Is there any monetary value to ancient skeleton keys? Individual skeleton keys often sell for $10 or less, but specific types can be considerably more valuable. Keys with elegant bows, unusual engravings, a fascinating history, or other unique characteristics can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Antique keys have been used to open doors for centuries because they fit most locks without modification. However not all old keys are equal; some are much better than others. The best keys are functional and clear, with no broken teeth, bent pins, or darkened chambers. The more rare the key, the higher its price will be. Keys that were part of sets, or are marked "For the Cabinet of..." are also prized by key collectors.
Antique keys are made from various materials including steel, brass, and wood. Each type of material has advantages and disadvantages for making keys. For example, steel keys are durable but require special tools to make them fit certain types of locks. Brass keys are easier to work with but don't last as long. Wood keys are the most delicate but also the most attractive. Old keys tend to deteriorate over time; if a key is no longer working, it should not be used again.
Keys can be used on many different kinds of locks, but they were originally designed to open the wards of medieval doors.
Antique skeleton keys are normally priced around $10 or less, although older or more intricate skeleton keys can cost up to $1000. They are rather easy to locate at estate sales, antique shops, or online. Newer antique skeleton key copies may be found at hardware stores and even home décor merchants.
Skeleton keys are still used today in some lock systems such as Schlage's SmartLock system and Yale's Keyless Entry system. These locks can be opened with a key or by pushing a button on the key fob. They are more secure than standard keys because they don't need any physical part of the key to open the lock.
Keys have been used for hundreds of years and we will always need them. In fact, there are already several companies that produce electric keys that work like skeleton keys-they don't require any physical part of the key to open the lock.
People often ask me if they should buy a new key made today or an old key from before 1994. This is a difficult question to answer because each situation is different. If you are locked out of your car, it might make sense to buy a new key because these cars use special technology that makes normal keys not work. However, if you live in a house where everyone has access to each room, it doesn't matter how old the key is. You would just use it to open your front door since it works fine with your lock system.
Antique pianos, like antique books, are not worth a lot of money just because they are old. In reality, these antique instruments may be worth relatively little. In extremely good condition, most antique upright pianos are worth $500 or less. For example, a very good condition 1820s Thomas Edison-designed square piano might sell for as little as $250. However, most antique pianos are in poor condition and unlikely to be worth much more than $100.
In fact, an antique piano is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If no one is interested in buying your piano, it won't bring much if any money. You can try to find a buyer through an online piano auction site or contact antique dealers or museums who may be interested in purchasing the instrument.
The best way to estimate how much your piano is worth is to search for sales records for similar instruments. Then search online for current price information for your particular make and model. Use these two values as a starting point for bargaining with a potential buyer. If you cannot come up with a number that both you and the seller agree is reasonable, then there is no need to continue with the sale.
Old instruments tend to lose value quickly so don't wait too long before trying to sell them.