When it’s time to sell your piano, you have several different options. Most piano stores will accept your old piano in good condition as a trade-in. You could also sell privately or work with a consignment store to sell. The most important thing is to do your research before selling; get an appraisal from a reputable source (think experts at a piano store or maybe an antique shop).
What to Expect
“Old” pianos don’t have increased value because they’re old. They have to be a rare find to be considered antique: while a car only has to be 25-years-old or so to be considered an antique, pianos must be at least 50-years-old or more to be considered similarly. Just like antique cars, they have to be in outstanding condition and from a reputable manufacturer to still be considered valuable.
“Reputable” doesn’t always mean “brand name”, however; Michael Stinnett, owner of the Antique Piano Shop in Tennessee, says he is seeing lesser-known brand names, often of superior quality, selling for as much or more than pianos from more well-known manufacturers because they are perceived as rarer.
Basically, like anything, a piano will depreciate in value over time. There are exceptions, but those are extremely rare.
It can be difficult to negotiate a good price from a private seller. If you choose to trade it in at another piano store, you’ll be getting an estimate from a knowledgeable source who knows what your instrument is truly worth. Don’t go in without doing your research, though.
If your plan is to buy a new piano with the money you got from your old piano’s sale, this is hands-down the best option for you.
Consignment is another option: this is an arrangement between you and a store owner who will display the piano on your behalf. You and the store owner should agree on a split percentage, and this is where your negotiating skills will come in handy. Most commonly, the split hovers around 70/30, but you might be able to get a more favorable percentage if you negotiate well.
If you choose to sell on your own, research beforehand is an absolute must. You need to know exactly what you’re selling and what to expect before discussing things with private buyers. You don’t want anyone to take advantage of you, so know your worth before starting any new conversations.
Call a Piano Store
You can call a local piano store and get a very basic over-the-phone appraisal. You could also send in pictures to a local piano or antique store to get a better idea of what your old piano is worth.
To fetch the best price for your piano with any of these options requires a piano in almost-pristine condition. It’s highly recommended to get your piano tuned beforehand, and ideally, you’ve been caring for your piano with regular maintenance. Whatever route you choose to go, do your research and go in informed.