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unmarked oboe

Can anyone identify the maker and perhaps suggest a value?
I was given an oboe that has no name or serial # or any marks at all. It is grenadella wood with either silver keys or silver plate. Both receiving joints have silver casings. The first two octaves from low Bb to high C play easily. I do not play oboe so I couldn't get beyond basics. (I play bassoon & clarinet)
Maybe someone would recognize this instrument. It came with a 3-reed case that fits in the wooden case. Fortunately the reeds were good so I could try it.
Thanks for any help in advance


College Student who likes wind instruments & music
Malerne, probably?
It looks quite similar to this Malerne on one of those sites that copies info from old ebay auctions, other than being low Bb and an "extra"* side key instead of low B natural.
(Which is decidedly not a baroque oboe despite what the seller said when that was sold. It's probably from roughly the 1940s or 50s?)
Does it have any production related markings like a serial or a country name on it?

*which is normal on all modern oboes, which is good for you.
no serial# or marks of any kind, on any joint, but it does look very much the same, even the case, with a slot for reed case and another for cork grease


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Malerne was known for woodwinds and double-reeds. It looks like you have silver-plated keywork.

While I can actually get sound out of an oboe, I'm not a history expert on them. I do know that they have at least two available fingering systems and semi-automatic or automatic register keys. I won't go down that rabbit hole, this time, but it'd be a good idea to take a look at those things because it might mean getting more $ if/when you sell. If you're just interested in learning to play one, find a good oboe teacher and find out what they say about it. I did see a few old pads, so you might need a bit of maintenance.
thanks for the replies. I don't really have interest in playing oboe. What is more desirable auto or semi auto registers?


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Auto, AFAIK. Those also seem to come with a bunch more bells and whistles than those without the auto mechanism. I assume players can work with either after a bit of practice, but semi-auto probably takes some time getting used to.

I currently have no desire to take up an instrument, but I think oboe would be kind of cool.

If you're going to sell it, I'd recommend not overhauling it in any way. If you have any deep cracks in the wood, that will drastically lower value. It still would be a good idea to get an actual oboe player to play it. At the very least, you'll find out if it's high pitch -- provided the horn can be played at all. HP is an old intonation standard where A=457hz. Low pitch, the modern intonation standard, is A=440hz (some European orchestras use A=442hz, but that can be compensated for). That's nearly a 1/2 step. A high pitch woodwind cannot be made to play in tune with any other low pitch instrument, which drops the value to near $0. Or it's good for a solo only career. Or with strings, although they might beat you because they have to overtighten their strings.
thanks - it is 440, I checked tune-up A on a tuner & without any trouble it read 440, so I'm pretty confident of that, I also checked low E and it was in tune also. I'll research the what auto keys look like- I should be able to figure it out.
thanks again for your input


Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
Ring key oboes like this are the most basic, and generally considered beginners' instruments. This one is neither auto nor semi-auto. You have the side octave key for the higher second octave. This one is really basic, with no side F, nor a bunch of the extra gizmos on the conservatory system.
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