Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano?

Posted by: Kevin C

Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 12:32 PM

Hello all!

This is my first post. I am not knowledgeable about pianos at all. I have a very good friend who wants to help her mother sell their piano. It was purchased many years ago by my friend's father who passed away a couple of years ago. My friend's mother needs to downsize now and the family's beloved piano has to go.

These are such nice people and I really want to help them get the best value from it and to hopefully do it in a way that does not require a lot of effort on the mother's part. She is alone but has some possible assistance from one of her sons, if needed.

The piano is a Bosendorfer 7’4” Grand Piano, Model 225, Polished Ebony finish, Serial No. 31351, circa 1976. It is in excellent condition. It is located in her home in Calgary.

I'm wondering about your general opinions on the plus and minuses of selling on eBay, Kijiji, piano dealer consignment etc. This is in context with the details that I have stated in this post. I like the idea of posting it here in the classified ads before any of the other options.

Any of your opinions would be very welcomed to help us to find this piano a new home and to get the best value for my friend's Mom. Thanks so much in advance!

Kevin
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 12:49 PM

I would try to find a dealer who is familiar with these instruments, can service it to showroom condition, and market it among that piano's few peers. This is not as fast as liquidating the piano, but can yield you what you want, fair value with low hassle. Online market places are largely listing services where little business is completed. Items with higher value like pianos expose you to more scammers.

I don't know who is in Calgary, so you may have to consider a market like Vancouver to find the right situation.
Posted by: jdw

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 01:07 PM

I was thinking too that a reputable dealer would be the way to go for sale of a piano like this one. My impression is that people searching the online piano ads are more likely to be looking for a bargain, even if they aren't scammers. I think it could be difficult to get the piano's full value from a private sale. Either way it could take some time to find the right buyer.

(I'm not in the piano business--just a shopper and buyer a couple of years ago.)
Posted by: Almaviva

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 05:56 PM

Kevin,

There is a Steinway dealer in Calgary, but I don't know anything about the firm's reputation.

A safer bet might be Heritage Pianos in Surrey, British Columbia,near Vancouver. They sell Sauter pianos, which are of comparable quality to Bosendorfers but are not as well-known. The owner, Norbert Marten, is a regular poster on this forum. He definitely knows his way around the piano business.

The toll-free phone number for Heritage Pianos is 1-866-667-2188.

Good luck.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 06:15 PM

Originally Posted By: jdw
... I think it could be difficult to get the piano's full value from a private sale...
I agree. People are usually somewhat apprehensive to hand over a certified cheque (as we say in Canada) of several ten thousand dollars in a private sale. On the other hand, if it goes on consignment, you can usually take about 30% of the purchase price and kiss it goodbye.
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 07:27 PM

The market in Calgary would be as good or better than our market in The greater Vancouver area. Plus the climate change would not be best for the instrument.

I'd contact Michael at http://www.michaellipnicki.com/pianosales.html
Posted by: Withindale

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 07:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Kevin C
... I am not knowledgeable about pianos at all ...

You might consider engaging the most reliable piano technician with a workshop in the Calgary area to advise you on the condition of the piano, its value, and what servicing needs to be done before it is ready to be sold to a new owner.
Posted by: Kevin C

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 08:09 PM

Wow! Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. It seems overwhelmingly, so far, that the opinion is to sell this through a dealer. I will continue to monitor this thread and gather and pass this information onto the family.
Posted by: Almaviva

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 09:56 PM

Thanks, Rod. I learned something today.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/16/13 11:47 PM

Hi Kevin,

I bet that piano was magnificent during its best days, and possibly still is. I agree with everybody's advice so far, although nobody's pointed out that the piano is quite valuable if it's anywhere near in good shape.

1- I have another dealer for you:

Louis Spencer Smith
http://www.allaboutpianos.com/aboutus.html

I know two people Louis represented selling their high-end, longer pianos in the last year; both of them had very good experiences with him. He seems to sell all over the West and all on line. If you decide to let him sell the piano, it probably won't even have to leave your friend's house in order to market it properly to buyers everywhere.

2- Don't be afraid to shop for a dealer. You should interview several before you make any commitments about either consignment or an outright sale. A couple of phone conversations will do the job very nicely to start. Also, the advice to get a technician to inspect the piano is essential. The dealer will certainly send in their techs as well, but your friend needs an independent and impartial opinion before negotiating any kind of deal.

Another thought about dealers. A small, regional dealer may not be able to market a high-end instrument like this one as well as a larger dealer in a major metropolitan area. Also, this is a really down market for pianos, and especially larger models like this one. Prices are depressed, and long pianos are taking longer to sell than a few years ago. If your friend wants to sell it anytime soon, the right dealer with the right marketing plan will really speed this up.

3- If your friend decides to sell it herself, the most popular way to market a high-end piano like that today is eBay/Craig's List; every dealer has their best pianos listed on both. As a matter of fact, you should look up that piano on eBay before you talk to anybody else if you haven't already done so. If you can find one like it, it will give you an idea about a tentative price range. As you'll see on eBay, that particular piano model is rare.

As far as selling on eBay or Craig's list, lots of pianos are sold that way. The ad has to be written properly, and include several good photo's. The seller has to be firm about the price, be good at negotiating, know for sure what shape the piano is in, insist on all the formalities of sale, and protect yourself from scams. Yes, you'll get quite a few lookie-lou's and oddballs who are not serious, and your house will become a showroom. But it's the easiest way to get close to your asking price. As somebody already pointed out, you'll hand over a hefty percentage if you consign it to a dealer.

Good Luck!
Posted by: BoseEric

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/18/13 07:08 AM

Be aware that this piano probably has ivory key tops which would make selling it into the US quite complicated and risky.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/18/13 09:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Kevin C
... I am not knowledgeable about pianos at all ...

You might consider engaging the most reliable piano technician with a workshop in the Calgary area to advise you on the condition of the piano, its value, and what servicing needs to be done before it is ready to be sold to a new owner.


I would also contact all the local piano technicians. They might well have clients that would be interested in a Bosey.
Posted by: Kevin C

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/18/13 07:23 PM

Hmmmm...this is a really good point. I just did some quick research. It seems as though the ivory is going to cause some issues if importing to the US. Thanks for mentioning that! I appreciate all of your responses to this thread!
Posted by: Kevin C

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/21/13 03:01 PM

Thanks again to all of you. The family now have this information and they have decided to consign the piano to a local business in Calgary.Your thoughtful opinions helped them to make this choice. One of the big priorities was to make it less stressful on their mother. Thanks again!
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Best method to sell a Bosendorfer Grand Piano? - 06/21/13 05:47 PM

Hi Kevin,

We all wish you and your friend the bast of luck. Also, I hope you have all escaped the flooding that's making headlines right now.

Be Safe!