Steinway concert grand piano, $80,000 (£64,000) at Nadeau’s.

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Leading the line at the Annual American and Chinese Spring Auction was an instrument that won best in class at the 1876 World’s Fair.

Debuted at the Philadelphia Expo, where it won the gold medal for ‘best concert grand piano’, it is thought that 424 Model D Centennial pianos were manufactured by Steinway over a seven-year period (1876-83). This one, carrying the serial number 47889 that dates it to c.1881, was housed in a monumental rosewood and marquetry rococo style case.


Detail of the Steinway grand at Nadeau’s.

Only four of these ‘no expense spared’ cases are known with this one the only one to include a newly patented action with 88 keys and A440 tuning. It was owned by pharmaceutical pioneer Kenneth Alan Hill (1941-2020) of Fort Worth, Texas, who treasured it as a focal point of his mansion, the historic Baldridge House.

Restored by Precision Piano Services in California, the piano offered at the auction on April 27 has recently received a full concert service and maintenance.