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help with model, year, value


I have a buffet clarinet that I played when I was in elementary school (20+ years ago). It was my grandfather's clarinet, but I don't know when/where he purchased it. The bell has a crack along the edge which doesn't affect the sound. Please see the pictures.

It has 27435 marked on it. I also recall being told it has silver keys.

I'm trying to determine a value, model, and year.




Staff member
The serial number indicates it was built in 1945. It is pre R-13 as that was developed around 1950. I'm not sure if the Pre R-13 clarinets had an official model number. Hopefully Steve will weight in. I haven't been looking at the clarinet market much lately so I have no idea about value. Obviously as a family heirloom it has a lot of value to you.

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your insight. I've had it in its case for the past 20 years and am thinking of finding it a new home where someone would play it. Should someone be looking for something like this, I'd likely sell it.

Best regards,


Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
DavidE: Welcome to the forum. Looks like a nice enough older clarinet. Buffets are my favorite and that's what I play except mine are newer than that (an R-13 and an RC Prestige). A friend of mine plays a Buffet Albert System from 1887 and that one will put the lie to the old saw about old clarinets becoming "blown out" (whatever THAT means).

Anyway, you could probably find a Buffet replacement bell for the horn (but keep the original, too). And, a run through eBay may give you a sense of what an older Buffet clarinet may gain if you were to sell it. I'm guessing not a lot of money given its condition now. A complete overhaul may cost $400 +/-, but that will vary depending on where and who does the work.

I'm guessing the keywork may be "German Silver" or nickle-plate but some judicious polishing with a silver-mitt may prove me wrong. Should you have the horn overhauled, it will most likely turn out to be gorgeous - I recently had a 100-year old (guessing about the age) C-Albert clarinet re-done and it is a beaut. You could give yourself a lot of satisfaction by overhauling your Buffet and then playing it. If it were me, given the history of it, I'd keep it rather than sell it. DAVE


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
as previously mentioned it's about a 1945 model. This predates the famed "R13" brand by 10 years.

eBay-value-wise it's worth about $400 +/- dependent upon the current market conditions.

it looks like nickle-silver keywork (and not silver plated) due to the tarnishing

If you plan on selling it do not have any work done to it - sell it as-is, you will only get a small $ (if any) of that back on an eBay sale. You can donate it to a local school nad probably get more money for tax-wise for it

good luck
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