Details & Cataloguing

Important Manuscripts, Letters and Memorabilia from the family of Arturo Toscanini


Steinway & Sons, New York
Serial number 145860, manufacture completed on 21 November 1910, case in original Steinway “Sheraton style” with all appropriate design elements, ebonized nitrocellulose lacquer finish, original etched and panelled legs, ivory keys, small crack on deskframe, small partial crack on underside of soundboard, some surface rust on strings, some hammers and hammer shanks replaced in 1999
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Catalogue Note

Toscanini’s own Steinway with an impeccable provenance and links to Vladimir Horowitz.

The Steinway and Sons archive records that this instrument was completed in New York on 21 November 1910 and shipped to Signor Arturo Toscanini of Milan, Italy on the steamer Cincinnati Ohio on 14 February 1911. It was returned to the New York factory to be upgraded with ‘accelerated action and new underlever assembly’ together with refinishing of the lacquer case and plate bronze. This work was completed on 9 March 1948.

Apparently Arturo Toscanini also lent this instrument to Vladimir Horowitz, his son-in-law, who is known to have played it.

This instrument was examined in August 2012 by Steinway and Sons. The general condition was noted as ‘playable, good regulation, good overall tone with fairly even voicing’. A copy of Steinway’s piano condition assessment is available on request from Sotheby’s.

Also included with this instrument is an autograph note in red ink signed (“Gratefully Arturo Toscanini”) comprising a greeting or notes for a short speech on the centenary of Steinway and Sons in 1953. The writer hails Theodore E. Steinway and members of the Steinway family as “supporters of the cause of music” and states that “…Steinway Pianos are recognized the world over [as] the best. I ever called them the Stradivarius of pianos myself and all artists in the world are greatly indebted to the House of Steinway…”, (2 pages, 4to, headed “AT” monogram printed stationery, traces of former mount, minor tear)

Please note that this instrument will not be exhibited at Sotheby's London or New York.It will be on view at Steinway Hall, 109 West 57th Street, New York, 12-28 November. Please contact Leah Delany at Sotheby's, New York ( or 0012126067385), for viewing details.

Please also note that due to its location in New York, the lot will be subject to New York sales tax. Any taxes due upon import into any other country, including the UK, are the responsibility of the buyer. Export out of America will require a US CITES licence due to the ivory content, which will take between 6-8 months to be granted.  An import CITES licence will also be required in the destination country.  Please refer to the department for further information.

Sotheby’s are grateful to Ron Losby, Robert C. Berger and the staff of Steinway & Sons for their assistance.

Important Manuscripts, Letters and Memorabilia from the family of Arturo Toscanini