Howard Piano Value – Assessing a Howard Piano’s Worth
Finding a quality vintage Howard piano is no simple task these days, so it’s not shocking to know that properly assessing the Howard piano value of an instrument you’re seeking is equally difficult. But in today’s article, I’ll walk you through this process (with various examples) so you can determine if a Howard piano you’re interested in (or want to sell) is worth its asking price.
Howard Piano Value – Good Deal or Bad Deal
Let’s take a look at a few Howard pianos on the marketplace and see what their asking price is compared to their overall condition in an effort to see if they appear to be overvalued or undervalued.
1) We start with a beautifully restored maple finished Baldwin Howard spinet at $1,995.00 at Piano Farm. Now, it’s worth noting that the Howard brand was a cheaper subsidiary of the larger Baldwin piano company. Nevertheless, this is a well-built piano, and if you particularly love Baldwin pianos, then I think this might add a bit of extra value in your eyes.
While I did like the refurbished effort done on this piano, I noticed some wear on the edges of the white keys with a few minor chips on the maple varnish. While these blemishes don’t devalue the piano tremendously, it is noticeable if you’re planning on buying a piano. This is a late 1960s model, and fits with the history that Baldwin phased out the Howard line at this time.
As a spinet, it’s a solid addition for the young student or adult looking to get started with a piano without putting in the high costs of an upright or grand piano.
2) Although baby grand pianos are a step below grand pianos, your average Yamaha Baby Grand will start at the $8K to $10K price range. By contrast, this Howard Baby Grand from 1943 is being priced at $2,500 through Piano Mart! A beautiful satin walnut piano from the height of World War II. For the price, it’s great for someone who has the space to fit a baby grand.
You’ll notice that the description of the piano states things like it has a small scratch (which can be buffed out), and that the seller is moving out of state (so the buyer is responsible for moving the piano him or herself). These kinds of things are important, because it’s situations like this where you can find a really amazing Howard piano (like this one) for such a reasonable price. Whenever a seller finds a piano to be a burden, you’re likely going to run into a pretty good deal.
3) From Alamo Music, we have another well-kept walnut finished Howard spinet from what it looks like the 1960s (with serial number 1118145) and in very good condition. From the crisp pictures, there are minor blemishes here for a vintage piano. I saw a sticker on the top door to access the interior, but it seems to be the store sticker with the price for people walking into the building.
Overall, with this people being listed in “very good” condition, I think this is a very nice deal when it comes to value.
4) From the Piano Man Superstore in Maryland, comes an ebony finished Howard baby grand piano for $5,600.00 (built in 1993). Now, although I have mentioned that the Howard name was phased out by Baldwin in the 1960s, this specific piano was made by the Japanese manufacturer Kawai. Do I recommend these pianos even though they were made by Kawai? Yes, because Kawai is an excellent piano maker and they have been making pianos for decades.
The price here is solid for a baby grand, and the description details some specifics from the year, the serial number, and length. These details may seem minor, but make a difference for someone who wants a baby grand, but needs to know the proper measurements to estimate whether it will fit in their home. Do note, if you’re looking for the best piano for a small space, a baby grand like this should NOT be on your shortlist.
5) Let’s take a look at another Howard Baby Grand from Cameron Piano, which is priced at $3,145.00 (down from its original price of $3,495.00). Like I previously said about the first baby grand we discussed today, this is a steal for anyone that wants to purchase a baby grand without the high price of a new Yamaha or Steinway.
Plus, you are getting the quality of the vintage Baldwin pianos of the 1950s and 1960s. What’s not to like when you’re trying to buy a piano of value and excellent quality?
For its age, this piano is in stunning condition with little to no nicks or bumps on the wood or varnish fatigue. That also goes for the player bench, little to no damage at all! The foot pedals do show signs of patina, but that is fairly common. This does not damage the overall playing condition if the piano has been taken care of, which it seems to have.
6) From Amro Music comes a walnut Howard grand piano for the price of $3,495.00 in satin walnut. Again, this is another beautiful piano for the low price! The pictures once again show a well kept piano for the price—and what a steal it is. Plus, for a vintage piano, the buyer can option for a two-year warranty.
I think this is an underrated aspect when it comes to evaluating a vintage piano’s value. If you know for two years that your used, 20th century piano is under warranty, I think gives you a lot more confidence to buy the piano.
What is the Average Price of a Howard Piano?
Well, like the Squier brand for the Fender company, the Howard was geared towards a lower financial bracket—but with the quality that Baldwin was known for.
For an average price, the spinets can drop down into the hundreds, and the expensive grand piano barely came up to $10,000. Based upon that, the Howard’s value is around the $350 to $8,500 price range. Once again, these values are dependent on the rarity and condition of the piano for sale.
Below, watch and listen to the sound of a Howard piano built by Baldwin:
Howard Brand Recognition
The challenge with the Howard piano is that there are two Howard companies that were selling pianos in the United States in the 20th century. The Howard we are talking about today, as mentioned, began in 1895 in Cincinnati and became a subsidiary of the famous Baldwin Piano Company.
The second Howard, that you may see once in a while, was the R.S. Howard Piano Company founded in 1902 in New York City. Unlike the former company, this Howard specialized in exporting American made pianos to Central and South America. Like Baldwin, these pianos were well made and well worth the money if you can find them.
Factors that Affect a Piano’s Value
A piano’s value will fluctuate depending on the condition of the piano, the rarity of a particular model, and the brand recognition. A beaten down piano that wasn’t well maintained and its varnish has faded will be cheaper than a well-kept and tuned piano with its varnish intact. In addition, the branding will play a role in a higher margin for someone trying to sell their family’s piano.
For instance, a Howard grand piano, like the one mentioned for $3,500.00 is a pittance compared to a $24,900 Steinway made in 1939, now for sale in the Caruso Piano Gallery. The Steinway is recognizable to non-piano players and has a pedigree of excellence for over a century. Regardless of the Howard’s condition, a more recognizable company will have a higher price range because it is sought after by collectors and piano players alike.
One key piece of advice on the value factors is that a spinet piano is the cheapest version to an upright piano. The baby grand succeeds the upright and of course, there is the grand piano. Regardless of brand, the spinet is cheaper than the grand piano.
How to Know What My Howard Piano is Worth?
Well, to understand the Howard piano value of your vintage instrument, getting your piano appraised by a respected piano appraiser is the golden key to knowing its true worth. The value will be dependent on factors previously discussed and the appraiser will tell you why it is valued the way that it is.
Just like any material object, the value will fluctuate depending on the piano market at the time. However, the appraiser will need some information about the piano, from the make, the model, the serial number and model name. That way, they can date the piano and give you an estimate. I highly recommend a prospective buyer to talk with an appraiser to see the value of the piano so that they can haggle rationally.
Doing your own research is also another piece of advice when seeking the value of your Howard piano. Other than knowing your piano’s name and comparing listings for sale to yours, reading more about the company’s history helps to see how much the piano’s value changed.
Plus, for those who are seeking to buy a Howard piano, you will have the research to know what to look out for. Finally, in some rare instances, some appraisers and tuners may have never even heard of the Howard piano, so make sure you do research not only on Howard pianos, but on appraisers as well!
Of course, having the piano tuned by a tuner is paramount to gaining a higher value when you plan to sell your Howard piano. Prospective buyers that want to buy a piano generally do not want an off-tuned, worn out, scratched piano with sticky keys unless it is a project for them (or they plan to turn it into furniture).
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