The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the piano had sat unplayed in a living room in Phoenix, Arizona for more than fifty years.
Peres Da Costa, a lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium, posted his bid on eBay; the piano was his the next day. When it arrives later this month, it will reportedly be the only such instrument in Australia.
"Usually when you're looking for historic instruments you go to an auction house like Sotheby's or Christie's," Peres Da Costa told the paper. "I just thought, 'This is providence, I can't let this go.'"
Now he hopes that the piano, which he believes could one day be valued at around $75,000, has a safe journey to Sydney. The Herald writes that over-zealous customs officials have sometimes stripped the ivory keys from antique pianos (international trade in ivory now being banned so as to protect endangered elephants) without informing the owner.
Peres Da Costa hopes that his purchase will be inspire young musicians in his country to take an interest in early music. "We're desperate to put early music on the map in Australia," he told the paper. "Until now, not one music institution in this country has consistently supported early music. We want young musicians to get excited about the possibilities."