Clarinet Values

What is the Value of your Clarinet

This question of course gets asked by most people because they think their beloved clarinet from years past is worth far more than what they bought it for or that they found a clarinet at a garage sale which must be worth a ton of money because they are lucky and bought it.

First let’s take a look at which clarinets are worth some value. If you have anything other than a professional Buffet, it is worth far less than what you paid for it, this may include garage sale prices.  And then many professional Buffets sell for less or the same as the retail price 25 years ago.   If you have an intermediate clarinet, there is nothing about it that makes it a professional clarinet and worth more, period. If the clarinet has been in the family for  decades then there is an emotional attachment and you think it is worth more
than it is, then keep it.

We are mainly talking about it’s true sale value in an open market.  Clarinets are a dime a dozen, and like cars they lose half their value once purchased, no matter if you drove it or not.  After that it’s mainly downhill.  Of course over time you may recover value such as a Buffet R13 from say 1960 was bought for $180 is now worth $800 in undamaged and playable condition.  But that’s a long time to wait, and few other instruments actually increase in value.

Others people I correspond with have been told their clarinet is worth far more than what I tell them it is worth and they are perplexed. They want me to buy it at their price but I won’t get anywhere near what they were told it is worth.   Let’s differentiate between a few items first – INSURABLE VALUE and the actual AS-IS value in an open market such as eBay.

Most of the time people get an insurable value, or a retail sale value of the instrument.   You will get this from non-instrument people that get the $$ value from some “magical” book.  Other times they get it from a Retail store based on the retail environment’s selling the item in a retail envrionment.  Most people simply do not understand that.

The price a retail store tells you is what they would sell it for AFTER they
have fixed it up.  Otherwise, you should just ask them to buy it right then and there.  I doubt they will.  That should give you a good indication of how accurate their appraisal is.

As an example, a customer asked me the value of her Noblet 40 clarinet.

eBay-wise it is worth about $60 – 120 depending upon condition and the market but someone told her it was worth $1,200 and she was
shocked.  Well, the $1,200 is the insurable value of the clarinet.
Basically, if you needed to replace it with a brand new clarinet and wanted insurance to cover the potential loss, you would insure it for $1,200.

Now keep in mind, clarinets are a dime a dozen used and as soon as your drove that brand new $1,200 clarinet off the retail floor (just like a car) it is now worth at least 50% less if you were to try to sell it in the open market immediately afterwards, but probably far
less because an independent seller is not offering a warranty, potential 30 day return, 90 day free adjustment, etc.  You may get lucky and sell it to another new student but not in an open
market..  A brand new $1200 clarinet you would be lucky to get around $650 for it on eBay.

So in our pricing guide, which you should take as a Guide and not as a defacto standard is based on observations of clarinet price sales from a variety of locations.  The prices do not include any clarinets with damage or repairs as repairs can lower the value significantly even if the seller thinks it’s fairly insignificant.  Keywear can also lower the value significantly.  Anything that makes an instrument look heavily worn or used can lower it’s value.  So the prices below are on good visual appeal and no cracks or any type of damage.

  • An Open market such as an “Auction” or eBay (or similar locations) will always be the cheapest (no warranties, no play before buying, no nothing);
  • A Closed market, such as a teacher selling to a student; professionals to other professionals, etc can rival Online Stores for prices.  But this can provide the same services such as a Retail Store but it all varies.  Teachers will mostly always value instruments higher as they normally help and work in retail environments;
  • “Online Store” will be more as they probably bought the instrument in an open market, added some significant value (like a total refurbishment) and offers after sale services such as warranties and trial periods;   And individual user can say things but normally cannot match a professional shop.
  • “Retail Store” will be even higher with their ability of you play testing (and higher overhead),
  • “Insurable Value” which has nothing to do with the resale value. Just the insurable value related to replacing the instrument with an equivalent new instrument of lost or stolen.

Prices may reflect instruments with alternate side Eb keys, silver plating (which always raises the value versus the same instrument without silver plating. The prices EXCLUDE any instrument with any type of repair or poor visual representation.  A repair (such as a crack repair) is always worth less, even maybe FAR less than one without any repairs.  This doesn’t reflect anything about the instrument, just it’s value – after all, if there were two cars with the same mileage, make, year etc that you were looking at and one was in a major accident but was repaired, which would you choose and why ?
For example, R13s sell for $800 and up.  I bought a cracked R13 for $400 simply because it had a fixed crack but plays perfectly fine.

Prices do vary of course on where you sell something.  But for the most part these prices are accurate.  You may want your instrument to sell for more, so good luck.  Best option to get the most money out of something is find a student buyer that does not check things on the internet, or have a teacher sell it for you.  And make sure your instrument you are selling looks it’s best that it can and plays as well as it can.  Visual aspect sells a lot to unsuspecting buyers.

The Chart Below this one was based on 2008 through 2009 values. Since then, actually since 2008 clarinet values for the most part have been going down.  The second chart below this one was the original one compiled from 2008-2009.

2011 Chart

(P) = Professional
(I) = Intermediate
(B) = Beginner
Model Info
Bb unless otherwise noted
(xx) = year
Online Store
overhauled, warranty, return policy
Retail Store
overhauled, warranty, play testing on site, etc
Insurable Value
Brand New Replacement insurance value
Buffet (P) R-13 $800 – 1,400 $1,600+++ $2,200 +  $2,800
Buffet (P) Vintage model R13 $1200+
Buffet (P) BC-20 $1,600+
Leblanc (P) L-7 $325-425 $800+ $1,200+ $1,200
Leblanc (P) L-7 “A” $700 $1,400
Leblanc (P) LL (model 1176) $350 $700+ $1,000+ $1,200
Leblanc (P) LL “A” $450-800 (have seen large fluctuations for perfect
Noblet (I) 45 Artist $150 $5-600
Noblet (I) 45 Laureate (bell engraving) $165 $5-600
Noblet (I) 45 “A” $400

From 2008 – 2009

(P) = Professional
(I) = Intermediate
(B) = Beginner
Model Info Auction
(xx) = year
Online Store
overhauled, warranty, return policy
Retail Store
overhauled, warranty, play testing on site, etc
Insurable Value
New Replacement value
Buffet (P) Albert keywork $800 – 1,200 $1,600+++
Buffet (P) vintage wrap around $250-350 (09) $ 500 $ 1200
Buffet (P) vintage – single post RH side keys $300 – $400 (09) $ 600+ $ 1400
Buffet (P) vintage pre R13 $400-$460 (09) $ 800+ $1100+ $ 1800+
Buffet (P) early R13s $350-600 (09) $1000+ $1400+ $ 2400+
Buffet (P) R13s $800 -1400 (09) $1200+ $1500+ $ 2800+
Buffet (P) RC
Buffet (I) E11
Buffet (B) B12
Buffet (B) Evette plastic $ 75-125
Buffet (B) Evette wood $125 – 175
Buffet (B) Evette Master Model $200-250
Buffet (I) Evette & Schaefer (E&S) wood $200-250
Buffet (I) E&S Master Model $ 250-275
Malerne (P) professional 4* $150-200 $450-600
Malerne (B/I) standard $50-125 $250-300
Leblanc (P) vintage Symphonie models $330 + $650+ 1600
Leblanc (P) Concerto $ 600 $1000+ 1900
Normandy (B) Resotone $ 30 – 50 $225+ 900
Normandy (B) 4 $50 – 100 $295+ $395+ 1000
Noblet (I) 40s oval emblem

$ 50 – 100

$425+ $500+ 1200
Noblet (I) 40 (all wood pieces) $50 – 100 $425+ $500+ 1200
Noblet (I) 45 $130-200 $600+ 1500
Selmer USA (B) Bundy $ 225 900
Selmer USA (B) Signet $ 275 1000
Selmer USA (I) Signet 100 $40 – 100 $ 300 1200
Selmer USA (I) Signet Special $ 50 – 100 $ 350 1400
Selmer USA (I) Signet Soloist $150 – 200 $ 425 1800
Selmer Paris (P) 55 $1000

Selmer Paris (P)

BT $300 – 400 $ 550-650 $1000 2000
Selmer Paris (P) CT $ 400 – 650 $ 700 – 900 $1000-1500 2400+
Selmer Paris (P) Series 9 $400 – 550 $ 700 – 900 $1000-1500 2800+
Selmer Paris (P) Series 10 $400 – 550 $ 700 – 900 $1000-1500 2800+
SML professional 5* $160-200
Yamaha 34/3xx