It is no secret that antique musical instruments offer great investment potential, and a brief glance through the auction records at Christie’s provides plenty of proof. In 2009, an Orchestra Model 45 Deluxe guitar made by C. F. Martin and Company in 1930 sold for $554,500; in 2010, a circa-1575 viola made by Gasparo Bertolotti da Salò sold for $542,500; and in 2006, a violin known to have been made by Antonio Stradivari in 1707, known as “The Hammer,” sold for $3.5 million.
Such investment opportunities are not limited to string instruments, however. Pianos have also exchanged hands for significant sums of money through the auction house’s sales. For example, in 2014 an ornate French grand piano sold for £212,500 (about $355,000). In 2006, a Louis XV–style grand piano sold for £243,200 (about $457,000). And earlier this year, a circa-1909 Steinway & Sons Model B grand piano sold for £116,500 (about $162,000), which was almost $100,000 above its high estimate.
Yet solid investments in Steinway & Sons pianos need not start with the purchase of an already-antique example. Over the course of its more than 160 years of history, Steinway has charted the value appreciation for all of its models, and the results are staggering: When factory prices for new Steinway pianos increase, so do the values for older examples. Only a few years ago, Steinway & Sons conducted a research study which found that one of its pianos built in 1960 is now worth more than nine times its original value, while a Steinway piano built in 1985 was already worth more than two times its original value. In other words, purchasing a new Steinway piano today is as secure an investment as you can find.
The numbers alone suggest that a new Steinway piano is an ideal investment, but there’s another equally persuasive factor that reinforces such a claim. Like a Grand Cru from a heralded vintage year, a well-preserved antique Patek Philippe chronograph, or a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, a Steinway piano is an investment that can—and should be—enjoyed; and the pleasure derived from the ownership of such an exceptional musical instrument may be the greatest value of all.