Why The Piano's piano didn't sell at auction

The piano used as a prop in Jane Campion's Oscar-winning film The Piano is up for sale on Trade Me.
The piano used as a prop in Jane Campion's Oscar-winning film The Piano is up for sale on Trade Me.

A piano that claimed to be the star of Jane Campion's Oscar-winning film failed to sell after being withdrawn from auction - despite reaching its reserve price.

An Upper-Hutt resident listed what they said was the piano from an iconic beach scene in The Piano on the auction site with a reserve of $1000 and a buy now of $1500.

It was being sold on behalf of the owner by a seller claiming they had a certificate to authenticate the prop's origins.

It attracting just one bid of $1000, passing reserve. But TradeMe said the auction was withdrawn shortly before closing.

"We thought it was a really cool auction and we hope they give it another shot," said TradeMe's Logan Mudge.

"Our members love getting involved in kiwiana auctions like this as we've seen over the years."

In the question and answer section of the auction, former director of Westside Studios Robert Baldock confirmed the piece was original.

"I verify this piano was used in the movie The Piano," he wrote.

It's understood the instrument was gifted away by its studio owners after the release of the film and that it was sold again at auction in 2013.

But in bad news for those wanting to actually play the instrument, although it's made by John Broadwood & Sons, it's just a prop and has no moving parts.

Before it sold, a potential buyer hoped to push the price down so they could acquire the piano for a museum, where it would be on display to the public.

"I have several squares, one similar to this and one a conversion to drawers! The price range is twice what I have been purchasing at; while you may well sell it to someone as a memento, would you consider locating it with me a a more reasonable price," Trade Me user Rachmad wrote.

Unfortunately the request was denied, saying the item was worth more than they were currently asking for.

"I have since found I should have had a higher price on it. We will have to wait until auction finishes and I'll ask the current owner."

Another queried its authenticity, citing "one very noticeable difference" from the piano featured in the beach scene.

"The original piano has carved patterns in all the legs. This piano doesn't."

A vague reply stated that the legs may have been changed before it was auctioned more than three years earlier.

- AAP with nzherald.co.nz

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