Story and Clark Piano Value – From Vintage to Valuable

Story and Clark pianos have been a significant part of American musical history since their founding in 1857. However, what is the current value of a Story and Clark piano?

Known for their quality craftsmanship and rich sound, Story and Clark pianos have adorned many homes, churches, and concert halls. Understanding the value of Story and Clark pianos, especially vintage models, is essential for piano enthusiasts, collectors, and musicians.

This article explores the factors that contribute to the value of Story and Clark pianos and highlights some of the most valuable models.

Historical Overview

Story and Clark pianos were established by Hampton L. Story and Melville Clark, and the company quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality instruments. Over the years, they have produced a range of pianos, including uprights, grands, and player pianos, each known for its durability and musical excellence.

In recent decades, the Story and Clark brand has been linked to QRS Music Technologies, Inc., which acquired and incorporated it into its product offerings.

While the original Story and Clark company ceased its operations as an independent entity, the brand name lives on under QRS Music Technologies. Many traditional pianos are outfitted with QRS’s advanced player piano technology.

story and clark piano with qrs player unit
Story and Clark Baby Grand Piano with QRS Player Unit

Is Story and Clark a Good Piano Brand?

The short answer is yes,

Story and Clark is considered a reputable and good piano brand. Their pianos are known for several positive attributes that make them a worthwhile consideration for both beginners and experienced musicians. Here are some reasons why Story and Clark pianos are regarded as good instruments:

  • Quality Craftsmanship: Story and Clark pianos have a long history of quality craftsmanship. Founded in 1857, the company has a reputation for producing durable and reliable instruments. Their attention to detail in construction ensures that each piano meets high standards.
  • Sound Quality: One of the most important aspects of any piano is its sound quality. Story and Clark pianos are known for their rich, full tones and responsive touch. This makes them suitable for various playing styles and genres of music.
  • Innovation: Story and Clark has a history of innovation in the piano industry. They were among the pioneers of the player piano, introducing models that could play music rolls automatically. This innovation has made some of their vintage models particularly unique and valuable.
  • Durability: Story and Clark pianos are built to last. Many vintage models from the early 20th century are still in good playing condition today, a testament to the durability and quality of the materials used in their construction.

Story and Clark is a good piano brand known for its quality craftsmanship, rich sound, durability, and innovative designs.

Factors Influencing Piano Value

The value of a Story and Clark piano depends on several factors:

  • Age and Vintage Status: Older pianos, especially those built before the 1940s, are often considered vintage. These pianos were handcrafted with attention to detail, which can be rare in modern instruments.
  • Condition: The overall condition of the piano, including its internal mechanisms, soundboard, strings, and exterior finish, plays a crucial role in its value. Pianos that have been well-maintained or expertly restored command higher prices.
  • Rarity and Model: Certain models are rarer than others and, therefore, more valuable. Limited production runs, unique designs, or models that introduced significant innovations can be particularly prized.
  • Provenance: A piano’s history, including previous ownership and use in notable performances or venues, can enhance its value.

What is the Story and Clark Player Piano Value?

The price range for Story and Clark player pianos can vary significantly depending on factors mentioned above, such as the piano’s age, condition, model, and whether it has been restored.

Unrestored Player Pianos

  • Fair to Good Condition: $500 to $3,000
  • Average Condition: $1,000 to $4,000

A Story and Clark player piano in fair to good condition that may require some repair or restoration work typically costs between $1,000 and $4,000. If the player mechanism is non-functional, the price might be lower.

A piano that has had some restoration work done but may still need additional repairs or tuning might be priced between $3,000 and $6,000.

Restored Player Pianos

  • Good Condition: $3,000 to $8,000
  • Excellent Condition: $8,000 to $15,000 or more

A fully restored Story and Clark player piano, with the piano and player mechanism in excellent working condition, can fetch prices from $8,000 to $15,000 or more, especially if it is a grand piano. High-quality restorations that preserve the piano’s original character while ensuring full functionality can be particularly valuable.

Notable Vintage Models

story and clark vintage player plano

Among the many models produced by Story and Clark, several stand out for their historical significance and value:

  • Antique Upright Pianos: Uprights from the early 20th century are particularly valued for their ornate cabinetry and robust construction. Models like the “Mission Style” upright and distinctive arts and crafts design are highly collectible.
  • Player Pianos: Story and Clark were pioneers in producing player pianos, which use a pneumatic mechanism to play pre-programmed music rolls. Vintage player pianos from the 1920s are popular among collectors for their historical and mechanical significance.
  • Grand Pianos: Grand pianos from the early 1900s, especially those with intricate woodwork and superior soundboards, are among the most valuable. The craftsmanship in these instruments often surpasses modern standards, making them prized possessions for serious pianists and collectors.

Vintage Story and Clark Piano Value

An upright piano from the early 1900s in average condition might sell for around $1,000 to $3,000. If it’s in excellent condition or restored, the price could go up to $4,000 or more.

If it is in good condition, a Story and Clark grand piano from the same era might be priced between $5,000 and $10,000. Restored models may fetch upwards of $12,000 to $15,000.

A vintage player piano in working condition can cost between $2,000 and $6,000, while restored player pianos might cost between $6,000 and $10,000.

Most Valuable Models

apollo baby grand piano

The most valuable Story and Clark pianos tend to be those that combine rarity, historical significance, and excellent condition. Some standout models include:

  • Melville Clark Apollo Grand: Named after one of the founders, this model is celebrated for its exceptional sound quality and beautiful design. Grands from this line, particularly those from the early 1900s, can fetch high prices.
  • Early 20th Century Player Grands: These hybrid instruments, which combine the grandeur of a grand piano with the self-playing capabilities of a player piano, are rare and highly valued.
  • Custom and Artist Series: Special editions or custom-made Story and Clark pianos, often designed for specific clients or events, can be extremely valuable due to their uniqueness and the craftsmanship involved.


Story and Clark pianos represent a significant chapter in the history of American piano manufacturing. Depending on their condition and restoration status, Story and Clark pianos can range from relatively affordable to quite expensive.

Vintage models, especially those well-preserved or expertly restored, can be of considerable value to collectors and musicians alike. For those considering purchasing a player piano, it’s crucial to assess the condition of both the piano and the player mechanism.

When assessing the value of a Story and Clark piano, consider its age, condition, rarity, provenance, and sound quality. Whether you are a collector seeking a piece of musical history or a musician searching for a quality instrument, a Story and Clark piano can be a treasured investment.

Always consult a professional appraiser or piano technician who can provide a more accurate valuation and ensure you make a well-informed investment.

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