How to Pawn an Antique Organ

February 25, 2020 - Antiques, Art and Collectibles

What’s the correct response when someone wants to talk to you about pawning an organ?

If the person suggesting this is smoking a cigarette, wearing a trench coat, and roaming around a dark alley at midnight, the only logical answer is to get out of there and stop hanging around dark alleys.

On the other hand, if the person is a guest who noticed that old pipe organ collecting dust in your living room, hear them out. Antique instruments can be worth good money if you take them to the right pawn shop.

The value of old musical instruments can change based on a variety of factors. To find out more about how to get money for vintage musical instruments, keep reading.

Getting Antique Instruments Appraised

Don’t treat vintage musical instruments like an old couch that homeowners abandon on the curb in hopes someone will pick it up. The value of old musical instruments is typically much more than the value of an old couch that sustained repeated attacks from the family cat.

Unfortunately, it’s common for old church organs to end up in landfills because churches can’t find anyone willing to take the instrument off their hands, but the organ in your living room probably isn’t as elaborate or worth $500,000. Those are good things because they’ll make the instrument that much easier to place.

The first step to selling an organ is getting it identified and appraised. There’s no need to wait for the Antiques Roadshow crew to visit town, either. Instead, pick up the phone and start calling local music stores. They probably have someone on staff who can identify antique instruments.

If moving the organ to the store for appraisal is too tricky, someone from the music store may be willing to schedule a home visit. If not, try calling the music department of a nearby university. If they can’t help, they likely know someone who can.

Organs Versus Pianos

Many people use the term “organ” and “piano” interchangeably, but that’s the kind of mistake that would drive a music major batty. Someone trying to sell an old organ would do well to bone up on old musical instruments’ names at some point in the process.

Organs had their heyday in the mid-to-late 1800s. By the early 1900s, pianos were more popular, at least inside homes.

Pianos are powerful lead instruments. A musician can play a lively concert using nothing more than a piano.

Organs do best in a supporting role, which is one reason they remain a popular instrument in churches. It can also create a wider range of sounds than a piano.

Not all churches are fans, though. In 1649, English Puritans destroyed organs because the music they generated wasn’t considered pious enough.

The power of a piano comes from that first contact with the key, while an organ is capable of creating a more sustained sound as long as the person playing it keeps pressing the key.

Selling the Organ

Once your instrument has been appraised, it’s time to figure out the best place to pawn it.

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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