1953 Gibson Guitar with Case & Amp

Value (2008) | $21,000 Retail

GUEST:
My dad bought it in the early '50s. He had a band, and it's been part of my life as long as I can remember. This is New Year's Eve of 1947, and, um, my dad is right here. And then I brought those, too, because that's just, I mean, that was him in the family room. You know, he'd pick-- Every Friday night, there were people at our house, so...

APPRAISER:
Oh, really? Yeah. Well, this is a 1953 Gibson Les Paul. The Les Paul was started in production in 1952, and this is a 1953. And the way I can tell is if it were 1952, it wouldn't have the binding on the fingerboard. It has a trapeze tailpiece that they used until late 1953. These are the original knobs on the guitar. There's two sizes of knobs. These are the five-eighths knobs. They also had a half-inch knob that they switched in late '53. And it has what they call P-90 pickups, which they used until 1954, and then they switched to what they call a humbucker pickup. The tuners are original, and you can also see that it does not have an inked serial number on it. If it were late '53, it would have a four-digit or five-digit serial number on the back. All of the Les Pauls had what they called the gold top finish,

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
which this has a beautiful gold top finish in very good shape. And they all turn green around here where the arm lays over the guitar.

GUEST:
Yeah, I wondered about that.

APPRAISER:
All collectors look for that to see if it has a kind of a green wear to it. You can refinish a guitar like this, but you can't really fake it. And this is nice, very, very nice, all original condition guitar. You do have the matching amplifier.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Did he use the amplifier with the guitar the whole time?

GUEST:
Yes. Yeah, yeah. It still works.

APPRAISER:
It does?

GUEST:
Yeah, they both still work.

APPRAISER:
Do you have any idea what they sold for kind of new?

GUEST:
'Cause we never did know how much he would've paid for it new.

APPRAISER:
I'm-I'm gonna make a guess at around $225.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's a very nice guitar. It's in very good condition. Les Pauls have a broad range of value, but they're very collectable. I'll tell you right off, if it didn't have the trapeze tailpiece, if it were a later one, it would have more value. The case is in beautiful shape, everything has been preserved. I would put the value of this guitar, in retail, right at about $20,000.

GUEST:
(laughs): Oh, my gosh! That may-- that is unbelievable.

APPRAISER:
Really.

GUEST:
This would-- yeah, it would really tickle my dad. That would really tickle him.

APPRAISER:
The amplifier, on the other hand, if it were a Fender amplifier, it'd be way more valuable.

GUEST:
Probably.

APPRAISER:
But-but even as a Gibson amplifier, the fact it's in very, very nice condition and it goes with the guitar, I would put a value of about $1,000 on that piece.

GUEST:
That's unbelievable.

APPRAISER:
So, you have very nice things, and you've obviously taken very good care of them.

GUEST:
Thanks. That would really make my dad happy. I can't believe that! $20,000? That is unbelievable.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Mass Street Music
Lawrence, KS
Appraised value (2008)
$21,000 Retail
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Material
Wood

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