A Wellington resident listed what they say is the piano from an iconic beach scene in The Piano with a reserve of NZ$1000 on the auction website TradeMe, with a “buy now of $1500”.
When the auction closed on the afternoon of March 8, bidding was stuck on $1000, with the legendary movie prop still being listed as “not sold”.
The unnamed seller says they have a certificate to authenticate the prop’s origins from the period film starring Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin and Harvey Keitel.
In the question and answer section 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 1993 release of the Oscar-winning 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 the reputable John Broadwood & Sons, it’s just a prop and has no moving parts.
One potential buyer hoped to push the price down so they could acquire the piano for a museum.
Unfortunately the request was denied, saying the item was worth more than they were currently asking for.
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.