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Thread: value of pipe organ

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    value of pipe organ

    my family has an old house pipe organ. it has been build appr.early 17th century and has recently totally been restored. it has wooden and lead pipes.
    we are looking for a price estimate/value of this organ. does anyone know who to contact / where to find an estimate of its value?
    for exact details of the organ and pictures pls contact me on l.zandt@chello.nl or in this forum.

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    Re: value of pipe organ

    Wow, you are really lucky to own an instrument like that!
    It is impossible to tell the value of such an item unless you're an expert. Why don't you ask the person who restored it? Or contact an organ builder in Holland. You could check the following site, whre you'll be able to get in contact with the right people or advertise.
    http://www.orgelbouwers.nl/
    Good luck!

  4. #3
    Apprentice, Piano D P Werner's Avatar
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    Re: value of pipe organ

    Whoever did your restoration should be able to help with valuing the instrument. There's www.organclearinghouse.com. They are very US-centric but might give you some ideas. Old pipe organs, even very old ones, on the whole have surprisingly little resale value.

    I would say these are main criteria for value:
    - How well can the history of the instrument be documented
    - Who built it
    - The less it's been altered over time the more potentially valuable it is. This is related to the first point. Restoring a modified organ to its supposed original state is not nearly as valuable as it not having been altered in the first place.
    - Old organs are of more historical interest than monetary value. The irony is that the organ is perceived to be more valuable if it remains in its original location. Move it somewhere else and it's not quite as historically interesting.

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    Re: value of pipe organ

    This is indeed a burning question with various Churches in India having British built pipe organs. We have no organ builder in India and those "surviving" repairers can barely address only the tracker & pneumatic actions so that the pipes which are still speaking continue to peal. In fact one church from Mussourie in North India ask me the value of their pipe organ some 20 years back (when I was much less knowledgeable)
    Good luck

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    Re: value of pipe organ

    on the the other hand the tradition of REED organ lives in india and in india alone.
    in my last visit to dharamshala (himachal pradesh)i bought
    a punjabi reed organ that was anfurtunately too small to play western classical music and without pedal.
    i allso noticed that being a hill station there was an english
    church with large reed organ (foot pumped) that needs some VERY
    extencive repair . hupefully they will start build western style instruments for export an tourists soon. i would be glad to buy one

  7. #6
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    Re: value of pipe organ

    There are ways to make money on a large scale, but organ building is not one of them! I appreciate this is not a direct reply to the original poster's question, but the "value" of a pipe organ is, in some ways, incalculable.
    Different industries have different profit margins,though there is usuallly some uniformity within a given industry.
    Supermarkets, for example, work on a fairly low profit margin, e.g.10 to 12 %, but make large profits from high volume sales. An organ building firm is in a different ball park. As a one time Director of the British firm of Grant Degens and Bradbeer I have a working knowledge of the sums involved. I have also researched the balance sheets of some other organ building companies. Some are better off than others, but all work on limited reserves, and without a healthy order book would have a short life.
    It is hard to precisely predict the future, but there is a limited market for new organs and the future seems to lie with the small firms of skilled craftsmen, with low overheads and flexibility. Thus organ building is by way of being a vocation
    rather than a business, the classic economic definition of which is an organisation designed to maximise profits.
    The actual costs of building an organ are the materials for the
    pipes, soundboards, action and console. To this must be added the cost of labour - though organ building does not offer large rewards financially - and it is not a labout intensive industry in the sense of employing a large percentage of the workforce. However, the construction costs of individual organs is mainly that of skilled labour! There are factory overheads - premises, running expenses, office staff etc. But continued existence is dependent on cash flow from new work and contract payments, which depends on satisfied customers and reasonably competitive prices.
    So pipe organ building is a vocation, and the value of an instrument, a bit like art, is what people will pay for it!
    If it is a unique artefact of historical importance it will be worth more than an a collection of pipes attached to a console. These may cost as much to remove and repair as a new organ, and be of little artistic worth at the end of the day. On the other hand, sometimes organs of real interest come on to the market due to churches closing - for example the pipework from a "Father" Willis organ in London dating back to 1857, was recently moved and installed in a church in Burnt Oak, (St Alphage's) another suburb of London. But the action, framework and case were all new. Only the Pipes were used - carefully restored. The organ has tracker action. (see photo) It was considerably less expensive than an all new organ, and probably better than many!
    John Foss

  8. #7
    Commodore con Forza
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    Not too long ago, I read something where somebody asked the approximate value of the organ in the Mormon Tabernacle. The semi-official answer was that there was really no way to arrive at a figure. Reasons: The organ is basically an Aeolean-Skinner built in the late 1940's by a company that went out of business in 1971. In the case of a much older organ, one would have to set the value in current monetary value, not what it might have cost a couple of hundred years ago.

    I think the Tabernacle organ ran something around $125,000 -- back around 1948. Not today. What did the Schoenstein organ in Hinckley's Palace (the new Conference Center) cost? I haven't heard that one, but it was surely a good bit more than $125,000. Read it and weep!!

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dll927 View Post
    . . . What did the Schoenstein organ in Hinckley's Palace (the new Conference Center) cost? I haven't heard that one, but it was surely a good bit more than $125,000. Read it and weep!!
    The original approved cost hovered around $3,500,000 (USD) for the Shoenstein organ. I've heard it in person ... was actually at the Inaugural Concert held in June of 2003, seated 6 rows from the front, near the center. It is not as large as the Tabernacle instrument, and that was done on purpose as I understand it.

    The value of the Tabernacle organ is ... priceless ... hard to put a price tag on something like that. I would assume it is insured for several million dollars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpzandt View Post
    my family has an old house pipe organ. it has been build appr.early 17th century and has recently totally been restored. it has wooden and lead pipes.
    we are looking for a price estimate/value of this organ. does anyone know who to contact / where to find an estimate of its value?
    for exact details of the organ and pictures pls contact me on l.zandt@chello.nl or in this forum.

    An old pipe organ is very valuable piece of our History.It is so powerful wealth for every nation.If you want I wanna buy your pipe.
    Contact with me through emailhilipmberg74@yahoo.com

    Sincerely
    Philip

  11. #10
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Yep, the "Tabernacle Organ" is priceless - Imagine the C-C at St. Sulpice then - Its way beyond priceless.............
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    You got that right, brother CD ... there are many great pipe organs of the world that also fit into the 'priceless' category.

  13. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    So what criteria put an organ into the Priceless category? Age, size, history, maker, location?
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  14. #13
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Imho, maker, history, and age are important criteria - But I also believe that the tonal composition of the organ and how it is voiced also plays a major role. Look at it this way:
    C-C built organs which in countless ways started a new school of organ-playing and composition - Lets call it "Symphonic" - Willis was very inspired by C-C as was Skinner and methinks that Schoenstein is following the Symphonic Vein
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  15. #14
    Commodore con Forza
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    As for Dorsetmike's criteria, I'd say "all of the above". Even location matters, since the acoustics of a church, concert hall or whatever are part of the equation. They voice the pipes to sound "right", which is part of why it can take quite a while to install and voice a fairly sizeable organ. I've even heard of cases in which they sent pipes back to the factory to re-do some of the characteristics.

    One can't help wondering how C-C did it without all the scientific doo-dads we have now. To say nothing of Silverman and all the others.

    That figure of $3,500,000 for the Schoenstein doesn't surprise me. But the LDS church is hardly on food stamps. I, too, understand that the organ is somewhat less extensive than the Tabernacle one, but the console is suppposedly a pretty close duplicate -- probably so Elliott et. al. are 'at home' with either one. They have various websites that describe the organs, of which there seem to be several right there at the Temple Square area. Oddly enough, the Temple itself does not have a pipe organ!!

  16. #15
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dll927 View Post
    the acoustics of a church
    Is the most important stop of the organ...freely quoted after Skinner.............
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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