Hundreds of photos, printed by Weston’s son, will be sold as a single lot valued at up to $3 million.
|Antique Gulbransen Pianos are musical instruments made by the American piano manufacturer Gulbransen.
Brief history and desciption
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Gulbransen was established in 1904 by Axel Gulbransen. The company was a major contributor to the American piano industry during the early-twentieth century and by 1917 had become one of the largest piano manufacturers of the Pre-Depression era. It is important to note, that during the first few decades of the twentieth century, the company was also known as Gulbransen-Dickinson.
During the early-twentieth century, the Gulbransen Company produced some of the most definitive pianos of its time and produced a full line of upright and grand piano models. However, one of the most well-known instruments of its day was unquestionably the Gulbransen Registering Piano. This model was engraved on the memory of millions of people throughout America through national advertising. Its trademark of a baby on the floor pushing a piano pedal with the slogan, “Easy to Play”, made it one of the most recognisable pianos in the early twentieth century.
Gulbransen pianos, along with Steinway, had the reputation as being one of the only two piano manufacturers selected for government use during World War II.
Antique Gulbransen pianos contain the splendour, workmanship and ingredients one would anticipate to find in any high quality musical instrument. During the golden age of piano making in the 1920s, Gulbransen manufactured some of the finest quality and most hard-wearing pianos ever built and as a result, are highly regarded by restorers and collectors today.
As a general rule, to be classed as an antique Gulbransen piano, the model must have been produced before the Great Depression. A guide for collectors and sellers to determine the age of a Gulbransen piano is to locate the brand name and the serial number. There are numerous historical publications used by experts and enthusiasts in the music industry to cross reference brand names and serial numbers in order to target the dates of manufacture.
Due to the age of antique pianos, they are more than likely to be in poor condition or will have been at one point restored. Buying unrestored antique instruments on the open market is rare but is a very strong investment. Not only do original, unrestored pianos sell for a fraction of their potential value, but once restored, the piece could be sold up to ten times its original price.
Unrestored Gulbransen pianos, depending on their condition, can be bought for as little as $400. Restoration is not cheap and can cost as much as $20,000 but it is necessary if you want to get the most revenue out of your investment. A restored Gulbransen typically sells between $20,000 and $300,000.
In December 2011, a Gulbransen Mahogany Baby Grand Piano with its original bench was sold at Apple Tree Auctions, Newark, Ohio, for a realised price of $300,000.
A fully restored early twentieth century Gulbransen player piano in a mahogany cabinet was sold for $14,100 when it was sold by AntiquePianoshop.com at the end of 2011.
In January 2012, a Gulbransen parlour grand piano made in 1937 was sold on eBay for $770.
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