I thought that I would stick me two nickels in on this subject, so here
goes. It seems that these days the average old upright player piano
has gone down so far in value that restoration is becoming financially
impossible. I am currently sitting on about a hundred older and slightly
newer old player pianos and paying a good deal in rent to store them.
It is often my dream that a major fire will sweep through the warehouse
and take them to a better place but no such luck (it's a fire-proof
There was a time that I couldn't keep a working player on the floor and
I couldn't keep up with the work, but today these fine old instruments
have become a millstone that I haven't the heart to send to the junk
yard. Interest by the public has really waned and even when there is
interest people don't want to pay anything anymore. I don't know
what's going to happen but I'm not getting any younger and time seems
to be passing very quickly these days for both me and the players.
There are real bargains to had out there for those who wish to buy one
and I have seen instances of this regularly: a friend of mine bought
a nice 1970's Pianola for $50, in good playing condition with rolls,
at a garage sale; he didn't need it but he couldn't let it go by.
There have been dozens of player uprights offered to me for the hauling
and I won't even go and look because it's like seeing a stray puppy at
the animal shelter -- you know that you'll want to take it home.
I sincerely think that the old players will make real comeback someday,
perhaps not in my lifetime, but it will happen. Sadly there won't be
as many nice ones left to restore as today and perhaps there won't be
anyone left to restore them.
Jim Jelinek - Player Piano Clinic