Rare Steinway piano goes up for auction

Nigel Blagburn with the piano.
Nigel Blagburn with the piano.

A rare vintage instrument – worth at least £10,000 – which was found during a house clearance will go up for auction this weekend, in aid of charity.

The 1907 Steinway B grand piano, which is described as ‘the Rolex of pianos’, will go under the hammer at Alnwick Auctions on Sunday, with the proceeds going to St Oswald’s Hospice.

The piano is the most expensive item that Nigel Blagburn – who set up Alnwick Auctions – has put up for sale at the venue, which is based at Station Yard, close to Barter Books, and he is excited to see how much it will fetch for the charity.

A collection of vintage violins, also found during the clearance, will go under the hammer in the same sale this weekend and the proceeds of these will also go towards St Oswald’s.

The piano and the violins were discovered at the home of one of the hospice’s supporters.

The instruments, along with the property’s remaining items, were donated to St Oswald’s by a legacy supporter who lived in Morpeth.

The woman, whose link to the hospice is unknown, generously left all of her household belongings to the charity in her will, calling them ‘personal chattles’.

First to stumble upon the valuable finds was logistics manager at St Oswald’s, Kenny Paxton, who is responsible for the charity’s house-clearance service.

He said: “The St Oswald’s Hospice house-clearance service has been running for three years so we have come across unusual items and valuable goods before, but the Steinway piano is definitely the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

“Generally when we do a house clearance following a legacy donation, an item’s value is indicated in the will. This was not one of those occasions – we had no idea the piano was so rare until we called in the experts.”

After making the discovery, Kenny approached one of his local auctioneer contacts for advice on valuing the piano. Only then did the instrument’s true value and history transpire – identified as a 1907 Steinway B grand piano.

Kenny said: “Nigel from Alnwick Auctions is a regular at our Kingston Park warehouse, which is the treasure trove of our donated goods so I knew he knows his stuff. He looked at the piano and immediately described it as the ‘Rolex of pianos’. We were shocked and excited when he told us its estimated value, it will be a massive help to funding the hospice.”

Sunday’s sale starts at noon, with viewing from 10am. For more information and to view the lots, visit alnwickauctions.co.uk

For more hospice details, visit stoswaldsuk.org