Flute prices vary greatly depending upon the brand of flute and the features chosen.
You can buy a cheap flute from Amazon.com, at eBay.com, or from a newspaper ad, or a bulletin board ad.
This is a very cheap flute, less than $50, available through Amazon.com...
The SKB Corporation was founded in 1977 by Steve Kottman and Dave Sanderson. The corporation has three manufacturing facilities and over 500 employees. They make cases for every musical instrument imaginable and make just about every instrument imaginable.
On the other end of the flute brands spectrum, you have high-priced, handcrafted instruments such as Cooper Brannen. A 19.5K Rose gold tube with 14K Rose gold mechanism, tone holes, ribs, posts, barrel, and rings, and a B/C convertible footjoint costs $ 45,670. Want platinum? Call the company for a quote. Check the Cooper Brannen web site for more prices.
When buying a flute, manufacturer makes a huge difference. On one end is a factory churning out cases and instruments. On the other end is a craftsman taking loving care with beautiful flutes.
What you end up with depends on what's in your wallet.
What else determines the price when you're making you're buying a flute?
Less expensive flute brands...
High-end flute brands...
So how do you know what to buy?
First, determine your budget. If you have less than $5,000, you need to stick with the less expensive flutes. Does this mean you can't get a nice instrument? No, of course not. The high end of Yamaha and Pearl are wonderful instruments.
Be sure to try each flute you are considering. A reputable source will allow you to do this.
Flute prices for used instruments vary greatly, depending on the above-stated factors, but with the additional consideration of how badly the present owner wants to sell it and how much they need the cash!
If you're lucky enough to obtain a really expensive flute some day, congratulations! This is a dream come true for the flutist.