The Sale of Vintage Pipe Organs
Finding new homes for vintage pipe organs has been the core activity of the Organ Clearing House since its founding in 1961. Instruments become available when parishes merge, close, or purchase new instruments.
In order to offer an organ for sale we need photographs, specifications, and dimensions of the instrument. If you are not familiar with organs we can tell you how to gather this information. When we know something about the organ we can suggest an appropriate asking price and publish the organ for sale on our website.
Because of the large number of instruments available we do not accept every instrument as a new listing.
Purchase of Vintage Pipe Organs
When we are contacted by a church, school, or family that wishes to acquire an instrument we work to understand the role the organ will play in a buyer’s community, concert hall, or home. We ask about liturgical and artistic needs, architectural and acoustic considerations, and budget constraints.
There is more to placing a pipe organ than checking physical dimensions. We will work with you to choose an instrument appropriate for the acoustics, liturgy, and other activities of your church.
If another organbuilder is involved, we are happy to rely on the builder’s judgement as to which instrument would be appropriate for a given location and to work with them to find the ideal organ from the existing inventory.
We charge a Finder’s Fee of $2,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is greater. This fee helps defer the cost of gathering information about an instrument and is paid by the purchaser unless otherwise negotiated in advance. Other costs such as travel to your building and onsite consultations are negotiated separately and are in addition to the Finder’s Fee.
When an organ is purchased, we are available to dismantle, repair or restore, ship and install the organ, or to deliver the instrument to a chosen organbuilder.
We are available to advise you regarding any issue relating to your pipe organ. We can assess the condition and location of your existing instrument, make recommendations concerning repair, expansion, or replacement. We can help you create a better environment for the long-term care of your instrument, assess its value for appropriate insurance coverage, and advise you regarding the possibility of large-scale repairs that may be necessary in the future.
We typically visit a building for two days during which we study the instrument and its physical surroundings and meet with people involved in the use and care of the organ. The visit would be followed by a written report. We can develop consultation programs to take you through the acquisition of an organ including committee education, creating Requests for Proposal, helping a committee assess and compare proposals, negotiation of an agreement, and inspection of a completed organ.
Consultation fees are based on a daily rate plus expenses.
Pipe Organ Restoration and Repair
We offer complete pipe organ restoration and repair renovation services including releathering, installing solid-state control systems, and reconstruction necessary to adapt an instrument to its new location. Our fully-equipped workshop supports the full range of necessary tasks. We are knowledgeable working with all types of pipe organ actions and have renovated or restored many distinguished instruments.
Because we are familiar with the language of the pipe organ, the workings of the church, and accustomed to coordinating our work with other contractors, we are ideally suited to serve as principal contractors and project managers, helping you sell and remove your old instrument, arranging for storage space when required, and preparing your building for the delivery of the new instrument.
Our crew includes skilled carpenters well-versed in the specialized work required by many church buildings. We have constructed new organ chambers with specially designed sound-reflecting walls and ceilings, supplied scaffolding and rigging equipment, coordinated the schedules of electricians, lighting specialists, sound technicians, and other specialized contractors.
When a pipe organ is damaged or destroyed by fire, water, or another outside force, professional advice is needed to assess the damage and estimate the cost of repairs or replacement. We have worked for churches, universities, insurance and utility companies providing expert consultation and testimony.
Pipe Organ Protection
Pipe organs are extremely susceptible to damage from dust and debris resulting from building renovations and other construction projects. As you plan to paint the ceiling, sand and refinish the floor, put in new windows, or any other project that will subject the organ to dust, we advise you as to the appropriate level of protection. We will remove, pack, and store reed pipes, cover the organ with plastic tents that enclose positive air pressure, build protective shells around sensitive components, and when your project is complete we will put everything back together, clean, and tune the organ.
Many church buildings boast complex architectural features that collect dust and are hard to reach. We can combine our experience with scaffolding and rigging equipment and organ renovation skills to clean those elements according to today’s preservation standards. We have cleaned and preserved valuable carved organ cases, rood screens, pulpits, and other liturgical furniture, cooperating with art museum preservation specialists to obtain micro-crystalline wax developed especially for this work. We can clean and refurbish light fixtures and stained-glass windows, coordinating as required with electricians and other contractors.
Whenever we are working in your building we are sensitive to your worship needs and will work with you to create a schedule that allows for efficient execution of the work and the least possible interruption of your usual activities.
We are allied with specialty cabinet shops capable of the most ornate milling and carving. We can relocate and alter choir stalls, install new floors, build communion rails and altars, build cabinets and shelves for music storage, and any provide any other specialty furnishings that would help complete your organ project.