Monday, June 8, 2009

Cool Console #1 - Krakauer



This lovely spinet is a Krakauer made in 1946.  Krakauer Brothers of New York City was one of the few mid-sized piano companies to avoid being swallowed up by one of the large piano conglomerates in the 1920's and 30's.  It wasn't until 1980 that Kimball took control of the name.

This piano was designed to look less like an upright and more like a small square grand, a common design approach for the time.  The ribbed bowed sides are meant to disrupt the necessary vertical box holding the plate and strings, and draw attention to the flat horizontal box holding the keyboard and action.  The veneer is a lovely walnut, with vertically oriented grain on the keyslip, the stretcher above the fallboard, and the pedal stretcher.  The bottom board has a fake lyre above the pedals.  The medallion above the fallboard has the name Krakauer stamped into ivory-colored celluloid.  The inlaid daggers above the legs are an especially nice touch.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am the owner of a "1946 Krakauer Spinet as pictured on you site. The piano is in perfect condition. I don't want to sell it, I am quite happy with it. It is really a beautiful piano with very good sound. I was curious as to the value.

Bill Calhoun said...

I can only tell you that it is not as valuable as you might think. As a used instrument, a Krakauer of this vintage and size is only of average value. You could consult a piano dealer in your area who is selling used consoles to get an idea of its value.

As a piece of furniture, though, it would be worth more, to the right person. An antiques dealer might be able to advise you, but this would be a more speculative valuation.

Your question is a common one, though, and it makes me think that posting about piano value might be a good idea. So thanks!

Bill

Scott Smith said...

Bill, I have this same piano and we are missing the little wheels on the two front legs. Any idea where I might be able to get those wheels?

Jeff Alterman said...

Not many of these Krakauer Bros. spinets were manufactured. Good examples can be of substantial value. However, the actual value can be highly speculative. Unlike many spinet and console pianos, the Krakauer Bros. were not mass produced and they generally used good quality materials. There were some practical aspects to the Krakauer Bros. spinet and console pianos. The bridges are only notched on one side, but the workmanship on the bridges is better than that of nearly all of the average brand pianos. Also, they often sounded better than the typical spinet or console.

Jeff Alterman said...
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Crack Hour said...

In the early 70's when I was a young teenager, my father bought a used one of this exact piano through the connections of a trusted family friend. The piano sounded nice but soon developed major problems. Turned out, the small leather straps and delicate wood pieces of the action mechanisms were dried out, cracked and brittle. One by one the keys would no longer play. My father was too cheap to spend any money on repairs so he tried to fix it himself with tape, glue and shoelaces. EEK!!!. Needless to say, the piano ended up at the garbage dump :(

Jeff Alterman said...

To Crack Hour:

Too bad your father didn't spend the money to have the piano repaired properly. What a waste of a good quality piano.

Crack Hour said...
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Crack Hour said...

Yep, it was too bad. I saw one recently at a retirement facility. I have two Yamaha grands now so I can't say I miss those spinets too much.