Wurlitzer pianos are renowned worldwide for their excellent craftsmanship, beautiful sound, and timeless appeal. Established in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853, the Wurlitzer name quickly became synonymous with quality in the music world. One intriguing aspect of these pianos is the ability to ascertain their value using their unique serial numbers. These serial numbers, typically found on the interior or rear of the instrument, can reveal crucial information about the piano’s history, including its age and original manufacturing details.
The Wurlitzer Company, initially known as Wurlitzer-Bruckner, was founded by Franz Rudolph Wurlitzer, a German immigrant, in 1853. The company began by importing musical instruments from his homeland to sell in the United States. However, by the late 1880s, Wurlitzer began manufacturing its pianos, leveraging the family’s long history and rich heritage in music. The Wurlitzer pianos, designed with meticulous attention to detail and superior craftsmanship, quickly gained popularity. Their unique tone and durability made them a preferred choice among musicians and institutions alike. By the mid-20th century, Wurlitzer had established itself as a pioneer in the music industry, even venturing into the production of jukeboxes and theater organs. Despite changes in ownership and production in later years, the Wurlitzer name continues to hold an esteemed place in the music world for its remarkable contributions and enduring legacy.
Serial Numbers – Piano Age
The age of a Wurlitzer piano can be determined accurately by its serial number. This number is etched into the piano’s frame during manufacturing and stays with the piano for its lifetime. Serial numbers are usually located on the piano’s cast-iron plate near the tuning pins, or sometimes on the soundboard. To date a Wurlitzer piano, you need to locate this number and cross-reference it with a Wurlitzer serial number chart. These charts list serial numbers against the year they were manufactured, allowing you to determine the piano’s age. For instance, a Wurlitzer piano with a serial number between 1000 and 2000 was likely produced in the year 1865. Understanding the age of the piano can be instrumental in its valuation as older, well-preserved pianos may hold a higher value. 
Do Wurlitzer Pianos Depreciate?
Like any other musical instrument, Wurlitzer pianos can undergo depreciation over time. Factors contributing to this depreciation can include wear and tear, damage, changes in the piano market, and technological advancements in the music industry. However, it’s important to note that some Wurlitzer pianos may actually appreciate in value, especially if they are rare models, have historical significance, or are kept in excellent condition. The value of a Wurlitzer piano is not just tied to its age, but also to its condition, rarity, and the market demand for such pianos. This makes the valuation of Wurlitzer pianos a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the brand, the specific model, and the piano market as a whole.
What is the Condition of the Wurlitzer?
The condition of a Wurlitzer piano is a crucial factor in determining its value. When assessing the condition, several aspects need to be considered. First and foremost, the piano’s physical condition, including its exterior finish, the state of the keys, and any visible damages or defects can greatly impact its value. The piano’s mechanical condition is equally important. The state of the internal components such as the hammers, strings, and soundboard directly impacts the piano’s sound quality and playability. Therefore, a Wurlitzer piano in excellent mechanical condition, showing minimal wear, is likely to have a higher value. Also, if the piano has undergone any restorations or modifications, these should be taken into account, as expertly done restorations can enhance the value, while poor modifications can detract from it. Lastly, the piano’s provenance, or its ownership history, can also influence its value, especially if it has been owned by a notable person or institution. 
What Style of Wurlitzer Is It?
The style of a Wurlitzer piano can also significantly influence its value. Wurlitzer has produced a diverse range of piano styles over the years, including grand, baby grand, upright, spinet, and console pianos, each with its unique charm, sound, and value. Grand and baby grand pianos are often prized for their powerful, rich tones and their striking aesthetic appeal, which can make them more valuable. However, rare models of upright and console pianos can also fetch a high price, especially if they are in excellent condition and have a unique design or historical significance. Additionally, some styles are more in demand in the current market, which can also affect their value. For instance, smaller styles like spinet and console pianos are popular among those with limited space, while grand and baby grand pianos are sought after by professional musicians and institutions.
What is the Average Worth of a Wurlitzer?
The average worth of a Wurlitzer piano can vary significantly based on factors such as age, condition, style, and model. Older, well-maintained pianos, particularly grand and baby grand styles, can sometimes fetch higher prices. On average, you might expect to see upright Wurlitzer pianos priced anywhere from $500 to $2,500, while grand or baby grand Wurlitzers can range from $2,500 to $10,000 or more, depending on their condition and rarity. Smaller styles like spinet and console pianos might fetch between $200 and $1,000. However, it’s important to note that these are rough estimates, and the actual value of a specific Wurlitzer piano could be higher or lower based on the aforementioned factors and the current market demand.
Why Are You Buying a Wurlitzer?
The purpose behind buying a Wurlitzer piano can greatly influence the type of instrument you should look for and how much you are willing to invest. If your intent is to learn or practice piano playing, then the quality of the sound and the condition of the keys might be your primary concern. In this case, a well-maintained upright or console piano might be a good fit. However, if you’re a professional musician or an institution, you might prefer the rich tones and aesthetic appeal of a grand or baby grand piano. If you’re a collector looking for a rare, historical piece to add to your collection, then the piano’s age, rarity, provenance, and overall condition will be of utmost importance. 
Who Are You Selling It To?
The buyer for your Wurlitzer piano can vary greatly depending on its condition, age, style, and rarity. Private buyers often include individuals looking for an instrument for personal use, students learning to play the piano, or professional musicians seeking a high-quality instrument. Institutions like schools, churches, or theaters may also be interested in purchasing Wurlitzer pianos, particularly larger styles like grand or baby grand pianos for their superior sound quality. Collectors and antique dealers might show interest in rare or historically significant models. When selling a Wurlitzer piano, it’s essential to understand your potential buyer’s needs and expectations, as it can help you present the piano in its best light and potentially negotiate a higher selling price.
Is a Wurlitzer Piano Worth It?
Whether a Wurlitzer piano is worth it or not is subjective and depends greatly on one’s individual needs, preferences, and budget. For someone seeking high sound quality, the rich tones of a well-maintained Wurlitzer can be a significant attraction. For a collector, the historical significance and unique design of some Wurlitzer models can make them a valuable addition. For a beginner or a student, a smaller and more affordable style like a spinet or console may offer excellent value for the price. However, like any significant investment, it’s essential to thoroughly research before making a purchase. Consulting with a piano technician or appraiser, testing the piano personally, and learning about the piano’s history can help you make an informed decision. 
How to Date a Wurlitzer piano?
Dating a Wurlitzer piano can be done by locating the piano’s serial number. The serial number is a unique identifier for each piano produced by the company, and it can provide information about the piano’s age. Wurlitzer pianos typically have their serial numbers stamped or printed on the frame or soundboard, or on a sticker inside the piano, often near the tuning pins or the strings. Once you have located the serial number, you can refer to a Wurlitzer piano serial number chart or guide, which lists the years of production associated with various ranges of serial numbers. These charts are available in piano identification books or on various online resources.
What is the most valuable Wurlitzer?
The most valuable Wurlitzer piano is typically a vintage model that has historical significance, rarity, and is in excellent condition. Among the most sought-after are the grand and baby grand pianos, which are renowned for their superior sound quality and aesthetic appeal. One of the most prized models is the Wurlitzer Butterfly Piano, produced during the 1930s and 1940s, known for its unique design and rarity. It is named for its “butterfly”-shaped lid, which opens on two sides. These models are rare and often fetch a high price in the market. However, the value is largely dependent on the condition, age, and rarity of the piano, and an appraisal by a professional is recommended to determine its exact worth.
Where is the serial number on Wurlitzer piano?
The serial number on a Wurlitzer piano is usually located inside the instrument and is often stamped or printed on the metal frame, soundboard, or a sticker near the tuning pins or strings. To locate it, you can lift the piano’s lid or remove the front panel, depending on the piano’s design. The serial number typically consists of a string of numbers, and occasionally letters, and is unique to your specific piano. However, the placement can vary based on the model and the year of manufacture, so it may require a bit of searching. If you have difficulty finding the serial number, consulting a professional piano technician may be helpful.
What is a 50 year old piano worth?
The worth of a 50-year-old piano can vary significantly based on numerous factors. These include the brand, model, condition, degree of maintenance, and the market demand at the time of selling. For instance, a well-maintained 50-year-old Wurlitzer piano that has been regularly tuned and serviced may hold its value relatively well. However, if the piano has suffered from neglect or significant wear and tear, its value can be much lower. To gain a precise understanding of a piano’s worth, an appraisal by a reputable piano technician or expert is recommended. They will assess the instrument’s condition, consider its historical importance if any, and evaluate its market value.
Are old Wurlitzer pianos good?
The quality of old Wurlitzer pianos can greatly depend on several factors such as the specific model, the condition it’s been kept in, and how well it’s been maintained over the years. Wurlitzer has a long-standing reputation for manufacturing robust and high-quality pianos, and many older models are known for their unique tone and durability. Certain models, particularly grand and baby grand pianos, are highly sought after by musicians and collectors for their superior sound quality and craftsmanship. However, like all musical instruments, pianos can deteriorate with time if not properly cared for. Therefore, an old Wurlitzer piano may require expert restoration or tuning to bring it back to its former glory.
Are Wurlitzer pianos expensive?
The cost of Wurlitzer pianos can vary widely based on several factors such as the model, age, condition, and rarity. Newer models or those in excellent condition typically command higher prices, while older or more worn models might be more affordable. Rare models, like the Wurlitzer Butterfly Piano, often fetch a higher price due to their unique design and historical value. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars for a Wurlitzer piano. However, it’s important to remember that the true value of a piano goes beyond monetary value and includes factors like sound quality, playability, and personal affinity for the instrument. Always consult with a piano expert or technician to ensure you are making a well-informed purchase.
How can I find out what my piano is worth?
To find out the worth of your piano, there are several steps you can take. First, identify the brand, model, and serial number of your piano, which can help you determine its age and original specifications. The condition of your piano is also a significant factor; take note of any damage, wear and tear, or modifications it may have. Additionally, the market demand and rarity of the model can affect its value. For a precise evaluation, consider getting an appraisal from a reputable piano technician or expert who can assess the instrument’s condition and market value. You may also compare prices of similar pianos sold online or consult piano price guides.
What does a piano serial number tell you?
A piano’s serial number is a unique identifier that provides valuable information about the instrument. It typically reveals the age of the piano, as it’s often linked to the year of manufacture. Some manufacturers also used sequential numbering systems, allowing you to determine the order in which your piano was made during a specific production run. In addition to helping to date the instrument, the serial number can also be used to authenticate a piano, ensuring that it is indeed the make and model it claims to be. However, interpreting a piano’s serial number often requires knowledge of the specific numbering schemes used by different manufacturers. It’s recommended to consult a piano technician or a serial number reference guide for accurate interpretation.
Useful Video: Wurlitzer Console Piano – Wurlitzer Pianos for Sale – Wurlitzer Upright Piano
In conclusion, determining the value of a Wurlitzer piano involves numerous factors, including its model, age, condition, and market demand. The instrument’s serial number is a valuable tool for dating the piano and verifying its authenticity. Despite all these considerations, it’s important to acknowledge the intrinsic value of these musical instruments. Beyond their monetary worth, Wurlitzer pianos have been an integral part of musical history, providing joy and inspiration for musicians and listeners alike. Whether you’re a seasoned pianist, a collector, or someone who appreciates the craftsmanship of this renowned brand, owning a Wurlitzer piano is a unique and enriching experience.