Decker Brothers Pianos
Decker Brothers pianos are musical instruments made by the American piano manufacturer Decker Brothers, established by David Decker and John Jacob Decker.
Brief history and description
Although the company only lasted until the turn of the twentieth century, the Decker Brothers had an enviable reputation for producing superior and exceptional pianos.
Initially born in Germany, the Decker brothers moved to America around 1850 and after working for some of the prominent American piano manufacturers, established their own company in 1862. Located in the John H. Edelmann designed Decker Building in New York, the Decker Brothers piano company was famous for designing some of the most advanced pianos of the nineteenth century. They were awarded numerous patents for piano building, most of which are still being used in modern piano design today.
Despite their relative obscurity today, during the nineteenth century it was widely acknowledged that Decker Brothers produced pianos that were just as good as famous brand names such as Knabe, Chickering & Sons and Steinway & Sons. Their exceptionally well built grand, square grand and upright pianos were some of the best made pianos of the time. However, despite their widespread and desirable status in knowledgeable piano circles, Decker Brothers did not attain the notability of some of their equivalents.
The company ended its operation around 1900 due to the death of John Jacob Decker. However, many piano historians speculate that had Decker Brothers survived to continue producing pianos then they would have gone on to become one of the leading piano manufacturers of the twentieth century.
Pianos made by the Decker Brothers are very good restorable instruments. Although they never received the credit or recognition that they deserved, a Decker Brothers piano of the same period is equivalent to the quality of a Steinway & Sons and Mathushek.
In modern antique piano markets, Decker Brothers pianos do not sell for as much as their more well-known counterparts, nevertheless they still fetch more than double the price of an average piano manufacturer of that period. Because of their relative obscurity, Decker Brothers pianos have not featured in musical-instrument catalogues at international auction houses, such as Bonhams or Christie’s.
Collectors are more likely to find Decker Brothers pianos being sold at reputable online antique piano dealers like Antiquepianoshop.com. According to Allexperts.com, an unrestored Decker Brothers piano can be bought for $500. Fully restored Decker Brothers grand pianos, however, regularly sell between $5,000 and $20,000 when sold by online piano dealers.
As with any antique musical instrument, the quality of its restoration can vary. Depending on the piano’s age, condition and fundamental quality, true restoration can be time-consuming and extremely expensive. However, there is little monetary value in an unrestored piano and so investing in restoration for an antique piano can ultimately raise its auction value tenfold. Online companies such as Antiquepianoshop,com and Pianoemporium.com offer restoration evaluations for Decker Brothers pianos.
A fully restored 1893 Decker Brothers concert grand piano was sold by the online piano dealer Antique Piano Shop for $35,000.
A 1896 Decker Brothers rosewood parlour grand piano, restored to its original condition, was sold by the online piano dealer Antique Piano Shop for $25,000.
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