Just Junking | Just Saying... | Trash to Treasure

The Player Piano Story

August 10, 2012

My husband and I used to live in Denver, but I grew up in Winfield, Kansas. It’s a small town in South Central Kansas, near the Oklahoma border. We came back every summer to visit family and my dad was always taking us to auctions. I grew up going to estate and farm auctions, but the novelty was definitely something new to my city husband. They just don’t have the same kinda auctions in Denver.

One summer we went to an auction that didn’t have a lot of competitive bidders. It could have had something to do with the downpour we had earlier that morning, and it was outside. Everything was covered with tarps until they were ready to sell what was under each one. Peeking was allowed, but I didn’t see everything before we got involved in the items that were currently up for bid.


Then, it happened. They uncovered an old player piano. I wasn’t impressed. It had not been cared for. There were no bidders, so they threw in a box of piano rolls. Lots and lots of piano rolls. They started asking for bids again. I looked at my husband like he had lost his mind when he joined in the bidding. Needless to say, the other bidders weren’t that interested, which quickly left my husband with the winning bid of $45. I didn’t no whether to faint or laugh hysterically.

We somehow got it back to my parent’s house and put it in the barn. We went back to Denver, borrowed our neighbor’s horse trailer and did a turn-around trip to Kansas and back with our new prize.

It sat in our dining room for a while. It couldn’t be played, AND it looked ugly. We finally started checking with piano companies on how much restoration would cost. A lot. Duh! We finally took the plunge and did it. I can’t remember if we had it done that first year, or if it was the next one, but we got the piano back just before Christmas.

Thank goodness it was a player, because none of us knew how to actually play a piano. We had a lot of friends and family who did though, so it’s been played both ways. Kids have always been drawn to it. Our kids enjoyed it, and the little girls (now grown women) down the street used to visit and pedal a tune or two. Cassie and Rochelle, do you remember those fun times?

In 2000, we decided to sell our Denver home and move to Winfield. The piano came full circle. I wish I could tell you something about its previous life, but the auction consisted of several lots and several selling clients. We didn’t think to get information about its former home(s).

The piano did have a name and serial number, which allowed us to date it. That’s about all we know of its past.

Well, my kids are grown now. It’s time for the piano to go to another home where it can be enjoyed.

This is the descriptive advert I have placed on a local, buy-sell-trade Facebook page and a local radio station.

“Hinze Chicago Player Piano, built in 1922. Inside overhauled and outside refinished about 15 years ago in Denver. It is in complete working order, but will need to be tuned. The piano can also be played manually, as well as pedaled. The keys are discolored from age. We were told by the piano company that repaired and refinished the piano, replacing the keys was an option, but it would take away from the value. They all work and none are missing, so we decided not to replace them. There is no piano bench or stool.

Please Make Offer. All offers considered.

I also have 50-60+ piano rolls that I would consider selling per roll, as a lot, or with the piano.

Please Make Offer. All offers considered.

We didn’t post a price with the listing. We are hoping someone will make a fair offer. According to several resources and a bit of research, we know it is worth between $1200 and $6000, not including the piano rolls. The economy, and the size and weight of the piano may prove to be a hard sell. We’re hoping for at least $1000. We’ll see….(sigh)

If you are interested..or know someone who might be..or live in the area…leave a comment or use the contact button on here.