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Discussion Starter #1
I just won a Herouard Pere et Fils thirteen key clarinet in an auction. I know I paid too much for it. It's missing a couple of keys and is in rough shape but I just wanted it because it's such a rare thing. I realize there are some very old clarinets to be had in Europe but this is the first I've seen in the US. Someone gave it to the Goodwill.

I'm not sure what I want to do with it. I'm thinking I might look for someone who can fabricate the missing keys. Other than that I think the best thing to do is leave it as is, only do a little cleaning but no polishing or buffing. Or maybe just leave it as is and see if a musical instrument museum might want it. From what I can tell it's probably about 150 to 200 years old. Newer than the ones with the square brass plates with squared leather flaps to cover the tone holes. This has actual pads, I believe. Apparently they used thread or string to seal the joints instead of cork. I saw some ivory mouthpieces on a French website that are period correct. It depends on what I do with it whether I try to get one. I'm not sure making playable again is the right thing to do with such a rare object. The only Herouard instruments I could find online were a handful of flutes and fifes in European museums. There was a mention of somebody having found a clarinet several years ago on one of the clarinet forums. Someone found some info on the company, which started in 1790 and apparently stayed in business until the 1850s. Not much of any information is available on their clarinets, however.

If you have any information on this type of horn, where I might find parts, what the correct restoration approach should be, whether restoration is appropriate, I'd like to hear about it.


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Very cool! It always amazes me at what people give to Thrift Stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, agreed. There was an almost mint Mark VII alto a week ago. It went for $2800. Somebody was cleaning out the closet and didn't have a clue what it was worth.

I bid heavily on a super clean Super 20 alto a couple of weeks ago at the same site. I think it sold for $2600. A fair price but who knows how good the pads are. I just couldn't go that high even though I really wanted that horn. Around here a repad, clean and adjust is going to cost $600 or more so you have to figure that into the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
It's in transit by FedEx at the moment so I'm going by the Goodwill's pictures which usually leave a lot to be desired. The left lower joint pinky key is missing and there's cork plugging the hole. I don't know these clarinets well but maybe its low F#. And I think it's the C# lower register (left pinky) upper joint. If any of that makes sense. I'll attach some more pictures. I've been researching on an off for hours and there's next to nothing out there on these horns.

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You might want to contact Daniel Deitch at Deitch's Woodwind Workshop in San Francisco. He is a great tech and has played and restored historical woodwind instruments for many years. He's even built period-correct replica instruments that I've had the chance to play. Daniel is a great guy and might have some interesting information for you.

https://www.danieldeitch.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a lot for the recommendation, dirty. I've been reaching out online, looking for some advice on what to do with it. I want to keep it as original as possible. But I'd like to make it playable without making any changes that would take away from its value. I don't have a good grip on what it's worth. There are a few similar items available in Europe that go anywhere from 700 - 2000 Euro. I already have $400 into it so I don't want to spend any more than I have to. It should be coming in sometime today. After the Christmas and New Year holidays I'll take it by a few shops and get some opinions. Fortunately SF is only a hour and a half drive for me.

Speaking of "the things people give to Goodwill", I saw a Pearl PF-885 gold plated flute on their auction site this morning. It's currently at $2300 with 8 hours left. There's one on eBay with a $3600 asking price. It amazes me what people donate to charity. God bless them. Goodwill Industries does a lot of good work. I donate clothes and things to it every year. But I wonder if they had any idea what that flute is worth.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update on the Herouard et Fils clarinet. I took it to Daniel Deitch in San Francisco back in mid-February, then COVID hit and you know the rest. He's started working on it. He had to fabricate a new key and I am so impressed by the workmanship I had to show it off.

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Impressive work.
 
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