$500,000 Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rrhea, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Wow!

    I got to play a Les Paul allegedly valued at over half a million dollars tonight!! This is a family heirloom that I was privileged to get to experience, touch and play. The story goes that "John's" father sells his D'Aquisto jazz box to buy his son a '59 Les Paul. Except his son wants a "custom made" Les Paul and not just the run-of-the-mill Gibson fare.

    So they order a '59 STANDARD (WTF?) in black with a Bigsby tremolo. Not a Custom Shop, but a Standard in black... with a Bigsby. So, forever this lady that is a friend of ours has been telling me about her husband's guitar and I am nodding yes, yes, I am sure your guitar is priceless and awesome... yada, yada, yada. So tonight I get to see it and I **** my pants! It sure looks like a Standard with no headstock inlay and regular trapeze inlays (but it is BLACK).

    [edit]
    Wow! Maybe this thing is for real! Supposedly it has been authenticated by "known sources" in Nashville, and that Gibson wants to authenticate it and put it in the Gibson museum... the family has thought about lending it to a museum like the Smithsonian. Something like this "might" go for $500k at auction, allegedly.
    [edit]

    All I have for now are crappy cellphone pics, but I hope to have full res Nikon photos soon.

    Of course, I have to maintain complete anonymity of the owners (so don't even bother) and I have no authority to make any deals, nor would I want to. This is purely for entertainment only.

    So what do you guys think? Having played it thoroughly it looks real enough to me (seems like it might have fretless wonder fretwire on it... very low, wide fret wire). I am not an expert, but upon close inspection it looked like it may have had the frets replaced. There was no binding at the ends of the frets, and it looked like there may have been some there before... like a modern LP neck would look after a fret job. Hmmmm...

    It played awesomely and sounded STUPID good even though I didn't get to play it plugged in, and I even cranked on the Bigsby (a lot) and it stayed in tune beautifully. :) Supposedly there are only 2 or 3 like this in existence.

    The serial looked kind of like a S (it was weirdly deformed) at the beginning followed with the numbers 1932.

    RR

    http://www.gringomedia.com/temp/LP--01.jpg

    http://www.gringomedia.com/temp/LP--02.jpg

    http://www.gringomedia.com/temp/LP--03.jpg

    http://www.gringomedia.com/temp/LP--04.jpg

    me-playing-les-paul
     
  2. phretbored

    phretbored Member

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    Wow cool story!

    Thanks for sharing the pics and video.
    I couldn't tell you anything regarding its authenticity or value but it looks like a very interesting and cool Les Paul.
     
  3. phoenix 7

    phoenix 7 Silver Supporting Member

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    Fascinating story and pics! You should visit that nice lady again and bring a nice amp with you next time!
     
  4. buchla300

    buchla300 Member

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    Nice!
    All it needs is a sunburst refin :crazyguy
     
  5. Speed_Racer71

    Speed_Racer71 Member

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    what would you have done if you had dropped it and broke the headstock off?

    thats the first thing i think of when it comes to high dollar vintage gear, what would happen if i dropped it and had to pay for it :jo
     
  6. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

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    Then just don't drop it.
     
  7. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    Here's what you do:

    - Get over to the Les Paul Forum - I have already started a thread there called "'59 Blacktop w/ Bigsby sighting?" right here: http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1749291#post1749291

    - Trust me a bunch of LPF's will get on the thread - some with talk smack like "oh it's not real" - do NOT worry about it. There are a few, like TW59, lpnv59, Joe Ganzler and a few others who really, really know their stuff. Pay attention to what they say.

    - if you / the owners are looking to get more information or to value the guitar, talk with folks like TW59 to determine the best way to go about that. Yes, it could be worth big money if it checks out.

    - if selling is a consideration, you would most likely end up selling to one of the folks on the LPF - or someone like Ganzler would broker the deal - he authenticates 50's Les Pauls and has a list of folks who are looking and have big $$ - going through someone like him is by far the way to go...

    Very cool - thanks for sharing!
     
  8. Smakutus

    Smakutus Member

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    Why would the Smithsonian want that guitar?

    Jeff
     
  9. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

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    I hope for the owners sake that Gibson didn't just refin an aready finished body like Fender use to do. I would think that it may hurt the value, because it may be considered a old refin instead of a original factory finish. Now if they had documentation, that would be different.

    I also wonder if it will be as valuable as one in the standard sunburst finish. You figure that the '57 goldtops don't go for nearly the prices as the sunburst models. But then again it is a '59 after all.
     
  10. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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  11. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    If this guitar is 'the real deal',it will fetch in excess of 500K$.If it is a custom color,even with a refret,it should be worth upwards of 350K$.You can buy a nice home/college education/feed a lot of people for what the guitar is valued at.
     
  12. zensurfer

    zensurfer Member

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    If indeed the guitar is an original color painted by the Gibson factory in 1959 it would still be hard to put an exact value on it, even if it is the only one in the world like it. One of the main reasons that '58-'60 LP's trade so high, is due to the figured maple top...more figure=more $$$. Now a painted model would be comparable to a Custom from that era. Therefore a price could be determined from between the two models (depending on condition, probably over $90k, but less, no make that way less than $500k). Even the rare "red-topped" LP from that era is worth less to a collector than an original sunburst-finished flametop!
     
  13. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    Very cool, thanks for sharing that.
     
  14. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    I would have cried a lot! :) But really, I didn't even think about breaking anything while handling it... I just showed it the utmost respect and care.

    However, after I was done this ladies friend (my next door neighbor) picked up the closed case without the latches shut and the guitar almost fell out! :eek: My hand went to my mouth and I sort paced around like a mental patient for a second to shake off the willies. :D That was scary!

    Awesome, Wordman! Thank you for the great info. I am not sure what the families interests are in selling the guitar. I think they seem to be leaning more toward lending it to a museum once it is authenticated.

    Another cool thing... while the case wasn't original :( I did find the PU covers inside! So he kept them in the case, and he also has the original switch cover, and PU rings. I guess the ones on it now were slightly different color than the originals. Must have been a visual mod. They all look about the same color of creme now, though.

    Hey Jeff! I corrected that part of the story after getting my facts straight. The family are the ones thinking about a museum like the Smith, but Gibson would like it for their museum (wherever that is).



    RR
     
  15. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    I have been invited to come back next time with my Nikon D70. I can assure you those photos will be crisp. ;)

    I'll also be sure to carefully remove the back cover plate if I feel like I can without damaging anything and get some photos inside there, too. Should be awesome. :)

    RR
     
  16. JMarck

    JMarck Member

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    Very, very cool story!
     
  17. Ulysses

    Ulysses Member

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    The first number of the serial number will be the year. If the "S" is a 5 it could be a conversion like a few black ones I know of. If it is an incomplete 8 it would raise a lot more questions like is it a center seam top or was it a goldtop body custom colored black? Also, is the serial number inked in yellow? There are many here who are also very familiar with the original fonts so should be able to tell what number could have taken this shape. Very interesting discovery. A good straight on photo of te headstock will help tell us the approximate year from the placement of "Gibson". A control cavity pic will tell a lot as well.
     
  18. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Nice info, Ulysses. The number is definitely inked in yellow, and it very well could have been an 8. It looked more like an 8 than a 5, but it is difficult to say only from memory.

    This guitar was supposedly purchased circa 1959 and was new when it was received, so maybe it was a late year '58 build that was re-finned in black at the factory upon request?

    I'll get some good photos of the serial next time, for sure.

    RR
     
  19. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    There is a stock black one in the BOTB book...
     
  20. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    have you headed over to the LP Forum? I know a couple of experts have posted to the thread I started there. They commented on the serial number, since they know what range the SN's from 1959 would be in...if you can get pictures over to them - really make sure you get a clear, big shot of the control cavity with the cover taken off - you will learn more than you ever thought possible to learn about that guitar...
     

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