As an investment, Mason & Hamlin pianos make excellent collectibles... They appreciate about 4.5% a year and you can also play them. Joseph Alotta, Principal Financial Advisor, Open Door Investment Inc. Westmont, IL USA.
This statement you can find on a special flyer created by Mason& Hamlin. It must be true, if not, in the USA, people may consider suing if otherwise.
Of course, in my opinion, this statement also applies to Steinway and Sons, Yamaha, Bosendorfer and some other good piano brands.
This is why:
Pianos consist of over 10,000 parts and 100s of hours of labor. The prices of parts and quality labor go up all the time. People do not seem to realize that pianos can be a good investment all around. Most of our customers come to our store with the mentality “we have to spend money and will never get it back.” Nothing is further from the truth! Of course, when one purchases a new piano or grand piano from a dealer, you pay retail price and you will lose some of the value of the piano immediately!
An honest dealer would have to resell your piano or grand piano as a used instrument and they sell typically for 25-50% less than a new one.
The good news is that from the moment that you lose on a new piano and you will, you are starting to make money. Over the years that you will own the piano the prices will steadily increase, because pianos are only 2 components, namely parts and labor. There are no computer chips, amplifiers or anything electronic and good parts like wood, iron etcetera are always going up in price, same as labour cost and cost of space where the piano is made. By as much as 4-7% per year. Every year.
Therefore, a piano bought, say in 1960 for PHP 100,000 and in good shape, could 50 years later be worth much more that this amount. We can see this all the time with Steinways and Bosendorfers, great investments, and... you have the pleasure of playing it and looking at it for all those years, PROVIDING THEY WERE IN CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS!
Of course, there are factors that make pianos go down in value. If you do not have the piano tuned on a yearly basis you will lose value because everything in the piano is expanding and tension will be lost. If you abuse the piano by putting it on a heat duct or something silly like that, you will lose almost all value immediately because the wood will crack, including the sound board, and the glues will all get hard and lose their function.
This chapter is certainly not written to promote our own company, but think about this before purchasing a new piano: a used piano in good shape can be bought for around 50% of the price of a new one and is often better because of the materials used at the time the piano was new and you will also get a piano where the wood has cured. So my opinion is why purchase a new piano when you can afford a used one?
Of course, the trouble with used pianos is that a lot can be wrong and there usually is. I made it my hobby for a couple of weeks to run after every add in the Toronto Star, when they still had classifieds "pianos for sale". I was not only disappointed with what I found, I was also blown away by the prices people were asking for some of these pianos. More that I would ask as a dealer.
You must realize that, before someone starts to advertise a piano, they usually have asked a piano technician for the value of their piano. Because the technician has no obligation to purchase it and usually charges the customer for this service, he/she wants to make the customer feel good and gives them an estimated amount that is totally not realistic but the person owning the piano feels really good about it.
That is, until the person that owns the piano calls several dealers and asks them for the price they would pay or tell them what the technician told them the piano is worth. The next thing is they are disappointed with the price the dealer wants to give them and now the person will start to market the piano for a much higher price than the real value.
ManilaPianos Inc. sells mostly high quality pianos and we will guarantee our piano. Most people don't mind to purchase used because of the price difference, but we feel the pianos need to look good, have to be in "new" shape and need to carry a long warranty. The great thing is that we have, over the years, experienced many more problems with warranties on new pianos versus on used pianos. That is because the used pianos do not have "bugs" any more.