1952 Gibson ES-295 Electric Guitar
Appraised Value: $8,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:10)
GUEST: It was my dad's guitar. He bought it in 1952. And he used to play on family occasions and on weekends, when we'd all get together. He died in the '60s. So then, that's how I came upon it. He played mostly country music on it. As little kids, we enjoyed playing and dancing to it.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm, so has the guitar been used since then?
GUEST: No, it has not.
APPRAISER: Well, it's a Gibson ES-295. It was introduced in 1952; that was the first year they made it. And I'm not sure if the model designation was based on the price, but that's about what the price was. This guitar with the case was probably right around $300 in 1952, which is, you could imagine, was quite a bit of money. And it was intended as a stage guitar, with a gleaming, gold lacquer finish and floral pickguard design. It definitely was a fashion statement from the beginning. You may have heard of Les Paul and Mary Ford. Les Paul's the one who, you know, designed the early solid body electrics. Well, Mary Ford played this model when they performed together around that same period. And later, Scotty Moore, who was the guitar player for Elvis Presley, used this same model. What makes this one so exceptional-- and the serial number does put it at 1952-- is that this gold lacquer frequently turns green where it comes in contact with someone's hands or arm, and this guitar has absolutely none of that. They made a fair number of them, but I've never seen one this close to perfect and probably won't see another one.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: So in this condition, the guitar probably has a value in a specialty vintage guitar shop of perhaps as much as $8,000.
APPRAISER: At an auction, it might go for more, but depending on how many bidders you have, it might go for less.
GUEST: Well, it's priceless since it was my dad's.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.