I recently acquired a square grand Knabe Piano from the 1850’s. It was restored about 30 years ago and now has some chips in the finish and I don’t really care for the color or fact that it has brush stokes that look like poorly executed faux finish. I also scuffed up the bottom in the process of loading and unloading it onto a trailer which I did entirely alone. The scuffs are from the use of woodblocks to support its weight as I had placed 5 automotive car dollies under it to enable the removal of the legs and ability to roll it. Upon stripping the finish from one leg I discovered there was several places it had been filled with puty and multiple types of filler used on it. I had initially thought to create a very high gloss black finish and intended on applying several coats of automotive clear coat. Someone talked me out of painting it black and insisted it be stained black and then clear coated. After discovering the difficulty in stripping only one leg I’ve decided that’s not something I want to do and have concluded it’s best to paint it. Having worked with various finishes I’m opting for a marine and industrial coating that I have had excellent results with on a number of other surfaces. My question is in regards to resale. Would this piano be admired by the musical community once it’s been altered and painted black? Would people even recognize it’s been modified? Would it be frowned upon?
Square pianos are a specialty market, primarily of interest to antique collectors. In general they don't sell for much in the first place, and a collector will be more interested in an "original" instrument. My experience is that painting the instrument a new color will more likely reduce its value than raise it.