Selling an Instrument

Over the last five decades OCH has been involved in the sale and relocation of more the 2000 pipe organs. There are several good reasons to offer a pipe organ for sale:

         - The church or institution is closing
         - A new organ has been commissioned and the old one must be removed.
         - The building is to be renovated.
        - The building has been purchased by a congregation whose worship style never has and likely never will require a pipe organ.

In order to access the potential for a sale, you will need to provide us with some basic information:

Specifications

  • History

  • Dimensions

  • Photographs

  • Recordings

Before contacting us, please gather as much of this information as you can. Below is a more in-depth description of each of these elements.

 

Specifications

This is the list of the organ’s tonal resources. If you are not familiar with the jargon of the pipe organ, the easiest description is the inventory of names, numbers, and other information engraved on the controls, knobs, buttons, and switches around the organ’s keyboards. This list is often published in concert programs, but we find the easiest way for the layperson to transmit this information is simply to photograph the organ’s console and keyboards with enough detail and resolution so we can read the names from the photos.

 

History

Any information available about:

  • Who built the organ?

  • When was it built?

  • Was the organ ever modified, rebuilt, moved, or renovated?

  • Were any prominent organists/musicians associated with it?

 

Dimensions

In simple instruments, all we need is the height, width, and depth of the organ chamber and organ console as accurately as possible in inches, feet, or any metric unit. Imagine that we have to build a box around the organ (the equivalent of fitting the organ in a new location). The box must be large enough to accommodate all extremes.

In more complicated situations, the organ might be installed in several locations, or installed in a chamber that is larger than necessary. That’s why we imagine the box – what’s the space necessary to house the organ?

 

Photographs

Most important information. Good photos should tell us:

  • What does the organ look like from a distance?

  • What is the level of decorative detail?

  • Console controls (as stated earlier).

  • Interior of the organ showing both organ pipes, mechanical equipment below and surrounding the pipes, and blower equipment.

  • Take into consideration our need to assess the condition of the organ. If there’s obvious damage, please show it clearly.

 

Recordings

Recordings are very useful to potential purchasers. It allows them to hear a representation of the organ’s tonal effects.

 

Pricing

With all this information we will be able to suggest an appropriate asking price. We will be happy to discuss this with you, knowing that you may wish to realize as high a price as possible. However, it’s important to note that the cash value of a standing pipe organ is usually very low. There is no connection between resale value and the cost of building a new organ. It is very rare for a pipe organ to “re-sell” for more than $50,000. Most instruments sell for $25,000 or less.