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“A Message From Alan Weiss”

I have had a great love for vintage flutes from my youth. I remember the first time I tried a Louis Lot when I was in high school. I was amazed as this nineteenth-century work of art transformed my breath into music. In my orchestra days when I could finally afford to buy one, I searched in vain for a Louis Lot flute. My first fine, artist-quality flute was a vintage Powell that my teacher James Pappoutsakis had found for me. After hearing many recordings and concerts of Rampal and later Galway, I fell in love with the gold flute sound. Today, in addition to performing and recording on my modern gold Haynes flutes, I also own vintage Louis Lot and Powell flutes. I stay in shape practicing on older flutes and love their color variety, liquid tones, and evenness of registers. I have owned, played, and examined many Louis Lot, Bonneville, and Haynes flutes of wood and metal. In 2002, I was privileged to meet David Chu, who as one of the finest flute makers and restorers known to me, has expanded my knowledge of these musical treasures.

Vintage flutes start at surprisingly affordable prices and will complement a flute collection for performers and collectors. Performers will appreciate the darkness and purity of the sound as well as the projection of these flutes.

A great-playing flute in mint, museum-quality condition will command a higher price point. A vintage flute cannot be restored and maintained properly by just anyone. One of the biggest problems we may find with these old flutes is damage caused by poor repairs! Antique key cups utilize spuds and washers and must be floated and seated very differently than a modern flute. Key heights are closer to the tube. Oftentimes, older solder has corroded which requires repair with special glues or re-soldering in the worst cases. Every flute offered for sale at www.VintageFluteShop.com has been carefully and lovingly restored with felt pads to bring out the best of its potential.

Here are some common questions and answers regarding vintage flutes:

Q. How does one begin their quest to purchase a vintage flute?

Start with good questions asked to experts in the field. You will need to determine your budget and needs. Please contact us for assistance.

Q. How are prices determined?

Supply, demand, condition, and playability determine price. A flute with clear provenance owned by a “very famous” flutist may garner a higher price. We follow auction results and prices of flutes sold through dealers and private sales.

Q. Are all vintage flutes hallmarked?

You will not find any hallmarks on a plated flute unless it has a silver lip plate or silver mechanism. Haynes flutes were occasionally marked sterling. Most Haynes flutes were actually coin silver. Vintage Powell flutes were sterling and had no markings. First-generation Lots are not usually hallmarked. Hallmarks appear on the second-generation Louis Lot Villette series with the boar’s head for silver purity and H#V hallmark. Gold embouchures may or may not have the French eagle hallmark. Chambille-era hallmarks have the E#C stamp.

Q. Which are better, silver or plated flutes?

This is a personal choice. Silver will not have any plating wear. Plated flutes have a thick layer of silver applied over maillechort, an alloy of zinc, nickel, and copper. These were fully professional flutes with soldered tone holes designed as an alternate sound to silver. Many flutists prefer the tonal properties of silver-plated Bonneville flutes. Generally, solid silver flutes are more expensive.

Q. Are vintage flutes usable today?

Absolutely! I have used them in chamber music and orchestral work. If you appreciate the fabulous playing of historical flutists and the sensitivity of modern artists whose style embraces warmth of tone, expression, and musical taste, then the VintageFluteShop.com will become your resource for French and vintage flutes.

Copyright © 2015 Alan Weiss


For more information please email Alan Weiss at alan@vintagefluteshop.com