There are many good reasons to have your piano appraised. Estate planning, insurance coverage, casualty and loss for pianos, making a gift of your piano and selling a piano are among these. Additionally, it is useful to know the value of your piano and its exact condition. Many insurance companies require an up-to-date piano appraisal in order to provide coverage.

Having a valuation determined is helpful when selling a piano so that you may not inadvertently under- or over-value your instrument. If gifting a piano, it is important to have an appraisal for proof of the value of the gift for tax purposes. Sometimes people give fine pianos to others or to organizations, but people also like the idea of unloading something they want to get rid of. Pianos in poor condition only become someone else’s liability and donors should reconsider…is this a gift or a burden?

Bad things sometimes happen to good pianos. I have seen a great many pianos that are victims of fire, smoke, soot, dripping or flowing water from above, tree damage and
more. At our Chicago Piano Service restoration facility, we restored dozens of fine pianos affected by these and other disasters. A notable example is that of a Boston Grand Piano that had been in several feet of water during Hurricane Harvey in Houston. The owner had created a video of the water in her condo quickly rising to the level of the

keybed. Fortunately, it stopped but significant damage was caused. I saw a piano that had a lightening streak across the entire top. The bolt had thundered down the chimney and into a lovely living room. I have walked through destroyed homes and buildings that were victims of fire and toured a college music school where an arsonist had severely damaged an entire music department. I recall a brick that went through an officer’s window, leaving debris and broken glass damage on the grand piano in the front window. I once witnessed a car smashing into a house where I was tuning the piano at the time! I wrote a report for the grand piano which was impacted by a car driving into a woman’s living room after hopping the curb.

Having a current and accurate piano appraisal is important. The purpose of an appraisal is never to overvalue an instrument, but to have a reasonable valuation for current condition, replacement or sales value and to have the peace of mind that information will provide.

Jeff Cappelli, RPT