If you’re seeking to potentially purchase a Knabe piano, and you’re interested in learning the Knabe piano value for a specific model that’s caught your eye, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to break down how to assess a Knabe piano’s worth, as well as highlight some examples of what Knabe piano’s sell for on the open market to give you a better idea of how they’re valued.
Assessing a Knabe Piano’s Worth
Let’s take a look at some Knabe pianos currently on the market (or have recently sold) to see how we can best assess their true worth.
1) The first piano to consider is a Knabe Baby Grand Piano from the 1910s selling through Piano Mart. This is a lovely little piano, perfect for a sophisticated living room setting or small showroom. The wood is Walnut, and it’s selling for $2,999 out of Brooklyn, New York.
In the description, it says that the piano has been well-cared for in a temperature-controlled environment, which will not eliminate depreciation, but definitely helps to manage it. It looks to be in very good condition, but does need to be tuned. Depreciation should put the baseline cost at lower than $3,000, but it’s obviously been well-cared for; I’d need to hear it to be sure, but as long as the sound quality is good, $3,000 sounds like a fair price.
2) Next is another Knabe baby grand selling for $3,500 through Piano Mart. This piano was made in 1995. There isn’t much in the way of description other than “Great condition,” but the pictures certainly make it seem that way—beautiful ivory keys against a mahogany body with an alluring high-gloss finish and no scratches or nicks that I can see. The soundboard also looks to be in good condition. To be honest, I’m surprised the price is so close to the 1910s Baby Grand—a piano that’s only a couple decades old from its original date of manufacture typically should be selling for a higher price.
3) Our third piano is a Knabe WV-115 Model, an upright piano selling directly from Knabe themselves. This looks to be a standard vertical piano, and from the way the page is set up, it looks like you can order one brand new, in a variety of material (there are options for walnut, mahogany, ebony satin, and ebony high gloss).
Obviously, being new, it’s going to be in peak condition, ideally with no damage and an excellent sound. The selling price is $11,578. I’m hesitant to disagree with the actual company selling their own products, and I think this is a fair price for an upright of this caliber in new condition.
4) Next we have another vertical piano: a Knabe Rosewood Victorian Upright selling from the Antique Piano Shop for $20,000, after a total restoration (which has not been completed). As of now, the piano does in fact look impressive, but it’s obvious that it’s old—over a century, in fact, produced in 1886—and there are several scuffs and nicks on the body.
Additionally, the keys look to be in good shape but are obviously worn, and I can imagine that the sound, though still worthy of the Knabe name, reflects that age. Once it’s restored, I think it will be well-worth $20,000 if done properly, but it certainly wouldn’t be worth that now.
5) Our next to last piano, selling for an impressive $45,000, is a rare find indeed: a Knabe Empire Style Square Grand Player Piano, also selling from the Antique Piano Shop, made in 1854. This instrument, crafted from Brazilian Rosewood and completely restored, is truly a magnificent piano. The style is one that’s definitely difficult to find, as not many square grands were produced, and the color and finish of the piano are as captivating as they are unique.
In addition to some physically stylistic changes that add to its individuality, the restoration team has also installed a Pianomation player system (a reproducer system within the piano that allows the instrument to play by itself) that can play over 6,000 songs wirelessly. Although I’d usually be hesitant to assign such a high dollar to an instrument, this one truly comes with everything—a unique material, completely restored, a rare build, a reproducer built in, etc. I’d say this piano is well worth the price, if you ever find yourself with some extra money to spend!
6) Lastly, let’s consider the most expensive of the bunch, a piano selling at $58,500 through Piano Mart: a Knabe Grand Piano with Ampico Reproducer. An Ampico reproducer is similar to a Pianomation player—it allows the instrument to play by itself with additional mechanisms within the body. The reproducer is definitely going to add some value, as is the fact that it’s a grand piano with some very intricate carvings on the body and cabinet.
The burled walnut finish also heightens the beauty of the instrument, without a doubt, and its status as an antique and reliable Knabe piano heighten the value even further. Even with all of these factors, though, it’s always hard to reconcile the cost of a piano that’s almost $60,000. The Square grand is certainly a rare find, and it also has a beautiful, rare body material with a reproducer—everything this piano has, with added value, for almost $15,000 less. This piano is definitely valuable, but I think its price is closer to the $40,000 mark.
Overall, the value of a Knabe piano is going to range anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000, depending on several of the factors outlined below. The rarity of the piano type is an uncommon but important factor, and the name-brand recognition plays a role in the high prices, as well.
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Factors That May Affect Piano Value
Evaluating the worth of a piano and assigning it a value involves analyzing several subjective factors and compiling the data to come to a single conclusion, often with several moving parts. It can definitely be a difficult, if not overwhelming, task for beginners. Appraisals are good resources, but if you want to do it yourself, there are a couple things you need to consider.
Each piano brand has its own distinct soul and style, which can greatly affect its sound and build. For example, where one piano brand may be known for its rich ring and reverberation, another may be known for its colorful, deep tone. Nuanced, minute changes to the composition of these pianos make this possible, and Knabe pianos are no exception. Despite these small changes, several elements stay the same when considering the value: those are usually a piano’s age, depreciation, condition and damage, sound quality, and material used.
The age doesn’t matter so much as the depreciation. The age will let you know how much the piano has depreciated since its production, and how much work it may need to be restored. Once you know the amount of work needed, you can offset that amount from the original price of the piano, whatever it may be. After ten years, depreciation slows considerably, but at ten years, a piano is worth only about 55% of its original value.
Restoration can partially or fully restore its value, depending on how much work is done. To find the depreciation, you’ll need to find the age. The easiest way to do this is by finding the serial number. Once you find it, use it to find the age of your piano by using this site, which organizes serial numbers by brand and gives you an associated date range of production: Piano Information and Appraisal.
Condition is another important element to consider. Cosmetic damage is usually mostly overlooked, unless it severely mars the body or inhibits playing—something that severely damages the aesthetic worth of the instrument itself, not including the sound. Functional damage is different—pianos are ultimately bought to be played.
Significant damage to the keys, strings, hammers, or other pieces that create sound may mean that the piano’s worth is going to suffer significantly. In this case, restoration may be your only option, unless you’d like to sell it for cheap (a few hundred dollars, perhaps a thousand and change) and let the buyer do the restoration work..
The material—generally just the type of wood and the material used for the keys—also plays an important role. The value of this lies in the aesthetic appearance, so it doesn’t have much bearing on the actual sound, unless the material for the hammers or strings has been altered. Typically, some woods are going to be more expensive than others, and ivory keys are going to be more expensive than plastic (though I would never recommend buying a piano with plastic keys; the quality of sound falls dramatically). Sound quality also plays a large role, and this can be affected by damage, as well. More often, though, the strings just need to be tuned.
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Although we’ve tried hard to “guesstimate” the true Knabe piano value, a piano’s actual worth is based on a large variety of factors (which can include everything from brand to age to overall condition). Still, we hope this article has better been able to enlighten you on what you can expect to purchase (or sell) your Knable piano instrument for on the market!
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