1932 Steinway A III -“Golden Years” Era
Completed on September 15, 1932 and delivered to the New York Bowman Biltmore Hotel of 43rd and Madison Avenue in New York City on October 4, 1932 (see attached letter). The New York Biltmore served as the linchpin of the famous Terminal City, a network of buildings erected over Grand Central's railroad yards and is featured prominently in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye,
This beautiful instrument has been completely restored with some refurbished components and delivers a unique and beautiful sound. Described as "very musical" and "showing excellent depth of sound, quality tone, and three dimensionality," this instrument will be a perfect fit for a recording studio or home setting.
Since its restoration, it has been tuned and played regularly and kept in a climate-controlled room.
With the introduction of the Steinway A3 in 1913, the Model A family made a big step in both size and sound. The A3 measures in at 6’4 1/2”, much larger than the previous Model A Grands. The A3 features greater power and range of tone. More affordable and manageable than the Model B, the A3 produces a sound and power definitely on par with what has been dubbed the "perfect piano," the Steinway Model B, which measures in at 6'11". Piano enthusiasts and collectors still appreciate the A3's unparalleled quality of sound, and with its scale of design and concert-level quality, many pianists prefer the A3 over its 6’11” brethren.
In 1913 and 1914, the Model A2 and A3 were both listed in Steinway price lists and sold concurrently. Although it remained a staple of the New York factory through the mid 40s, the A3 never went into production in Hamburg where they continued production of the short scale Model A2. In 1945, Steinway New York discontinued the Model A3. Reliable rumors indicate that production ceased as the A3 created too much competition for the larger and more expensive Model B.
Specifications and Description of Condition:
Back action functions well and has the more modern “spring tabs” versus fixed position tabs
New plastic keytops and new plastic sharps installed
Pinblock, soundboard, tuning pins, strings and bridgecap were all replaced as were all action parts, except for the backchecks, which are original, but still working properly with ample leather
Case refinished in black satin luster and in good condition
6' 4 1/2"
7 1/4 octaves (88 notes)
Appraised value: $58,500
Detailed appraisal with additional photos (see excerpt below) available to serious buyers upon request
All serious offers considered
A NY, NY based registered piano and master piano technician conducted a full appraisal and evaluation of the instrument in September 2018. The text of the appraisal and evaluation appears below. Credentials can be viewed at www.arlanharris.com
This appraisal is provided to give an idea of the current value of NY Steinway A satin luster ebony Ser.274856, manufactured in 1932 in New York, restored apppx. 6-7 years ago, sold appx. 5 years ago at the time of this appraisal.
Analysis of Piano: The instrument is a very nice vintage “Golden Years” Steinway with a unique and interesting sound and very musical. The rebuilder had a certain concept in mind, and I feel it was successful for what he wanted to achieve. However, the hammers are Renner hammers, not Steinway factory hammers, the underlever assembly (back action) was not replaced with a new one (this was to save expense and decided on most likely as the back action is functioning well and has the more modern “spring tabs”, which is desirable over the fixed position tabs. New plastic keytops and new plastic sharps were installed, but not the best quality. The pinblock, soundboard, tuning pins, strings, bridgecap were all replaced as were all action parts, except for the backchecks, which are original, but still working properly and has enough leather to do the job. The case was refinished in black satin luster and in good condition. There is a small damage on the lid, but can be repaired, if the new owner desires to do so or if it is decided to do so prior to putting piano on market. Due to some components not being replaced, this piano really is considered a “Restored piano, with some components refurbished.” This can affect the value of the instrument in the retail market.
Appraisal: The appraisal is based on trends and prices in the current New York City piano market. The current suggested retail price for a new New York Steinway Piano model A (A2-6’2”: the A3 has been discontinued) satin lacquer polished ebony is approximately MSRP$96,200.00 dollars plus tax, according to the Piano Buyer, an industry resource well respected for it’s up to date industry information. There are some dealers in other areas, mostly other states or more rural areas that may discount a bit. However, Steinway does not allow steep discounting in their dealership networks.
The piano, being a recent rebuilt piano and due to the short supply of model A3’s, renders it’s appraised value as-is for 58,500.00 dollars, based on similar pianos currently available in the New York City area piano market. This piano is an exceptional instrument showing excellent depth of sound, quality tone, and three dimensionality. However, due to some components being refurbished, the refinishing style of the case, a more realistic amount for a reasonable sale would be 47,500. - 56,000.00. If a quick sale is desired, I would think 45-49,900.00 would inspire more interest. The current piano market is in very bad shape, and prices have been lowered dramatically. Only the top retailers/restorers seem to be able to sustain the higher prices, but selling from the home cannot, in most cases, obtain these prices. Some of these high-end retailers are asking around the mid-sixties for fully rebuilt Steinway A’s. This instrument is not in the condition to compete, even though musically it has so many desirable qualities.