Perhaps one of the best examples of a long term investment is buying a grand piano. The most expensive piano in the world has several factors making it an attractive item to buy and hold for the long term. If you choose the correct piano, it can be a solid asset to own for the long term.
Why Are Pianos so Expensive?
Why are pianos so expensive? They are made by highly skilled artists using the highest level of craftsmanship you could imagine. Pianos are incredibly complex and intricate instruments. From the woodwork to the ivory keys, hundreds and thousands of hours are spent constructing a single piano so it can be played with the perfect sound a musician will expect.
Another reason pianos are so expensive is the material is usually very high end, rare, and delicate: hard rock maple, veneers, mahogany, top-grade spruce, and ivory. Virtually every component of a piano uses material that’s not easily found in bulk at your local Home Depot.
Many of the most expensive pianos in the world are grand pianos. In relation to the smaller “upright” piano, a grand has a much larger soundboard, longer strings, and will have a fullness to the sound that an upright piano cannot compete with. The larger soundboard allows a greater volume of air to move and creates a lower bass tone.
Do Pianos Appreciate in Value?
Pianos can appreciate or depreciate; it all depends on what you buy, when you buy it, and how much you paid for it. If you’re buying a brand new piano, there’s a chance it could depreciate over the next few years of ownership.
One of the biggest factors in depreciation is the manufacture and brand of the piano. Steinway, Fazioli, Yamaha, and Bosendorfer are a few of the leading high-end piano building names. The top brand name pianos will hold their value. If you venture away from quality brand names, you run the risk of your purchase losing value due to quality issues.
If you plan to play the piano, then wear and tear becomes an issue, and depreciation can occur much faster. Pianos must be maintained much like your car, with regular maintenance and tuning required to assure it’s kept in fine working condition. When parts need to be replaced or serviced, it can become very expensive quickly.
With all the downside risk of owning a piano, there’s potential for price appreciation if you choose wisely. Just like a collector car, finding the right make and model and preserving it over the long term can potentially lead to the value of your piano to increase. There will always be a demand for incredibly well-built instruments assembled by the best craftsman in the world.
The Most Expensive Piano in the World
The Kuhn Bosendorfer, $1.2 million
The Kuhn Bosendorfer Art Case Grand Piano is valued at $1.2 million. The limited-edition grand piano was created with over 100,000 hand-cut, lead crystal jewels. The piano was unveiled in 2009 after one year of construction.
Sound of Harmony Concert Grand Piano, $1.6 million
After four years of construction and inlays of 40 different wood types, the Sound of Harmony Concert grand piano was finished. It was custom designed by Chinese art collector Guo Qingxiang, and was used at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The piano was built by Steinway & Sons using ebony, ashwood, and rosewood at their factory in Hamburg, Germany.
The Crystal Piano, $3.2 million
One of the most expensive pianos in the world is the Crystal Piano, which was purchased at an auction for $3.2 million by an anonymous bidder. The piano was played in front of more than a billion spectators during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies. After the event, the piano was retired, making the Olympic appearance it’s only performance.
Steinway & Sons Fibonacci, $2.4 million
The New York piano creator, Steinway, assembled one of the most expensive pianos in the world, revealing the Fibonacci, marking the companies 600,000th piano produced. This incredible work of art represents the Fibonacci Series proportion ratio, a numerological sequence that reflects the geometric harmony found in nature.
Designed by Franck Pollaro, the Fibonacci includes synthetic ivory inlays and a Fibonacci spiral made from six individual logs of Macassar ebony.
C. Bechstein Sphinx, $1.2 million
Over 1800 hours and 32 months of construction and the C. Bechstein Sphinx was complete. Valued at $1.2 million, it was designed as a historical replica of the first Bechstein piano built in 1886. Greek, Egyptian and Roman motifs are combined in the design.
Pianos placed in the right hands can be a source of amazing entertainment and enjoyment. Properly cared for and maintained, pianos can withhold value and even appreciate over long periods of time.