I've had an Artley Wilkins since 1969. I purchased it for half price from a fire sale at a music store, and I think it cost about $600 at the time, which was about half price. It smelled of smoke for years after I got it. It was a replacement for a cheap, nickel-plated Artley student model in a brown case, and it came in a slightly larger black case that was very similar, not at all like most high-line flute cases, although it was lined with very soft blue velvet, versus the shaggy red velvet in the cheaper flutes' cases. The Wilkins was the top-of-the line Artley, made in Elkhart, Indiana, and I think by the time I got the flute, the company had moved to Nogales, Arizona and the model had been discontinued. Artleys got really cheesy after that. The Wilkins Model came with a little brochure with a picture of Frederick Wilkins, a premiere flutist, who had been involved in the design of this flute. Big, deal, I thought, at that stage of my life.
I played this flute in high school, and it served me fairly well; however, it always had tuning problems and a weird head joint, and looking back, I think I had a lot more trouble playing it than I should have. It also came without a gizmo key, but it did come with a set of plugs for the inline open holes, so that previous closed-hole flutists could adjust to the deep grooves around the somewhat large holes on the Wilkins model keys. This solid-silver flute is very heavy, and I know it was made to emulate a Powell, but I think that was a real stretch, since I got to play my teacher's Powell a few times, and it was not at at all similar. Around my junior year in high school, my teacher suggested I try a Sankyo Prima that she had been sent to try out by her Powell dealer, and after playing the Sankyo with the unusual ridged mouthpiece, I was sold on Sankyo. My whole attitude towards flute playing, and certainly my tone, was transformed when I got my Sankyo, and the Wilkins was therefore relegated to a back-up and subsequently very seldom played. Over the years, I have had the Wilkins model back out, I replaced the case for something a bit more dignified, and eventually I even had it overhauled, but I have to say that I've always looked at this flute as my "fire sale" acquisition. Probably it is a very nice flute, but maybe for somebody with bigger fingers, and maybe with a different mouthpiece. I'll try it again some day.