Pianos enhance the creation of music and let musicians experiment with different sounds. Thousands of songs made every day rely on the keyboard as the primary musical instrument. Some musicians even perform to a live audience using the device. Talented pianists and composers, such as Beethoven and Mozart, seem to stand on a higher pedestal than the rest of the musicians.
Pianos are one of the world’s most popular musical instruments and they don’t sell cheap. Yet there are pianos that command even millions. Read on to discover what makes them extraordinarily valued than the rest. This article explores ten of the most expensive pianos in the world.
10. Crystal Piano, Heintzman
For a piano with the name Crystal in it, you will expect it to have the most elegant features. Every inch of the Crystal Piano contains pure crystals. Heintzman, a piano company, built the instrument, which musicians played in front of millions of spectators during the Olympic Games held in Beijing back in 2008. One funny fact about Crystal is that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games marked its first and last use.
Since no one has ever played the Crystal after its first use, Heintzman managed to auction it. An anonymous bidder at the auction bought the instrument for an incredible price of $3.22 million. The price makes Crystal the most expensive piano in the world. Heintzman Pianos is the company behind the design and manufacture of Crystal. The company included a transparent body to amplify the appearance of the musical instrument. The company also had a vision of making Crystal a device intended for massive performances at concert arenas.
9. John Lennon’s Steinway Model Z
The Steinway Model Z is simple, understandable and brown in appearance. You would not consider buying it at first sight because of its simple brownish looks. You will also notice that the Model Z does not have any luxurious features such as gold or crystals. Besides lacking attractive or lavish features, the piano has an extremely high market value. It currently costs $2.37 million because John Lennon, a legendary musician, was its previous owner. Lennon bought the Model Z for $2,456 with an objective of bestowing it upon his wife back in 1970.
John Lennon used the Steinway Model Z to produce his internationally acclaimed song, ‘imagine.’ The price of the Model Z is high due to this fact. Ranked as the second most expensive piano globally, it is currently under the ownership of George Michael, a British pop star. Michael still uses the instrument to compose music. Most people jokingly referred to Model Z as a cheap-looking piano back then. Others felt that the device was magnificent because of the impact that its previous owner left to the global music industry. After buying the Model Z, the new owner allowed members of the public to view it for the first time in the Beatles Story Museum situated in Liverpool.
8. Red Pops for (RED) Parlor Grand Piano, Steinway & Sons
Steinway & Sons are behind one of the higher priced pianos in the world known as the Red Props Parlor Grand Piano. The instrument boasts of bright, eye-catching colors (red and white). Steinway & Sons succeeded at blending red and white colors to create a musical device that also acts as a symbol of wealth and lavishness. The lead singer of the renowned Band U2, Bono, inspired the creation of the Red Pops.
Before Red Pops’ creation began, Bono was in need of a two-toned musical instrument that he would use to entertain the guests of Red Auction. Hosted in New York, the Red Auction was a charitable event aimed at raising money for the fight of Malaria, Tuberculosis, and AIDS in Africa. Bono’s efforts to contribute to the design of an eye-catching musical instrument were successful. The Red Pops helped to raise $1.95 million during the charity event. Stewart Rahr, a billionaire, and philanthropist managed to buy the Red Pops during the charity event. Composers of the hit song, “#2”, used the piano to handle most of the song’s production work.
7. The sound of Harmony Concert Grand, Steinway & Sons
Guo Qingxiang requested a custom-built piano, known as Sound Harmony Concert Grand, from Steinway & Sons. Qingxiang was a Chinese art collector who did not mind spending a fortune to own a customized musical device. The Sound Harmony Concert Grand features vibrant images of peacocks as decoration. Steinway & Sons enhanced its acoustic quality by using 40 layers of wood to construct it.
Steinway & Sons took three years to turn a piano idea to the Sound Harmony Concert Grand Piano. Steinway & Sons are always on the verge to disrupt the music instrument manufacturing industry. The company took the time to find ways in which the Sound of Harmony piano can stand out from others that retailed at the market back then. The company also worked closely with visionaries and artists to ensure that the final product was a success. Qingxiang also got his name signed on the device using crystallized gold unlike ink that most customized devices have. He also spent $1.63 million to procure the instrument.
6. Galaxy Piano
The Galaxy Piano is among the most futuristic musical instruments the world ever saw. Galaxy Instruments, a UAE company, was behind the design of the Galaxy Piano. The company targeted wealthy individuals to buy the instrument. Galaxy Instruments ordered the raw materials for building the piano from Germany to make it more luxurious. At that time, most individuals who had an interest in devices such as the Galaxy Piano lived outside the UAE. The firm used individual flight cases to make the invention. Instead of referring to itself as a musical instrument seller, Galaxy Instrument refers to itself as a luxury product provider.
When you look at it for the first time, you may think that it is a device pulled from a SciFi movie. As the fifth most expensive piano of all time, the Galaxy Piano amassed a total of $1.36 million during its sale. The instrument boasts of a body made of fiberglass and 24-carat gold. When you take a closer look at the Galaxy Piano, you will notice that it features curved keys and an automatic lid. Only five pieces of this device were available for purchase on the market. You will have to find the owners in person to purchase one of the parts.
5. The Kuhn Bosendorfer Grand Piano
A musical instrument developed by two people, the Kuhn Bodendorfer Grand Piano features diamond patterns of gold leaves. The creators, L. Bosendorfer Klaviefabrik and John Kuhn also used 100,000 jewels that they polished using hand-cut glasses to build it. The instrument measures 7.4 inches in thickness. You can confuse it with a gem due to its shiny appearance when you first see it.
Kuhn and Bosendorfer focused on building a piano that would appeal to women. They included decorations such as diamond patterns of gold leaves all over it. Kuhn and Bosendorfer were among the visionary piano manufacturers in the world. The two shared the same vision of disrupting the piano market. With their emphasis on giving women something to enjoy, they succeeded at creating a unique musical product. Back then, they were the only piano makers who saw the potential of targeting women using their musical instruments. There is only one piece of this instrument across the globe. The tool has a current value of $2.1 million.
4. Alma-Tadema Steinway
The Alma-Tadema is not just a musical instrument but also a piece of art. Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema inspired its creation back in 1887. Steinway and Sons also built a replica of this piano a hundred years later. The replica version features inlaid pearl pieces, a lid, legs, an intricately hand-carved case and an arched bass lyre. The original version amassed $54,538 when sold in the market. On the other hand, the Steinway and Sons versions current value is $1.2 million. The company decided to name it Alma-Tadema Steinway in memory of Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema.
Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a talented painter of Dutch origin born in the Netherlands. He attended the Royal Academy of Antwerp, based in Belgium, for his tertiary education. Alma-Tadema moved to England back in 1870 and gained full citizenship after deciding to settle there for the rest of his life. Most of his paintings depict the hierarchy and luxury of the ancient Roman Empire. He inspired some modern-day painters. His pictures are also available for display in different art exhibitions based in the UK.
Steinway & Sons is a reputable piano manufacturer behind several renowned pianos. Most of the company’s product achieved international acclaim due to the company’s commitment to quality artistry. When the company decided to build a replica of the Alma Tadema, their vision was to give the world something that would feature in the history books. The company did not disappoint when building the replica. Part of the raw materials used included high-quality soundboards and acoustic boards.
3. Marilyn Monroe’s Baby Grand Piano
Marilyn Monroe is among the world’s most respected figures. Most of the things she did back then earned recognition and respect from people of different backgrounds. Marilyn owned a Baby Grand piano that she used for making music. Before she gained the ownership of the instrument, her mother was the sole owner. Her mother died, and the device went into the hands of an unknown person. Marilyn Monroe noted in her 1974 biography of the piano, which her mother once owned, reached her hands. She also explained that her mother, Gladys, had a nervous system illness. She frequently took her mum to Norwalk State Hospital for treatment.
Marilyn managed to track the person and gained ownership of the Baby Grand. She later passed away at a young age leaving the piano under her estate. Mariah Carey, one of the most talented vocalists of this generation, bought the instrument for $662,500. This move made the Baby Grand rank in the eighth place regarding the world’s most expensive pianos.
2. The Casablanca Piano by Richardson Inc.
Most people know Casablanca as one of the most high-selling and memorable movies of all time. When the movie’s production ended, people bought some valuable pieces, which appeared in the film, for incredible prices. The Casablanca Piano was among the most useful pieces used in the movie. It appeared in the “As Time Goes By” scene, which featured Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart as the lead characters.
Richardson Inc. oversaw the design and creation of the Casablanca piano. The company prides itself on making high quality and eye-catching musical instruments. The producers of the Casablanca movie chose the company’s product because of its unique and outstanding looks. They also aimed at entertaining the viewers using the best means possible. Richardson Inc. consists of designers of musical instruments who have several years of experience in making tools such as pianos.
The Casablanca Piano was easily noticeable back in the day because of its yellow-greenish finish. Its design and overall aesthetic were unique. The piano helped the Casablanca movie to earn most of its high ratings. It also helped the film take an approach that other film did not bring back then. Unfortunately, the bright finish faded away leaving the device less eye-catching. Regardless of its looks, the device has a present value of $602,500.
1. La Mort du Cygne, Erard
Mahogany wood is a raw material for most high-quality furniture and products of woodworking. The raw material is also ideal for making pianos due to its rich and fancy appearance. The creators of La Mort du Cygne primarily used mahogany to make this instrument. Also known as, the Dying Swan, the device has an eye-catching appearance and a smooth texture.
La Mort du Cygne was an artistic piece custom-built by several ancient artists of French descent. It ranks among the most elegant music instruments ever made in this world. Its signature fruitwood veneer inlay adds character, value, and beauty to it. A company known as Erard was behind the device’s design. The company worked closely with Victor Prouvé and Louis Majorelle, who were talented and visionary artists. The French artists designed it using tans and golden-brown colors.