Friday, 18 March 2011

Beale Pianos - Their history, value and are they worth restoring?

Beale Pianos were originally founded by Octavius Beale in 1893, in Annandale, NSW. The Beale Piano Company rose to be the largest piano manufacturer in the British Empire at one stage, producing more than 90,000 pianos from 1893 to 1975. Of particular note is the unique 'steel tuning system' that Beale Pianos patented which was designed to withstand the dry, hot conditions found in many states of Australia. This system was so successful that many Beale Pianos have survived the test of time and are still being played today. Just the other day, I tuned an upright Beale Piano at Banksia Park Primary School in Adelaide, the tuning system was as tight as the day the piano was built.

Older style Beale Pianos are generally valued at between $250 - $1000 depending on their age, condition and model. Some later models (1970's and 80's) can fetch above $1250 and new Beale pianos start from around $3995.

Most older style Beale pianos are worth restoring. The relatively low value of some older styles in a way does the quality of these pianos an injustice as most had a full iron frame, were overstrung and had a quality underdamper playing mechanism. We find a common scenario is for people to pay up to $500 for an older style Beale and then spend $400 - $500 through us tuning and repairing the mechanism. In these cases, the money is well spent, because whilst the value of the piano may only be around $1000, the quality is well above most other older style brands on the market.

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