Most Expensive Pianos
June 7, 2021 •Chuck Johnson
Updated for 2023
Most people are fascinated to learn about the most expensive things--whether jewels, or cars, or houses, or clothing. For instance, many people would find it interesting to see the world's most expensive mansions and to know what they cost, such as:
- Buckingham Palace, London: $1.55 Billion.
- Antilia, Mumbai: $1 Billion.
- Villa Leopolda, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France: $750 Million.
- Witanhurst, London: $450 Million.
- Odeon Tower Penthouse, Monaco: $400 Million.
Sometimes visitors to our Steinway showrooms express surprise at the cost of a new Steinway piano - and we remind them that Steinway is NOT the most expensive piano. We wanted to find out what the most expensive pianos were in 2021 and find out where Steinway landed on that list.
Ordered from high to low - the following is a list of the most expensive pianos that are generally available for sale or from current manufacturers in stock finishes -- not rare historical instruments that are found in museums, or irreplaceable one-of-a-kind Art Case pianos, or unique collectibles—these can exceed $18,000,000.
Note: Pricing on a per-model basis can vary between information sources (we used a combination of internet research, and inside-industry pricing knowledge - last updated 2023).
Most people also know from experience that the most expensive things they buy are not always the best, or don't necessarily meet their needs. When it comes to pianos, you may be surprised to learn the results.
1. Bösendorfer 290 Artisan: $622,999
Founded in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer in Vienna, Bösendorfer has a storied history in the world of piano craftsmanship. For nearly two centuries, the company has remained dedicated to producing exceptional instruments, starting with Franz Liszt's passionate performance on a Bösendorfer Grand in 1838.
The Bösendorfer Grand Artisan, the most expensive piano on our list, is not just a musical instrument but a breathtaking work of art in itself. Drawing inspiration from marquetry traditions dating back to the second millennium BC in the Orient, this grand piano is adorned with delicate, slender designs featuring floral patterns and precious veneers.
2. Fazioli F308: $423,000
Fazioli was founded in 1978 in Rome by Paolo Fazioli, a musician and engineer who held management positions in his family's furniture factories in Rome, Sacile, and Turin. Fazioli builds only grand pianos (no uprights), about 150 per year. The F308 concert grand is 10'2" long and has 4 pedals.
Features include Val di Femme soundboards, adjustable bronze capo d'astro bars, Canadian pinblocks, and two actions and two pedal lyres as options on all models. Finish in olive polish/satin.
3. Schimmel K 213 Glas: $358,750
Since its beginning in 1885, Schimmel has dedicated itself to the art of piano craftsmanship, employing artistic expertise and a profound knowledge base to bring the joy of music to countless individuals. Looking back at its history, Schimmel underscores that even amidst the onslaught of technical advancements and the digital revolution, the creation of an exceptional acoustic piano is intrinsically tied to the conscious preservation of tradition.
In line with this rich tradition, the Schimmel K 213 Glas represents a pinnacle of innovation and craftsmanship. At 7 feet, this masterpiece of a piano redefines both the visual and auditory realms of music. What sets the K 213 Glas apart is its extraordinary use of glass—a material that not only elevates the instrument's aesthetics to new heights but also introduces unique acoustic characteristics.
4. Blüthner 1 Ambassador: $298,379
In 1853, Leipzig's cultural dynamism inspired Julius Blüthner to establish his piano factory. With innovative designs and a passion for excellence, Blüthner pianos quickly rose to prominence, winning global acclaim and setting a standard for musical excellence that endures to this day.
The Blüthner Supréme Edition Ambassador is a grand piano characterized by its timeless elegance. Crafted with precision and attention to detail, it features a rosewood case with a beautiful fishbone pattern reminiscent of traditional French furniture. The piano's design includes chamfers, molding, a turned leg, and a delicate lyre. Available in various grand piano lengths, including Model 1, Model 2, Model 4, and Model 6 by special order, this one stands out with its impressive length of 9 feet 2 inches, promising exceptional musical performance.
5. Seiler SE278 Concert Grand: $290,812
Seiler Pianos was established in 1849 in Leignitz by Eduard Seiler and the company eventually became the largest piano manufacturer in East Germany. After WWII the company moved to Kitzingen, Germany where it resides to this day. In 2008 Seiler was purchased by the Korean manufacturer Samick but manufacturing of high-end Seiler pianos remained in Germany.
In 2013 Seiler introduced the lower cost Johannes Seiler series with new scale designs manufactured in Indonesia. Though in business since 1849, Seiler is relatively new to the concert-grand market, having had a 9′ grand in production for only about 15 years. The Seiler SE278 concert grand is 9’2”and it is available only in polished ebony finish.
Some features of this piano are nickel-plated cut thread German rod steel tuning pins, Renner action with hornbeam rail, solid spruce "membrator" system soundboard and white spruce ribs pre-curved and notched to the inner rim.
6. Bösendorfer 225: $275,999
The "Grand Piano 225" by Bösendorfer is a standout instrument known for its orchestral-like qualities and exceptional sonic presence. It's part of the Imperial Line, measuring 225 cm in length, and boasts extra bass notes down to Subcontra F, offering a wide range of dynamic and tonal possibilities, from delicate pianissimo to powerful fortissimo. This unique sonic versatility makes it a popular choice for chamber and solo performances, leaving a lasting impression on audiences.
7. Steingraeber E: $266,960
Steingraeber & Söhne, a renowned name in the world of pianos, boasts a rich history that traces its origins back to the 1820s. The journey began with the establishment of the Steingraeber piano factory in Thuringia, Germany. It was Eduard Steingraeber, a member of the second generation, who relocated to Bayreuth in 1852, where he merged the 'Viennese' and 'English' piano actions to create the groundbreaking 'Opus 1.' Since 1867, Steingraeber pianos have consistently received international acclaim, a testament to their exceptional craftsmanship.
The Concert Grand Piano E, a successor to the 1895 model, stands as a distinctive and exceptional instrument highly regarded by pianists today. Notable features include its unique sound-reflecting inner casing, star-shaped/half-timbered braces, and an action described as "unbelievably enjoyable" by pianist Cyprien Katsaris.
8. Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Concert Grand: $256,495
The Kawai company was formed in 1927 by Koichi Kawai and seven of his colleagues. Modern manufacturing began in 1955 and by 1963 Kawai centers were launched around the world. Shigeru Kawai are the company's premium grade of grand pianos.
The SK-EX concert grand is 9’0” and is available only in a polished ebony finish. Some features of this piano are Australian wool hammers, a tapered and tuned solid spruce soundboard, alternating rock maple and mahogany rims, hand planed ribs, thinned hammer shanks, and post-delivery service when each buyer receives a visit within the first year by a Kawai master technician from the factory in Japan.
9. Mason & Hamlin VX: $247,481
For close to two hundred years, Mason & Hamlin has steadfastly upheld its heritage by employing top-quality materials and age-old techniques to create the finest pianos on a global scale. Presently, these extraordinary American-crafted instruments adorn the stages of concert halls and conservatories, earning acclaim for their unique sound characterized by clear, bell-like high notes, powerful low notes, and outstanding ease of play. The Virtuoso X Series, proudly crafted in the USA and undoubtedly of world-class quality, represents Mason & Hamlin's latest line of pianos. These remarkable instruments seamlessly blend historic designs from the Golden Era of Pianos with contemporary innovation and refinement, ushering these pianos into the 21st century.
10. Grotrian G-277 $233,700
Friedrich Grotrian began manufacturing pianos in Germany in 1835 in a partnership with Heinrich Steinweg (who later emigrated to the United States to found Steinway & Sons in New York in 1853).
Grotrian pianos were well known throughout Europe and well respected and managed to continue manufacturing throughout both World Wars until eventually, in 2015, a Hong-Kong based piano manufacturer under the name Parsons Music Group bought a majority interest in the company, continuing production in the Grotrian factory in Braunschweig, Germany.
Grotrian uses laminated beech hardwood for their grand piano rims and pin blocks, actions made by Renner, solid spruce soundboards like most fine pianos, and employ single-stringing throughout the entire scale. Grotrian uprights possess an unusual back construction with the posts arranged in the shape of a star for equal distribution of string tension.
In 2018, Grotrian introduced two more affordable versions under the label Wilhelm Grotrian. They are manufactured in Asia.
11. Sauter 275 grand piano: $230,000
The Sauter company was established in 1819 by Johann Grimm in Spaichingen, Germany. When Grimm passed, the company was left to Carl Sauter, thus beginning a lineage of Sauters. Sixth generation Ulrich Sauter now oversees operations of Sauter Pianofortemanufaktur in Germany.
The Sauter 275 concert grand is 9’0” and the piano is available only in a polished ebony finish. Some features of this piano are Bavarian solid spruce soundboard, beech pin block, Renner action, a keybed reinforced with steel to prevent warping, and all pianos are fully tropicalized for humid climates. The factory produces about 500 vertical and grand pianos a year in its factory in the extreme south of Germany, at the foot of the Alps.
12. Steinway D Concert Grand: $198,400
The most interesting fact regarding the New York-based piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons is that although it is the least expensive of the top 12 most expensive pianos, it is professionally and exclusively endorsed by 97% of solo concert pianists worldwide when playing with an orchestra, while all other piano manufacturers combined compete for a fraction of 3% of the symphony market.
Steinway has also been long recognized by piano historians as the world leader in technical and scientific piano innovation having garnered 139 engineering patents to date since 1853, the vast majority of which have been incorporated in some fashion into the other top brands and are now found in virtually every other piano manufacturer's designs.
Each element of the Steinway concert grand has been designed and refined with the world-class performing pianist in mind. From the Rock Maple rim, to the Alaskan Sitka spruce diaphragmatic soundboard the Steinway D is the standard by which the others are judged.
Steinway owns the German Renner action company, the German Kluge key company and the Ohio O.S. Kelly cast iron plate company. Together these Steinway-owned companies supply many of the action and key components for most of the piano companies above.
The Model D concert grand is 9' and is available in 13 different finishes including satin or polished ebony and many exotic hardwoods from around the world. Countless articles and books have been written about this most famous of all piano brands which has been the favorite piano of most of the world's most eminent concert pianists in all genres.
Learn More About the Value of Pianos
The value of a given piano is something that remains somewhere between the heart, head and hands of the player. It’s fascinating to learn that the most famous and sought-after and respected piano in the world is not even in the top 10 in terms of cost.
As the New England representatives for Steinway & Sons we like to remind ourselves (and our guests!) that quality, cost, durability and reputation should be primary considerations when selecting a fine piano.
For more, check out our summary of all things Steinway.