|Knowing the fair market value of Bechstein pianos is useful to sellers, buyers and owners.
This information can help guide you in making important decisions.
including W. Hoffmann
Bechstein America, LLC
Manalapan, New Jersey 07726
Made by: C. Bechstein Pianoforte Fabrik GmbH, Berlin and Seifhennersdorf, Germany;
and C. Bechstein Europe Ltd. (former Bohemia Piano Ltd.), Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
Bechstein was established in 1853 by Carl Bechstein in Berlin, Germany. Carl Bechstein’s vision was
the creation of an instrument of high quality with technical innovation, that was perhaps a bit ahead of
its time, as initially the piano shops of Berlin were not interested. However, superb workmanship,
numerous awards and the endorsement of famous pianists and composers soon made Bechstein one
of the foremost piano manufacturers in Europe by the late 1800s. In 1900, Carl died and his sons
Johann, Carl and Edwin took control. With the passing of Carl's sons, a Depression and two world wars,
the company was nearly destroyed until it was once again rebuilt and acquired by Baldwin in 1963. In
1986 Baldwin sold Bechstein to Karl Schulze, a West German master piano builder and entrepreneur
who enabled re-organization of the company, opening a new production facility in Kreuzbergin by 1989.
In 1992 Bechstein formed the Bechstein Gruppe-Berlin, acquiring the Saxony Piano Factory in
Seifhennersdorf, using a unique combination of computer-controlled tools and traditional craftsmanship
to produce their instruments. At this time, the names of Euterpe, W. Hoffmann and Zimmermann were
acquired. In 2002 Bechstein and Korean firm, Samick Music Corp., each acquired a small financial
interest in the other and co-operated in technical matters, marketing and distribution. With the
agreement, SMC, Samick's North American distributor, distributed Bechstein pianos. The agreement
terminated in 2007 and Bechstein was then distributing through its own subsidiary based in New York.
Since 2006, the German factory in Seifhennersdorf manufactured the "Bechstein" brand and the lower-
priced consumer line, Zimmermann. The progressively cheaper lines were made in the Czech Republic
(W.Hoffmann), China and Indonesia (Euterpe, Wilh. Streinmann). In 2006 and completing in 2007,
Bechstein acquired controlling interest in Bohemia Piano Ltd. of the Czech Republic, which it integrated
as C. Bechstein Europe. Bechstein provided Bohemia with technical assistance and support, and the
two companies collaborated in the manufacture of certain parts. Sales of Bohemia pianos continued
through the existing dealer network. In 2009, the Wilh. Steinmann and Euterpe brands were
discontinued. By 2012, Bohemia pianos were no longer produced, and Bechstein instead focused on
their other lines of piano brands - the Zimmermann brand (manufactured in China) now sold in Europe,
while only the W. Hoffman name being sold in the U.S. and Canada.
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