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#65950 - 02/04/09 01:33 PM Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
canadachris Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Hi,

I have the opportunity to buy an antique Schumann upright piano for $200. It has been well kept and tuned. Comes with original bench. Owner says it is over 100 years old, but in excellent condition and tuned. Pictures look good in terms of visual appearance.

I think it is a true upright (as opposed to a spinet) as it is quite tall.

For $200, I am thinking it would be a decent piano for casual playing. I did some research and it seems the older Schumanns, made in Chicago, were decent pianos.

So...spend the $200? TIA!

Chris

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#65951 - 02/04/09 02:26 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scharlott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 89
Loc: Fort Thomas, Kentucky
I am not really well qualified to advise, but I can point out that Larry Fine (in The Piano Book) provides a list of pianos from that general era that are the best candidates for refurbishing- Schumann is not on that list - which does not mean it is a poor candidate. Generally speaking, you can buy a decent new upright for what it would cost to make a piano of that age truly musical again.

Brad

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#65952 - 02/04/09 02:28 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
Keep in mind that there are moving and tuning costs associated with this piano. It really has no value at all. If there is something hidden wrong with it, like a cracked bridge, you would be stuck with a piece of trash that someone else got you to pay for.

Have you seen the piano? Do you know for certain that it has been tuned? At the very least, you should talk to the tuner. If you still want it, try offering less.

Schumanns were not particularly good pianos, but there was a certain level of craftsmanship in most pianos of that era. I do not think it would be a good "starter piano" for children to learn on. It would, at best, be more suitable for an adult dilettante to tootle on.
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#65953 - 02/04/09 02:37 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
If you like the sound of the piano, and the action is not causing you any undue stress get the piano. I am continually amazed at how most people on this forum are quick to say buy new, or that any piano over 25 years is past its prime.

I've played turn of the century uprights for the majority of my life and find them (well, some) to possess the richest and most beautiful tone available. The fact that these pianos are so devalued on this forum makes it very apparent (to me at least) that dealers of new pianos are successfully brainwashing the general piano buying public into thinking that the older pianos are not worth anything more then a few hundred dollars.

Seriously, $200 is probably $1000 to $1800 below its true value if it really has been maintained and tuned, and can still hold its pitch.
_________________________
Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#65954 - 02/04/09 02:50 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
canadachris Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Thanks all for the replies. I will be checking the piano out thoroughly and playing it before purchasing.

The buyer has offered for me to speak with the tuner and it looks like it has been well-kept.

I'm new to pianos, but have been playing guitar professionally for over 20 years. My best gear is the oldest gear - especially my Marshall amplifiers. Many older electric and acoustic guitars also hold tremendous value. A lot of the wood used back then you simply can't get now.

I would have imagined the same to be true of pianos?

I found this about Schumann - seems that this vintage were actually quite good pianos? As compared to the modern ones made in China...

In the roughly twenty years before and after the turn of the 20th c., Chicago was the world's greatest producer of pianos. The trade was predominated by Germans, whose more than sixty factories produced from 3,000 to 15,000 pianos a year.

Prior to that, the Schumann Co., and others such as Chickering, pioneered this surge in production, and their pianos were regarded as among the highest quality of the time.

This information is from

SCHUMANN
"A house of national reputation. Makers of only artistic pianos and player-pianos. Schumann instruments are made in their factory at Rockford, Illinois, where the industry was removed from Chicago in 1903. All instruments made by the Schumann Piano Co. and are of one quality, the highest; all bear the one name, Schumann, The Schumann piano has been honored by testimonials from many of the greatest artists and musician Schumann instruments are meeting with demand in foreign countries because of their ability, due to the individuality of construction, to withstand trying climatic conditions."

At the following website, you can find a date for your piano (not that kind of date) from the serial number. Enter the serial number, and the website will respond with a year of manufacture. The website contains a great deal of information, including where to locate a serial number.

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#65955 - 02/04/09 03:04 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scharlott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 89
Loc: Fort Thomas, Kentucky
I think "true value" is generally determined by what something will fetch in the marketplace.

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#65956 - 02/04/09 05:05 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10335
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by canadachris:
I would have imagined the same to be true of pianos?
[/b]
Unfortunately, it is not. Pianos in that era were designed to last about 60-80 years. The overwhelming liklihood is that this piano is ready for "last rites".

However, there are exceptions, but it is a long shot.
_________________________
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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#65957 - 02/04/09 05:25 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
For $200 you can't go wrong if you already decided you like the piano. Maybe it costs some to move, but really you can hardly lose.

I wouldn't get too hung up on what the techs here will say because 1) it's your money and your taste and 2) if you decide you want to sell it and even if techs here would have given it "last rites", you're not going to be selling to them, but probably someone who likes old pianos and is not an expert in them - and the right buyer will be happy.

Should my old upright be restored? Not if I'm in it for logical reasons. Am I excited to do it anyway? Darn right. Why? Because it's a unique instrument and it's my choice. If you buy the Schumann piano, that could be your feeling, too.
_________________________
Scott

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#65958 - 02/04/09 06:31 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
canadachris Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Yeah, that is my thinking too. It's only $200, I could probably move it myself with some friends and my 3/4 ton cargo van.

I grew up with a baby grand in our family home and that is how I learned. I plan to buy one at some point. However, we'd like to get our boys (4&2) familiar with the piano now and I'd like to pick up my skills again (played guitar past 20 years).

So for $200...if it plays well and sounds decent, I'll pick it up.

Thanks all (even the negatives)! If someone asked me about electric guitars and amps, I'd probably come off sounding a tad dismissive and elitist as well, not intentionally - just due to the difference in experience and knowledge levels.

Cheers,
C.

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#65959 - 02/04/09 10:54 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
I'm new to pianos, but have been playing guitar professionally for over 20 years. My best gear is the oldest gear - especially my Marshall amplifiers. Many older electric and acoustic guitars also hold tremendous value. A lot of the wood used back then you simply can't get now.

I would have imagined the same to be true of pianos?
The difference is that the strings on the old guitars have probably been replaced many times in their lifetimes, and even if they were not, new strings do not cost very much. On the other hand, piano strings are not likely to have been replaced, nor hammers, nor springs, or anything else that wears out just from age, let alone use. Replacing those things are serious money, and there are few people who can do that sort of work well.
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Semipro Tech

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#65960 - 02/04/09 11:30 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Argh.

We're talking about a $200 piano! Not $10,000! Not even $1000. Like I said before, and I will stick to this point: buy it if it can stay in tune and you like what it sounds and plays like. You don't NEED to change the strings, hammers, nor anything else if it is basically functional. I challenge anyone, anywhere to show me where one can find an instrument to use for say 5 years minimum, and only have to pay $200 upfront, and maybe $100 a tuning when needed or desired.

I started piano lessons on a 1910 Woodwards stencil brand that my parents bought used for $800 back in the 70s. Equivalent dollars spent today would be around $4000 as a rough estimate. The point is that piano was the cheapest they could find. That very same piano in the same condition as I remember it is probably in the same condition as the $200 one the OP is talking about. But the difference is it is 1/20 the price of what my parents paid.

It's $200. It's less than an ipod touch! It's less than 10 trips to McDonalds (unless you're vegan, then...um...)

Anyways, it really is worth more than the asking price. Too bad so many people are forcing the strange and unfortunate mindset that older pianos are nonfunctioning pso. Some are, granted, but many aren't.

grrr.
_________________________
Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#65961 - 02/05/09 01:31 AM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
I started piano lessons on a 1910 Woodwards stencil brand that my parents bought used for $800 back in the 70s. Equivalent dollars spent today would be around $4000 as a rough estimate. The point is that piano was the cheapest they could find. That very same piano in the same condition as I remember it is probably in the same condition as the $200 one the OP is talking about. But the difference is it is 1/20 the price of what my parents paid.
The problem is that the piano that was 60 odd years old in the 1970s is now 90 odd years old. That is a big difference.

In the 1970s I bought an old piano like that. It cost me $150, and it took me a long time to find one that was half-way decent then. Most of them were broken-down pieces of junk even then.

There are people giving pianos like this away, or paying to throw them away. That is the plain economic fact. If you pay any money for a piano like this, you are spending too much.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#65962 - 02/05/09 03:12 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
[QUOTE]

In the 1970s I bought an old piano like that. It cost me $150, and it took me a long time to find one that was half-way decent then. Most of them were broken-down pieces of junk even then.

There are people giving pianos like this away, or paying to throw them away. That is the plain economic fact. If you pay any money for a piano like this, you are spending too much. [/b]
Obviously your experience has been completely different than mine, and obviously your attitude towards older pianos is completely different as well.

I imagine if I were a piano technician solely basing a pianos worth on age and technical condition, and had to make my living tuning pianos, then perhaps I would have some of the same bias as you, but as a player who can appreciate a wide range of piano tones, touches and whatever else I find it very narrow minded to condemn all (or even most) older pianos as junk.

In my experience the worst pianos I've played (and currently still have to play) are the ones made in the 60s and 70s. But even these are still ok, and I'd never think of calling them junk. Do I know the difference between a new tier one instrument and a Gourley spinet? Of course I do. Do I compare them as equals? No, obviously not. But I think that too many on this forum condemn older pianos far more than anyone I've ever met, not including piano store owners who sell new instruments.

What is the purpose of promoting commercialism here? Not everyone can afford, nor want a new instrument.

And FWIW, I find it strange that the techs that seem to be at the forefront at times of disparaging older pianos don't know that they are biting the hand that feeds them.

And again, I challenge anyone to find fault with what I am saying, but please ensure that you read and understand what my point is before replying because I believe that most find it tiring to argue with someone that misinterprets then attacks based on incorrect assumptions.
_________________________
Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#65963 - 02/05/09 03:48 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
I am perfectly happy to supply you with as many old upright pianos as you want for $1000-2000 plus freight, cash in advance. Send me the money, and I will send you the pianos.

I never said not to buy this piano. I said it was overpriced, and that it is not what I would recommend for the stated intended use.

Also, I would not recommend a music teacher that says a piano like this is likely to be adequate for teaching young children, just as I would not recommend a typing teacher who thinks that a 1940s Underwood manual would be adequate for learning to type on today.
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Semipro Tech

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#65964 - 02/05/09 04:09 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
Piano Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/01/03
Posts: 400
Loc: Southern Ontario,Canada
Typewriters have evolved...pianos are still the same.
_________________________
Richard, the"Piano Guy"
Piano Moving Tuning & Repair
From London ON to Fort Erie ON

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#65965 - 02/05/09 04:27 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
I am perfectly happy to supply you with as many old upright pianos as you want for $1000-2000 plus freight, cash in advance. Send me the money, and I will send you the pianos.

I never said not to buy this piano. I said it was overpriced, and that it is not what I would recommend for the stated intended use.

Also, I would not recommend a music teacher that says a piano like this is likely to be adequate for teaching young children, just as I would not recommend a typing teacher who thinks that a 1940s Underwood manual would be adequate for learning to type on today. [/b]
I'm not sure who you are addressing here. Nobody is offering to buy a piano from you.

And "a piano like this?" I wasn't aware you had personally inspected it. Or am I missing something other than your bias (again) getting in the way of an informed opinion?

I also believe the teacher remark was somehow put in there to support your position by trying to diminish mine. Anything else you'd care to say that would actually support your argument other than questioning ones credibility with offensive statements? I suppose one could easily say one should never hire a tuner that can't seem to tune older instruments, but really, is that any better than what you have said?

Your opinion is thus: any piano over 80 years of age that has not had new strings nor hammers nor springs, etc is worth less than $200. Care to clarify?
_________________________
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#65966 - 02/05/09 04:53 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
But what's really important is if the person buying the piano likes it. I think a good analogy is how we pick a spouse. Yeah, sometimes it's based solely on "aesthetic" appeal ;\) ; young, vibrant and with everything top-notch. But most people have to settle (if that's the right word) for someone less than ideal in all respects.

Unlike most things in my life I look at my rather sad old Pease upright as a glass half-full, not half empty. Here's a piano that was around when Teddy Roosevelt was fighting. And it still makes music. It was never as good as a Steinway, maybe, and it has lots of flaws. It needs all the treble strings replaced and the action gone through, and the hammers and dampers replaced, and the keytops redone. And then there are cabinet issues.

But the good news is that I can eventually solve most of those flaws and have the piano back to what it once was - maybe better in some ways.

BDB makes good points, but I think he has become emotionally distanced from pianos, especially old ones. If he is in business selling pianos that's probably to his benefit. Me - I'm just a middle aged guy that doesn't like to see old things discarded when they still work. And my piano has a lot of beautiful features you don't find on new uprights. I guess it's a little like being married to a very old beauty queen who has some fake teeth and needs a couple major joints overhauled. I don't know what the Schumann piano looks like, but if a person is willing to pay $200 for it, it is now worth $200 to at least one person.
_________________________
Scott

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#65967 - 02/05/09 05:14 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
For the record, my newest piano was originally built in 1926.
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Semipro Tech

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#65968 - 02/05/09 09:40 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
!! Got a picture, BDB?
_________________________
Scott

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#65969 - 02/05/09 10:41 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
DarkGreenChocolate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 307
Loc: Michigan
I'm with newguyonforum, for the most part. Cabinetry alone in 90-year-old pianos is often worth $200. I mean goodness, think of how little you'd get at Ikea for that amount of money! To say "any price is too high" is silly, IMHO, as is "true value is what the market will bear." You should buy what YOU like, for a price YOU think is fair. Nothing wrong with considering the market, expert opinions, etc., but I think you'd be a fool to subjugate your own taste to them.

If you're hoping to do a full restoration on the old girl, and make her into a concert instrument, that's of course a totally different matter. But if you just want to have some fun, and a cool-looking accessory, you could do a lot worse. Heck, you'd be hard-pressed to get a brand-new bench for that kind of change!

If I had room, I'd be trolling craigslist myself for an old upright--there are some real beauties out there apparently dying to be saved. And I could be slightly off here, but I'm not aware that many or any companies make full-size "saloon" uprights anymore, so buying new isn't really a meaningful alternative if a big upright suits you for whatever reason.

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#65970 - 02/07/09 08:24 AM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1904
Loc: El Cajon, CA
I too am a fan of the older uprights. Several months ago I got rid of my 57" Ricca & Son upright, because I was hoping to find a replacement that was a considerably larger piano, and better in every way. So far I haven't found "the one" yet, and for now am settling for TWO 1950s Baldwin Hamiltons. I'm still keeping my eyes open, though...

AFAIK the tallest upright currently made is 55" by Heintzman in China. Steingraeber makes a 54", Petrof makes a 53", and everyone else afaik tops out at 52".

And for those of you that may say my preference for where the bass/tenor break is doesn't make a difference.... to me, it does. I have been able to pick out the break in a LOT of pianos, stringing-scale unseen. In fact I accurately picked out the break of a piano in another thread (scroll down near the bottom of page 1). So, rather than try to smooth out the break, I have preferences generally on where the break is. I generally prefer to err on the side of running plain trichords a bit lower - for example, my favorite Baldwin Hamiltons (at the break) are the ones built in 1955 or earlier. However, the pre-rescaled Yamaha GA1 took it too far. Nearly all the 52" Asian uprights I've seen have wound strings too high, the only one that I'd consider though is the Kawai K35, depending on the overall tone. Also I'd want a music desk at LEAST as wide as on a Baldwin Hamilton.

Right now at Rick Jones pianos there is a Baldwin Hamilton on their uprights page. I really like the tone of that piano, but if I was going to pay that much for an upright, I'd want everything to be pretty much almost like new.

Also I'm keeping my ears open for an UPRIGHT(!) piano in which its bass tone is at least as much better than this (which is my old upright I got rid of), as that is better than this spinet I played once. I wasn't all that impressed with the few new Steingraebers and Heintzmans I've played, compared to what I believe my old upright would have sounded like if I had installed new hammers. (I won't require a bass as good as on the Rubenstein R-371, but I should mention that if I was getting a grand, a keyboard compass down to C0 would be required unless the piano was being sold for what a typical old worn-out school piano is often liquidated..)
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1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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#65971 - 02/07/09 10:59 AM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8067
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi,

After reading this thread I must say that I agree with both sides of this issue to an extent. As someone who has tinkered around with a few old uprights I can say that BDB knows what he is talking about as all three older pianos I have bought had issues like small cracks in the bridges and other issues; some issues I didn’t notice before I bought them.

Granted, I didn’t pay much for them but I didn’t get much either (though I thought I was getting a bargain). I was able to repair two of them to decent playable condition but they still needed considerable work to be brought up to “like new” condition; they were still old pianos that sounded and played okay for a beginner or occasional non-serious player. However, the refinished cabinets did look nice. One of the pianos, a 1907 Conover 53” upright actually sounded very good but still needed considerable work (which I just didn’t want to dedicate the time). I lost money on the two I sold, not counting the hours of labor I had invested. I did have fun and learned a lot about pianos.

I would say there is a small, nitch market for older upright pianos but they all will need expensive TLC (whether you are a DIY or not).

Take care,

Rick
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Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#65972 - 02/07/09 11:39 AM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8067
Loc: Georgia, USA
By-the-way, here is a pic of the 1907 Conover. I sold it to my sister-in-law who loves it.

Rick

1907 Conover upright
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#65973 - 02/07/09 12:12 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4182
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Canadachris,

Your quote:

“SCHUMANN
"A house of national reputation. Makers of only artistic pianos and player-pianos. Schumann instruments are made in their factory at Rockford, Illinois, where the industry was removed from Chicago in 1903. All instruments made by the Schumann Piano Co. and are of one quality, the highest; all bear the one name, Schumann, The Schumann piano has been honored by testimonials from many of the greatest artists and musician Schumann instruments are meeting with demand in foreign countries because of their ability, due to the individuality of construction, to withstand trying climatic conditions.

At the following website, you can find a date for your piano (not that kind of date) from the serial number. Enter the serial number, and the website will respond with a year of manufacture. The website contains a great deal of information, including where to locate a serial number."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regarding the original posting, and then the reference to Schumann (Chicago).

A total of 5 companies used this name with the very same spelling. Schumann, of London a stencil piano, Schumann of Canada, made by the Bell Piano Company and then the Lesage Company after 1934, Schumann of Chicago as mentioned, Carl Schumann of Leipzig and then Schumann of New York.

You will have to look inside the instrument to be certain of the manufacturer…..but you can have a lot of fun for $200.00.....

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#65974 - 02/07/09 02:08 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scharlott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 89
Loc: Fort Thomas, Kentucky
My point point about "true value" is simply that true value is not really different (in an economic sense) from marketplace value as determined by what people are willing to spend.

If you think a piano that is listed for $200 has a true value of $1,000, then I assume you mean that with better advertising or marketing or more patience to wait for the right buyer, you would eventually get $1,000.

But if you mean that the $200 piano would be worth $1,000 after $800 worth of reconditioning, then its current value is still $200.

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#65975 - 02/07/09 02:22 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
My point point about "true value" is simply that true value is not really different (in an economic sense) from marketplace value as determined by what people are willing to spend.

If you think a piano that is listed for $200 has a true value of $1,000, then I assume you mean that with better advertising or marketing or more patience to wait for the right buyer, you would eventually get $1,000.

But if you mean that the $200 piano would be worth $1,000 after $800 worth of reconditioning, then its current value is still $200.
The other side is that the marketplace value can be determined by what the seller is willing to take. All too often for these pianos, the seller is willing to give them away.

It is also possible that after you spend $200 on a piano and $800 on reconditioning, you may not be able to sell it for more than $500.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#65976 - 02/07/09 03:04 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8067
Loc: Georgia, USA
Okay, if you all really want to know… I had about $450 invested in the old Conover, not including 50+ hours of labor tinkering, repairing, adjusting, tuning and refinishing the cabinet and I sold it for $150. My sister-in-law is the one who got the bargain.

But, Like Dan said, I had more than $450 worth of fun. \:D

However, I’d never survive in the used piano business. ;\) \:D

Take care,

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#65977 - 02/07/09 07:04 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
ScottM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 549
Loc: Southern Oregon
BDB is absolutely correct. Investing money in an old piano doesn't guarantee you'll ever get it back. In fact, you're practically guaranteed not to get it back.

But still, up to a certain point I think a huge number of old pianos can be made serviceable with a modest outlay.

I'm not sure about the advisability of restoring a lot of pianos from the 1920s and 1930 that are way over the hill, but I feel much differently about pianos up to about 1910. So many of those have such interesting (and sometimes bizarre) casework, I think they almost always deserve being fixed up. Besides, if they made it this far it seems a heinous thing to let them decay to dust. Think of all the wonderful 18th and early 19th century instruments we'd have around today if people hadn't thought they were worthless 100+ years ago and taken them to the dump - or burned them.
_________________________
Scott

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#65978 - 02/07/09 08:11 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
DarkGreenChocolate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 307
Loc: Michigan
Excellent point, ScottM--and others on the "conservationist" side.

A piano doesn't HAVE to be restored--nor do other old things. I'm currently using a toaster, blender, mixer, and iron that are 50+ years old, as well as some furniture at or near the century mark. This is all quite different from a piano, I realize, but I think at some point the debate becomes as much philosophical, or aesthetic, as practical or economical. When I look at Rickster's pic of the old Conover, for ex., I instantly think, "beautiful piano! hideous bench!" Of course I don't know how the one sounds or the other feels, but to some extent I'd enjoy the old piano and dislike the newer bench regardless of sound, price, etc.

I understand where the anti-old upright folks are coming from when they talk about "value" and difficulty of restoration, but I think they should be careful: feeling emotionally connected to a piano may at times confound economics, logic, technical expertise, and other considerations, but it is, in the end, the only reason for anyone to buy any piano, new or old, upright or grand.

Personally, one of my most memorable piano experiences was when, after not touching a keyboard for a year or more, I got to play a beaten-up old "saloon" upright languishing in the corner of a ranch cafeteria. Some keys were without ivories, others didn't work, tuning was way off, action was uneven, but the environment was great, the moment was perfect, and I've rarely been more thrilled.

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#65979 - 02/08/09 09:30 PM Re: Antique Schumann upright - $200 - yes/no?
scharlott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 89
Loc: Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Rickster -I hope your sister-in-law knows what a great guy you are!

For all you lovers of antiques and antiquity - I get it. You can't judge everything by its dollar value. We have some pretty old stuff here at our house - my wife's family never has an estate sale when someone dies - they just build another outbuilding at the family farm to store the stuff or get one of the relatives to make room for various objects from bygone centuries.

Cheers,

Brad

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