At the risk of offending the sensibilities of some of the purists,
I would like to extol the virtues of gold-plated tuning pins.
I considered nickel-plating for my Mason & Hamlin Ampico, my one-and-
only mechanical musical instrument, and decided they were too garish,
so I looked into using gold. I tried a few just for looks, and was
immediately impressed with the soft glow they impart, blending with the
original gold color of the plate.
The pins were stripped and replated, nickel first, then 22-karat gold.
The bottom half was left unplated. The malleability of the gold
prevents scratches from the tuning hammer, and after 10 years in
service they look as perfect as they did when new. The overall
appearance is quite impressive, and I suspect they will look as good
in 50 years as they do now.
While I was at it, I also had the hinges and other brass hardware
plated in gold (not the tracker bar of course). The total cost was
less than $250, a modest incremental amount for such a fine piano,
though it may cost more today.