To find the value of a piano with a serial number, use the number to determine the approximate date the piano was made. Match the serial number to a manufacturer using a list of numbers and brands, such as the one available on UKPianos.co.uk. Research the prices of instruments of similar age, condition and make to estimate the piano's value. A serial number that indicates a famous manufacturer, such as Steinway, helps appraisers assign more value to an instrument.
For a fee, Steinway & Sons can use the serial number of a Steinway piano to search its history. The company returns this information to the piano's owner, including model, finish, measurements, place of manufacture and sale history. Online appraisal companies perform a similar service, charging piano owners a fee to search an instrument's history and provenance using a provided serial number.
While the age of an instrument can indicate its quality, an antique piano's value also depends on its outer and inner condition, location and manufacturer. Certain name brand pianos are always worth more, according to piano appraiser David Estey. Some valuable brands include Steinway, Mason and Hamlin, Boosendorfer, Bechstein and Sauter. For antique pianos, factor in the costs of repairing or restoring the piano until it is in top condition; piano dealers describe this as a "AAA Mint" or "R & R" rating.
Pianos that have been well-maintained can fetch higher prices from dealers and private buyers. Receipts detailing piano maintenance and repairs can help assure buyers that the instrument is in good condition. Other features that add value to an instrument are the finish on the piano case, the sturdiness of the piano's legs and keys that make a clear, even sound. Inside, the strings should be rust-free, the soundboard in good condition and the hammers properly felted.