair if you look at the past 25 years. And it has similar issues with storage and cooling. I think someone spun up a Bordeaux ETF.

Anyways, I prefer to drink my wines and play my piano, in that order.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2156921 - 09/24/13 04:17 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: laguna_greg]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10483
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Ed, this is absolutely true. And I generally find that the rebuilt S&Ss sound better than the new ones, so it's a great value all the way around!


A great value for everyone....except Steinway!
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2156955 - 09/24/13 05:07 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Piano Dad - apologies for slow reply. I don't check in as often as I used to. Yes, I have been to Steinway Hall a few times in the last couple of years. From my perspective I found it old fashioned and unattractive and if anything a drag on the brand, that kept S&S too anchored in the past. This is of course a very personal perspective (as I like cutting edge architecture) and others will have different, equally valid, views. As it happens I also find Steinway's facility in London to be beige, gloomy and old fashioned too!

However, for me, whilst the sales building may or may not attract me as a customer, it doesn't have much impact on the rational appreciation or otherwise of the pianos versus competing instruments from the likes of Fazioli and Steingraeber. Not that I am in the market anymore.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#2156981 - 09/24/13 05:36 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Steve Cohen]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Ed, this is absolutely true. And I generally find that the rebuilt S&Ss sound better than the new ones, so it's a great value all the way around!


A great value for everyone....except Steinway!

Steve,

The exclamation point reveals your rather snide attitude toward Steinway. Pity.

You might consider an alteration to your signature line, such as:

"My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients, or of Larry Fine and the publication I represent."
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2156983 - 09/24/13 05:41 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Withindale]
Voltara Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/09
Posts: 126
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Do you, does anybody, have any figures over the past, say, 125 years for the price of a Steinway D at actual and "present" values compared to commodoties such as a loaf of bread or whatever yardsticks are used for this sort of thing?

As an investment, loaves of bread would likely prove even more problematic than Steinways with respect to cost of climate-controlled storage and deterioration in condition over the span of 125 years...

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#2156990 - 09/24/13 05:46 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
A loaf of bread is one of the commodities used to determine inflation rates.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2157003 - 09/24/13 06:06 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10372
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
As an investment, loaves of bread would likely prove even more problematic than Steinways with respect to cost of climate-controlled storage and deterioration in condition over the span of 125 years...


Geez, and all this time I thought it improved with age, just like a piano …
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https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2157066 - 09/24/13 08:20 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Steve Cohen]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Ed, this is absolutely true. And I generally find that the rebuilt S&Ss sound better than the new ones, so it's a great value all the way around!


A great value for everyone....except Steinway!


Steve My Dear,

Value is always held only in the eye of the buyer.

All your comment really means is that "Steinway", whoever they are at the moment, should learn from their own history (but has not). Amazing how this is a lesson most everybody in business skips over, including yourself obviously (that you can say out loud, anyway).

The mourners are coming in a good fortnight. I've collected enough ashes, now that the weather has turned. All we lack is enough sackcloth and perhaps, by then, I can...
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2157177 - 09/25/13 12:10 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 543
Loc: CO, USA
Hello Piano dad,

I appreciate you entertaining the question. It is clear that that there are better investment vehicles, the exercise was just to see if it was a 'bad' or unviable one.

A couple comments though, some in my original comments, others not.

Storage Environment. It is of course much more viable if if your natural environment around your storage is favorable enough. I can say my 1933 piano, original, works good, and it has not seen anything close to an ideal environment.

Can it be sold as new: As I mentioned, you have to subtract out the dealer costs. But dealers have pianos sitting around for years that they sell as new. I have often wondered about the Estonia, which has been rising fast in value as its reputation has come up. Has it been worth while for dealers just to hold them in anticipation of a better price the following year or so?

Art case (or not): Indeed a special but timeless design that distinguishes it from a commodity item should certainly be favorable.

Opportunity costs of the space: Yes, the unused pingpong table in the insulated but unfinished part of the basement has to go, or maybe that ugly wet bar that the previous owner made in the 70's. With a simple unistrut rack, I could probably store 3-4 high. In all seriousness though, I am guessing a Ferrari or Aston Martin would be better investment use of the space. Obviously this concept only works as an incremental cost within an existing infrastructure. If you have to build a building, well.

Incremental percentage rate of gain over inflation: I actually think my way of quantifying it was easier to evaluate. 75/24 or 3.2x multiple on inflation (or subtract one, 220% of inflation, as a percentage) over the long term. It is hard to see the effect of a delta in percentages compounded over the long term.

Insurance: I definitely forgot this one, the capital investment must be protected from impairment. I happened to call my insurance agent today for some other business, and what do you know, my default personal belongings allowance as it is will cover one new big S&S. Now, I am wondering conversely, how much would it cost insurance-wise to make sure that any retirement capital I have placed in the stock market will also be there when I retire. That cost would have to be subtracted as a quantification of the risk. Yes, I know I am lumping market risk into the pot. If people don't want pianos any more (god forbid) the basement piano is also impaired. Well you can still play it!

>you wrote:The ground is not covered in $20 bills for us to find with no effort. There is a reason for this. Even if the federal reserve periodically dropped money by helicopter all over the streets, it would tend to get picked up pretty quickly. Point: obvious profit opportunities don't tend to last. People pick up the bills. How many Steinways are sitting unused in perfect climate-controlled storage in order to beat the crap out of financial markets 30-40 … 100 years in the future. Not many, I'll warrant. No bills waiting to be picked up.

Yes, this rarity could potentially lead to the item being of unusually high value.

Forgive me for wasting everyone's time (and darn I have wasted mine). I have no forseeable intention of doing this. I hope at least this provided some entertainment value, and possibly better ideas than mine will develop.

Best wishes-


Edited by phacke (09/25/13 01:05 AM)
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Hndel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

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#2157190 - 09/25/13 12:51 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Rich Galassini]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 543
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Originally Posted By: phacke
Feel free to poke holes in the thinking:

100 y span taken to round-out short term macro factors:
Inflation , y2013/y1913 = $23.62/$1 =23.6
Ref:
http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

Dow Jones Industrial y2013/y1913= $15000/$1786 = 8 MINUS taxes when DJI components change
Ref:
http://www.macrotrends.net/1319/dow-jones-100-year-historical-chart

Edit, inappropriate reference data

Steinway dealer Steinway M mahogany list price y2013/y1913 $69900/$930 = 75.2, > 3x inflation
Ref:
Mr Verhnjak old ads: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2113063/1.html
& Larry Fine's 2013 Piano Buyer

It is assumed that the old S&S is stored optimally, analogous to fine Burgundy, oil painting, etc., and professionally resold.


I love what you did here phacke. I wonder how other brands would fair that have been around for a century. Is Steinway unique in beating inflation in their retail selling prices or has it simply become more expensive to make a great piano?

How would Mason & Hamlin, Bechstein, Bosendorfer, and others fair in this same comparison? I don't have the answer - just asking the question.


Hello Mr. Galassini,

In all seriousness, I would compare the these figures with the cost of capital, and then see if there is any upside to think about.

Best regards-
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Hndel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

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#2157199 - 09/25/13 01:24 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: phacke]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi phake,

One thing you've forgotten is the cost of renovation/rebuilding in your estimates. Well, not only you, but everyone who's commented on the actuarial analysis.

After >25 years, the instrument will require some kind restoration or other, even if it has not been played at all. How much? What kind? This is not an insignificant cost and can easily undermine any calculation of long-term worth. We're probably talking about, what, $20K US at a minimum? What about sound board failure in this time frame, even if it is in the minority of instruments? Suddenly, the cost is not so small.

Please, let me/us know what you think!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2157219 - 09/25/13 02:04 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: laguna_greg]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3339
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Please, let me/us know what you think!


Last year, the factory owned gallery here did a presentation for the PTG chapter on appraising the Steinway piano. If my memory is correct, the presenter said that the cost of their Restoration Center rebuilds are 85% of what a new comparable instrument would cost. Other non OEM rebuilders can cost from 70%-80%, or more. Anything less than this will likely yield sub-par work.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2157225 - 09/25/13 02:27 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: laguna_greg]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 543
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi phake,

One thing you've forgotten is the cost of renovation/rebuilding in your estimates. Well, not only you, but everyone who's commented on the actuarial analysis.

After >25 years, the instrument will require some kind restoration or other, even if it has not been played at all. How much? What kind? This is not an insignificant cost and can easily undermine any calculation of long-term worth. We're probably talking about, what, $20K US at a minimum? What about sound board failure in this time frame, even if it is in the minority of instruments? Suddenly, the cost is not so small.

Please, let me/us know what you think!


Greetings, Mr. Greg.

As for soundboard, how about loosening the string in storage to remove load on the board? As for the action parts, I think keeping the critters out would be a prime consideration. I am interested myself in how the hammers might change with time, if at all. There is no upside for sure if you have to rebuild it.

Best wishes-
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Hndel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

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#2157510 - 09/25/13 03:34 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: phacke]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Retail estimates I know of, in US dollars,

replace hammers- $3-6,000
replace strings- $5-7,000
replace soundboard- $10-15,000
remake custom keyboard- Jeepers, anybody have a price on that?
refinish case- $5-10,000
fancy stuff with the scale geometry- ? Oy!
reshaping the capo bar- ? (I can't even guess)
custom action work- anybody care to comment?

Felts harden/deteriorate over time even if you don't play them.
Soundboards crack more because of changes in atmospheric conditions than anything else.
Strings rust whether you play them or not.
You might want some obvious things improved a bit by a master rebuilder e.g. the capo bar, etc., if it will make a big difference in the end.

So even if you store the instrument perfectly over 25+ years, you are still talking a significant capital investment over time in maintenance and upkeep. Heck, 30 years from now you might want to try one of the new-fangled actions in your old Steinway. How much will that cost?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2157793 - 09/26/13 03:43 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 543
Loc: CO, USA
Hi Mr. Greg,
This is still alive? OK.
You wrote: After >25 years, the instrument will require some kind restoration or other, even if it has not been played at all.

Let's use that 25 y lifetime and assume that is at 25 C and 50% RH. Degradation processes are usually Arrhenius in nature, and can be approximated with a factor of 2 increase degradation rate with a 10 C increase of Temperature. If we take that to the basement in the new mexico mountains where the ground temperature is less than 50F(10C), and maintain the piano for most of the year at 10C or less, that factor change in degradation rate is 0.36. 25 years/.36 = 70 years.

Now, the influence of RH is less cut and dry, but on average it seems that a 10% RH increase leads to a 1.5 increase in degradation rate. If we can maintain the RH in the desert basement at around 20 % RH (The meter I saw in Steinway Hall in NY around x-mas time said 17%RH), the change in degradation rate factor goes from .36 to .11. So, 25 years/.11 = 227 years before rebuild is necessary. I hope I got the math right, but it definitely gives the general idea.

> Heck, 30 years from now you might want to try one of the new-fangled actions in your old Steinway.

Something like this is actually the very biggest risk that I see. However, S&S has been very consistent in their model designations. I think this has helped the rebuild business and the value of old S&S pianos. Yamaha, Kawai makes nice pianos, but when their old model is replace by a new model, the prices of the old models go down.

If I got wind that Steinway were to buy out WNG, and such components were to become the new norm incompatible with the old ones, or some major change like that, I would immediately try to liquidate this hypothetical inventory before it did.

When Kohlberg groups bid for S&S, it looked like it was in the Kohlberg DNA to make complementary acquisitions. I wouldn't have been surprised if they would have moved to make such major changes.

All the best-


Edited by phacke (09/26/13 05:14 AM)
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Hndel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

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#2157797 - 09/26/13 03:57 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
michaelha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 852
OK, nevermind. I guess I'll just buy a mutual fund at T.Rowe Price.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2157862 - 09/26/13 07:36 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 514
Loc: California
Challenging Steinway's statements that a piano is an "investment" in the very strict financial sense (and not meaning its an investment in your quality of life, intellectual development, etc) is completely fair. It's really hard to imagine that anyone would seriously consider a piano a financial investment (with rare exceptions for historically significant instruments.)

It's odd that Steinway's primary pitch is investment and prestige value, and not as a musical instrument.

And you wonder if the brand will continue to go this way. I'd bet that you'd start seeing some "Boston" and "Essex" models start to use the Steinway brand as their primary designator.
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2157883 - 09/26/13 08:34 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: phacke]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9250
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: phacke

Greetings, Mr. Greg.

As for soundboard, how about loosening the string in storage to remove load on the board?


This is not really possible with a compression crowned board. The load is part of what keeps it intact in the first place.
_________________________
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Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#2157886 - 09/26/13 08:40 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10483
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Ed, this is absolutely true. And I generally find that the rebuilt S&Ss sound better than the new ones, so it's a great value all the way around!


A great value for everyone....except Steinway!

Steve,

The exclamation point reveals your rather snide attitude toward Steinway. Pity.

You might consider an alteration to your signature line, such as:

"My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients, or of Larry Fine and the publication I represent."


Hi Marty.

You misinterpreted my position. Used Steinway sales and the prices that they sell for benefit buyers, rebuilders, and dealers. However, they are the major competition for new Steinways.

That point was overlooked in the post I commented on.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2157911 - 09/26/13 09:19 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Steve Cohen]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1941
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Ed, this is absolutely true. And I generally find that the rebuilt S&Ss sound better than the new ones, so it's a great value all the way around!

A great value for everyone....except Steinway!

That comment was no doubt in jest, but in fact it is highly debatable. One could argue convincingly that the demand for new Steinways would fall if there were no ready market for used ones.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2157917 - 09/26/13 09:31 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: michaelha]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10372
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: michaelh
OK, nevermind. I guess I'll just buy a mutual fund at T.Rowe Price.


Wise choice. grin

This discussion of what set of wacky notions might allow us to generate a "Steinway Platinum Fund" of warehoused instruments is theater of the absurd.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2157923 - 09/26/13 09:46 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
wimpiano Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1309
Loc: The Netherlands
It's just a matter of time until you can buy "Steinway Piano Futures" on the commodities markets. Personally I would hedge any "quality risk" with a straddle of a Steinway Piano Future Call Option and a Steinway Piano Future Put Option ensuring my self of either making money or getting hold of the underlyer which might be of resale value for investors from emerging markets. I would also hedge the inflation risk. Furthermore, if I were Steinway, I would sue any other big piano maker because they also use strings which (if you consider it) must be a Steinway invention anyway...

And by the time I was done investing, hedging and suing I would be too old and either mentally or physically unable to play..


Edited by wimpiano (09/26/13 09:52 AM)
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S ..

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#2157938 - 09/26/13 10:13 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Thrill Science]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2313
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science

It's odd that Steinway's primary pitch is investment and prestige value, and not as a musical instrument.


Really? Are you sure about that?
_________________________
Gary

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#2157941 - 09/26/13 10:23 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Withindale]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Withindale
That comment was no doubt in jest, but in fact it is highly debatable. One could argue convincingly that the demand for new Steinways would fall if there were no ready market for used ones.

Ian,

I'm not so sure it was in jest. Steve has taken shots at S&S in a number of previous threads, most notably the use of the term "All Steinway School." I read the exclamation point to be an expression of 'Goody, Steinway won't benefit.'

The thing that concerns me is his position with "Piano Buyer" and that he often makes statements as facts, or personal opinion which runs contrary to the purpose of "PB". Everything he states carries the weight of the publication unless he states a disclaimer. Such a disclaimer is not contained in his signature line, as I pointed out. In fact, it is prominently omitted.

Mr. Fine works to provide information which is fair and balanced. For that reason, his publication is consistently recommended to piano shoppers and piano lovers alike. The statements of Mr. Cohen often are of a very different tone or viewpoint than that of the publication. It is the juxtaposition of opinion which, I believe, is not clear to the readers of Piano Forum.

It is easy for those of us who are regulars to react with, "Oh, that's just Steve ... " However, to the new member, and new members show up daily with questions, a contradiction often arises. "Piano Buyer" is recommended, yet its most prominent representative on this forum publically opines in very different directions.

I hold a great deal of respect for Steve. He is well respected in the industry and has a wealth of experience. However, it is often unclear if his viewpoint is personal opinion, or if he is making statements as an employee and representative of the publication. The implication of his association with "Piano Buyer" is always a factor in any of his postings.

The owner of Piano World is very clear in the requirement that professionals in the industry clearly state their affiliation and/or position. This allows all readers to make their own assessment, and draw their own conclusions, about what, and how, information and opinion is presented. When there is a dual affiliation, a unique situation is created and that situation raises questions of conflict of interest. Clarity of viewpoint becomes important.

Sincerely,
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#2157944 - 09/26/13 10:29 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1776
Gary: That was certainly the basis on which a Steinway dealer tried to sell me one some years ago. Essentially, according to this dealer, there were four reasons to buy a Steinway, in the following order of importance:

1. Investment value
2. Prestige factor
3. Because no other piano is worth owning and no other dealership can be trusted, it follows that Steinway is the one to buy (from this dealership, of course).
4. Steinways are the best pianos.

I think that the very unhappy time I spent at the particular Steinway dealership played an important role in my view of the brand. It would have been one thing if I had fallen in love with a Steinway piano, but I did not.

One helpful aspect of the Piano Forum has been reporting by others who were shopping for pianos and who were reading Steinway dealership websites that caused me to conclude that my experience at the particular dealership was not unique. I might otherwise have written it off as an unfortunate peculiarity of the particular dealership. As it stands, however, I am inclined to the view that Steinway itself must bear some responsibility, given how widespread the sales pitch seems to be.

In any event, I did not fall in love with a Steinway piano--to the contrary, I did not even like the new ones I tried all that much.



Edited by Rank Piano Amateur (09/26/13 10:48 AM)

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#2158402 - 09/27/13 04:25 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Caowner2013 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 79
As a consumer shopping for a grand, I have never understood the "investment" angle.

An object that has "investment" value needs intrinsic value that appreciates over time. Gold, precious jewels and stones, arts, certain antiques, items that are rare and unique and are generally valued by everyone to be something worthy of acquisition.

A piano made in gold? Studded with diamonds or precious jewels? Played and owned by Bernstein? Rubinstein? Horowitz? Stern? Beethoven himself?

A standard piano does NOT appreciate over time. Every single person buying a used piano is looking to pay less for it. Base on our analysis, purchasing and then owning a piano actually incurs significant and non-trivial ongoing costs.

If a loan is used for the purchase, there is interest cost. Environmental control adds cost, insuring a piano adds cost, changing the fire-sprinklers to something not water costs a bundle, regular tuning adds cost, periodic regulation service adds cost, piano cover, string cover, key cover and bench are all costs. Inflation itself is a form of cost in resale price. Moving it also can incur costs.

The actual purchase price itself has long-term cost because it can no longer be invested in something else that can actually appreciate; like stocks? other forms or securities? What would I get in 10 years if I invest $X dollars in Google or Apple or Microsoft versus sinking that amount into a piano? Especially when some stocks pay dividends?

We have heard salespeople using this "investment" pitch and we just politely ignore them. A standard piano does not appreciate in value and has no intrinsic monetary value worthy of being an "investment" target.

What is truly valuable are the intangibles. We may love the sound. The kids may enjoy learning and improve rapidly. I may start taking lessons and discover the inner musician. The ability to bring wonderfully played live music into the house. The opportunities to spend quality and memorable times together as a family. All those are much more important when considering a purchase.

Just my two dollars :-). Two cents ain't worth much these days :-).


Edited by Caowner2013 (09/27/13 04:34 AM)

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#2158497 - 09/27/13 09:28 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10483
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Withindale
That comment was no doubt in jest, but in fact it is highly debatable. One could argue convincingly that the demand for new Steinways would fall if there were no ready market for used ones.

Ian,

I'm not so sure it was in jest. Steve has taken shots at S&S in a number of previous threads, most notably the use of the term "All Steinway School." I read the exclamation point to be an expression of 'Goody, Steinway won't benefit.'

The thing that concerns me is his position with "Piano Buyer" and that he often makes statements as facts, or personal opinion which runs contrary to the purpose of "PB". Everything he states carries the weight of the publication unless he states a disclaimer. Such a disclaimer is not contained in his signature line, as I pointed out. In fact, it is prominently omitted.

Mr. Fine works to provide information which is fair and balanced. For that reason, his publication is consistently recommended to piano shoppers and piano lovers alike. The statements of Mr. Cohen often are of a very different tone or viewpoint than that of the publication. It is the juxtaposition of opinion which, I believe, is not clear to the readers of Piano Forum.

It is easy for those of us who are regulars to react with, "Oh, that's just Steve ... " However, to the new member, and new members show up daily with questions, a contradiction often arises. "Piano Buyer" is recommended, yet its most prominent representative on this forum publically opines in very different directions.

I hold a great deal of respect for Steve. He is well respected in the industry and has a wealth of experience. However, it is often unclear if his viewpoint is personal opinion, or if he is making statements as an employee and representative of the publication. The implication of his association with "Piano Buyer" is always a factor in any of his postings.

The owner of Piano World is very clear in the requirement that professionals in the industry clearly state their affiliation and/or position. This allows all readers to make their own assessment, and draw their own conclusions, about what, and how, information and opinion is presented. When there is a dual affiliation, a unique situation is created and that situation raises questions of conflict of interest. Clarity of viewpoint becomes important.

Sincerely,


Marty,

First, ever since my relationship with Piano Buyer began, a disclaimer has been a part of my signature line. While I AM authorized to post on Piano World officially for PB and Larry, in those rare posts I always state that I am posting for them.

Second, you are mistaken in your interpretation of my comment that used Steinway sales benefit all parties "except Steinway". Many used Steinway sales are made to shoppers who otherwise would buy a new Steinway. In fact, I think most Steinway dealers (and likely the company itself) would agree that Steinway's biggest competition is the used/rebuilt Steinway market.

I have a great deal of respect for Steinway even though I have serious reservations about the "All Steinway School" designation being used by schools that have significant numbers of Boston and Essex pianos.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Top
#2158517 - 09/27/13 10:11 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Steve,

I may have misinterpreted your use of "except Steinway!" I was pointing out how it can also be misinterpreted by others and especially newcomers.

You do display your association with PB and it is quite prominent. Your disclaimer covers you and your clients, and you are not a client of PB, you are an employee or affiliate. The lack of PB in your disclaimer of opinion makes the inference that you are always speaking on behalf of PB, as opposed to your other professional entities with which you are affiliated.

You maintain that your statements are clear and well defined. I am merely pointing out to you, and other readers of your posts, that what you are stating carries a totally different weight because of your affiliation. Often it becomes unclear of the viewpoint from which you speak.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#2158524 - 09/27/13 10:22 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1941
Loc: Suffolk, England
Marty, Steve

Assuming you would like Steinway to prosper and succeed in the next decade and into the future, what advice would you give Mr Paulson were he to ask?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

Top
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