Vintage Irish Flute

Vintage Irish Flute

My father who passed away in 2005 was an avid student and collector of instruments. I am finally ready to part with some of his favorites. In 1984 he purchased an 8 key Rosewood flute made by Michael Copeland. I cannot locate a serial number. It has brass fittings and keys. He paid $1,500. I have been trying to determine a current value and have an antiques business through which I can sell it. Any help is much appreciated!

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

Well, Michael is still around so far as I know, so it’s not *that* vintage!

In terms of value, every flute has its own value, but as a starting point probably not more than the purchase price plus inflation. There is a website (I forget the name, but someone will supply it, I’m sure) that deals in Irish flutes based in the US - in terms of maximising the value of it, you’re probably best placing it with someone like that on consignment. Random flutes found in antiques shops are very much a shot in the dark.

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Re: Vintage Irish Flute

"There is a website … " https://www.irishflutestore.com/

I know nothing more other than that the store and its owner get many positive mentions by those who discuss such flutes in the internet.

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

Copeland instruments are high quality and hard to come by. I had one of his whistles that I bought for $95, sold for $300 and have seen go since for over $600. Kevin Krell and dunnp (Patrick) are contributors to this site who tend to be up on these things. Be guided by them if they reply. Whatever you do, don’t give it away.

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Re: Vintage Irish Flute

Michael Copeland is still alive…but only minimally active as a maker due to health constraints. That flute will be highly prized by whoever acquires it. Kevin Krell might be able to guide you, and even possibly put you in touch with Mr. Copeland.

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

I just did a bit of online research and it seems a keyless Copeland would fetch $800-1,200. I’d guess $1,500-$2,000 might be appropriate for yours. If it were me, I’d start at $2,000 and perhaps bargain a bit. If it plays really well, it will sell for what a buyer is willing to pay, so it will help if you’re not in a hurry.

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Re: Vintage Irish Flute

Yet another possibility would be to contact Blaine Chastain at https://www.irishflutestore.com/
He might be uniquely qualified to assist you.

As an aside, an 8-key Copeland flute is a bit of a unicorn, so if a speedy sale is not essential, $2,000 would be, to me, far too low a sale price.

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

Blayne might even be willing to sell it for you, his commission rate is very reasonable.

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

A 6-key Copeland would likely go for the $1,500-2,000 mentioned earlier. The lower keys generally add a lot of expense (& weight) to the build, and aren’t even offered by some makers. While Copeland’s can be nice flutes, they don’t usually command the price of more active or desired "brands". A fair price depending on condition, which woods, quality of keywork, might be around $2,500 , at a mere guess.

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

I’m stating the obvious by saying that any instrument is only worth what one specific person is willing to pay at one specific point in time.

I follow certain vintage instruments on Ebay and the market fluctuates up and down depending on the economy, mood, and happenstance.

An instrument that only fetches $500 last week might go for triple that price this week, because nobody was looking for that particular thing last week but two somebodies were looking this week.

Re: Vintage Irish Flute

Copeland famous for whistles (big premium), not so much for flutes. I’d second (or third) the recommendation to get it appraised by Blaine Chastain at https://www.irishflutestore.com/

You may have an antiques business - but a flute is a specialist item. I think it will command greater value as an instrument than as an antique (which it isn’t really anyway).

Brass fittings and rosewood would be slight negatives in terms of value. 8-key, Copeland and provenance (especially if you have some original paperwork) are positives. The other factor will be condition - how well has it been cared for and how well does it play now. If it is a really sweet instrument in great playing condition - could be worth the higher end of ranges discussed in this thread. It may need some work to restore it to best condition (corks, tenons, pads, springs) - but that would be money well spent if its needed.