The most expensive pianos in the world

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Piano’s are one of the most popular types of musical instrument and are well known for being one of the more expensive. For those lucky enough to own one, protecting it through home contents insurance is essential.

As an evolution in design from the harpsichord (invented in the Middle Ages), the first piano was thought to have been created by the expert Italian harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori around 1700.

Today, three original Cristofori pianos remain in existence. All three are housed in museums around the world: the 1720 example is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York; the 1722 piano in Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome, and the 1726 example is in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of Leipzig University. Although unplayable due to age and wear, putting a value on these pieces would be incredibly difficult. If it was possible, they would most likely be the most expensive three pianos in the world.

Officially, the most expensive piano ever sold is John Lennon’s modest and ordinary looking Steinway Model Z Piano, upon which he wrote the legendary song Imagine. Bought at auction by pop star George Michael in 2000, this piece of music history cost a record £1,670,000.

The second most expensive piano sold at auction was the Steinway & Sons Alma Tadema, which went for an unbelievable $1.2 million in 1998. Commissioned for New York millionaire Henry G. Marquand in 1894, the piano was decorated by master painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and was covered in oil paintings, elaborate carvings and intricate inlays, making it possibly the most decorative piano ever made.

Around the same price bracket as the Alma Tadema is a crystal encrusted grand piano, worth an estimated $1.2 million. Measuring seven-feet and four-inches, the piano took over a year and a half to create and build, and is inset with over 100,000 hand cut, lead crystal jewels arranged in diamond patterns on the case, lid, legs and fallboard.

In 2008, the Sounds of Harmony was created by Steinway & Sons for Chinese collector Mr. Guo Qingxiang. This masterpiece was made using wood inlay, featuring 40 different types of wood. Although the exact sum of money paid for the piano has not been disclosed, the makers call it “the most valuable grand piano which has ever been handcrafted by Steinway & Sons”.

About the author:
Ashton Mapletoft is a frequent writer with a special interest in home contents insurance.

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