From the Steinway & Sons archives, this Model B Steinway was completed on August 14th, 1918 and sold to Harry S. Harkness on August 23rd, 1918. The instrument was originally sold as a plain ebony case. Also on record with Steinway & Sons is that the piano was sent to Schmieg-Hungate-Kotzian, the 20th century prestigious premiere furniture makers of that time in New York. Acting on behalf of Harry S. Harkness, this Steinway piano was sent from Steinway & Sons to the furniture manufacture’s firm where the art-case was crafted using the finest materials money could buy.
Harry died of Influenza on January 24th, 1919. He loved to lavish the most expensive and beautiful gifts for his wife. Unfortunately Harry never got to present the piano to her in person due to his passing before the piano was completed.
The piano stayed with his wife when it was finally delivered to 270 Park Ave in New York. She remarried Florence S. Schuette and stayed at the apartment until her passing. Today 270 Park Avenue is the headquarters for JPMORGAN CHASE & CO.
This section of Park Avenue contains some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Real estate at 740 Park Avenue, for example, sells for several thousand dollars per square foot. Current and former residents in this stretch of the thoroughfare include Blackstone Group co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, former Morgan Stanley executive Zoe Cruz, private equity investor Ronald O. Perelman, John D. Rockefeller Jr. the sole son among the five children of businessman and Standard Oil industrialist John D. Rockefeller and the father of the five famous Rockefeller brothers, and others. James Cash Penney lived at 888, and Leonard Bernstein at 898.
The piano then was auctioned with other art property , furniture and appointments on January 3rd at 2 p.m. in 1946 with Parke Bernet Galleries, Inc. which is now known as Sotheby.
The piano was donated and discovered in a mansion in 2008. Since then it has undergone extensive renovation to the case and internals and is after these many years finally being presented for the world to see.
This Steinway & Sons Model B was built in 1918 and has been restored to it’s original beauty, including the gold leaf patina. Henry Steinway himself once claimed that “She’s a beauty! This piano belongs in a museum.”
The Harkness Steinway is one of the most valuable pianos on the market with the magnificence of it’s tone and beautiful art case this piece of American history brings with it the allure of an intriguing past and more than a hint of drama and romantic mystery.