This Mercken piano opened a concert of antique instruments, including oboes, clarinets and a crystal flute.
Johann Kilian Mercken (1743-1819), piano in the shape of a harpsichord, c. 1768, signed
This may be the first piano made in France. It was probably built about 1768 by German keyboard instrument-maker Johann Kilian Mercken, whose signature it bears. The Carl Bechstein Foundation bought the innovative instrument, which replaced the harpsichord, for €223,200 to exhibit in its Berlin showroom. In 1767, Mercken moved to Paris to ply his craft piano-maker. A piano of his dated 1770 is in the collections of the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. With its particular shape, different from the usual square format, it may be the ancestor of the grand piano. A boxwood oboe made by Charles Bizey in Paris c. 1730 sold for €27,280. It has four ivory rings, two silver keys and is stamped with fleur-de-lys all over the body. Bizey’s family made three boxwood clarinets in C, B flat and A with brass keys and rings, equipped with the Baermann-Ottensteiner system with 13 keys and four rings by Georg Ottensteiner. This type of instrument was played by Richard Mühlfeld (1856-1907), the most famous German clarinetist of his time. Sold together, the three wind instruments totaled €24,800. Last but not least, a fluted crystal flute with a jointed silver plate key stamped "Laurent Paris 1812" fetched €19,840.