Loading Spinner

Flutes

The flute is the oldest-known woodwind instrument. The earliest flutes date back about 43,000 years ago in Germany, and flutes found in China have been dated to 7000 B.C. Flutes appear in Greco-Roman artwork from about 200 B.C. Throughout history, many instruments have been referred to as flutes, with the common element of a round tube with finger holes and an embouchure hole on an instrument held horizontally while playing.

The modern-day flute was invented by Theobald Boehm, a watchmaker from Munich, Germany in 1832. Boehm continued to perfect his flute, and by 1847, had developed it into the instrument now used today. The Boehm fingering system is still used by musicians today.

Vintage flute collectors often specialize in collecting certain types of flutes. Some collectors may search for flutes from different eras, such as Renaissance, Baroque, or Classical-style flutes. Other collectors may focus on flutes from different countries, including France, Germany, or Austria. Individual flute makers may also be of interest to collectors, including Louis Lot, Auguste Buffet, and Eugene Thibouville.


Quick Facts

  • Flutes were not included in jazz pieces until the end of the '40s, when amplification through microphones had improved to the point that the flute's tones could be distinguished apart from the other instruments
  • The Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection is the largest collection of flutes and flute-related material in the world. It is housed in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and contains 1,650 flutes
  • In 1939, the Powell #365 exhibited at the New York World's Fair. Made of platinum with sterling silver keys and an engraving of the fair's logo, the last recorded sale price of this flute was $187,000 in 1987

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Peddler Premiere & Gemeinhardt Flutes
Feb 24, 10:00 AM MST
Peddler Premiere & Gemeinhardt Flutes
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$354 Bids
bp parity badge
Gemeinhardt Flute & Case
Feb 25, 12:00 PM EST
Gemeinhardt Flute & Case
by Neely Auction
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Musical Instrument : the major parts of an early 20thC three-piece piccolo
Feb 26, 9:00 AM GMT
Musical Instrument : the major parts of an early 20thC three-piece piccolo
by Claydon Auctioneers
Est: £20- £30
£200 Bids
GRASSI IDA MARIA VERSILBERTE QUERFLÖTE
Mar 02, 11:00 AM CET
GRASSI IDA MARIA VERSILBERTE QUERFLÖTE
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Flutes


Claydon Auctioneers

Claydon Auctioneers

Neely Auction

Neely Auction

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

Auktionshalle Cuxhaven

Auktionshalle Cuxhaven