Antique Pianos

The term `Antique Piano' refers essentially to upright & grand pianos built 100 years ago or more. An `Early Keyboard Instrument' usually refers to keyboard instruments of a more basic and dated structure, and would have been built before the acoustic piano (Grand & Upright) had been introduced. Early keyboard examples would include early spinets, clavichords, square pianos, early harpsichords and the like. All such instruments would be over 125 years old, and are also classified as `Antique'.

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Early Square Piano
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Early Harpsichord

`Antique Pianos' does not encompass early keyboards, but still covers a large number of instruments built 100 years ago or more. Only a limited number of pianos are good musical instruments for two main reasons: Firstly, at 100 years ago, piano quality was still being improved and only the better-known makes (see piano makes & models ) had produced excellent musical instruments. Secondly, many instruments have suffered over the years either loss of structural integrity, or had not yet reached the point in their development whereby the musical quality was good enough.

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Bechstein B Inlaid Grand
Buying an antique piano needs careful consideration: Why do you want an antique piano ? Is it for the beauty of the cabinet ? Is it for investment purposes ? Is it for a warmth and mellowness of tone not found in mass-produced modern/new pianos ? Or a combination of these factors ?

It is better to stick to well-known makes, such as the `Big four' or top English, French & German makes. Avoid buying a piano with `a pretty case' unless you know more about `what's inside' - such pianos may look very beautiful, but can either be very poor (musically), or even beyond repair !


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Bechstein Art Nouveau Upright

The best buys often include those pianos built slightly less than 100 years ago - they are in better shape, structurally, more likely to be musically fine, and it will only be a short time before they, too, will become genuine antiques.

Courtney Pianos specialises in antique pianos made by the better-known makers from the 1890s, though we are best known for our work with C Bechstein pianos. Please note that we do not have any dealings with any type of early keyboard instrument.

If you are interested in purchasing an antique upright or grand, or having one restored, please go to our enquiry page.