1924 Gibson L-5 Guitar
Appraised Value: $8,000 (1997)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:21)
Vice President & Department Head, Musical Instruments
APPRAISER: Nice little guitar here. Can you tell me anything about it?
GUEST: Well, I don't know exactly what year my dad bought it, but it's a Gibson L-5 made by Lloyd Loar. And 1924 was when it was made, and I figure he bought it pretty close to that era.
APPRAISER: Tell me about your dad-- was he a player?
GUEST: He liked to play Hawaiian music. He liked to put these white suits on and with the sashes, and that basically was what he was interested in was playing Hawaiian music.
APPRAISER: He played professionally?
GUEST: Not what I'd call professionally but he played for a lot of parties. He made a lot of money at it. And this particular guitar, he would never let anybody play it but him. When I started playing, he bought me my own guitar. He was married to this guitar.
APPRAISER: And you're a player also.
GUEST: Right, I play a little bit.
APPRAISER: Great, great. You're absolutely right, it's a 1924 Lloyd Loar and a... L-5, and, you know, what makes this guitar interesting is the history of guitar making here in America. This is a classic example of American archtop making. Lloyd Loar was an inventor who worked for the Gibson company. He was an acoustic engineer. Started working there in 1919. It is labeled and signed by him and also it has the Gibson label right inside with the serial number and model number. One of the innovations that Lloyd Loar brought up was first to do the "F" holes on the guitar. Prior to that, they were oval holes.
GUEST: I didn't know that. Is this like an orchestra...
APPRAISER: Well, this was for big band music and to sort of cut through a band. You know, it's an interesting case for appraisal purposes because this guitar has condition problems. It's got a refinish on it. It's got a reset neck and some binding changed. It's the sort of guitar that if it is in immaculate condition, it's probably a lay-down in the retail market of about $20,000 to maybe $25,000. Having had this much alteration to the guitar, um, probably about, oh, I'd say, $8,000 in the market today. But a great piece and a great player's instrument.
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