1959 Gibson ES-355 Stereo Electric Guitar

Value (2011) | $20,000 Retail$24,000 Retail

This is something that I got when I was in high school. Bought it in a music store down on Lake Street.

You must have been a good boy or saved your paper route money, because this was not an inexpensive guitar at the time.

It was hanging on the rack, just like it was, and the salesman at the store told me, "They're going to discontinue it. "He says, "I'll give you a good deal on it." I paid $650 for the guitar, the case and a Ranger 20T amp.

All right, and then what's the history of the guitar since you've had it?

I've favored it and I've babied it.

And you played in bands with it?

Not really played in a band. I just played around the home and just practiced and stuff like that.

It's almost scary when I first see a guitar that is this clean, because you just think, "It can't be."


This is a Gibson ES-355, and it was made in 1959, from the serial number.


And that's the prime year-- '58, '59 and '60 were the best years for Gibson. You've got a little bit of corrosion on the gold. A lot of times, people don't want this tremolo bar, but in this particular guitar, the tremolo bar is very desirable. I looked down the neck of the guitar. It's straight as the day it was made. There's very little fret wear. You did play it, but you didn't play it hard. The case is just lovely. You open up the case and it just glows at you. So as a complete package, I can't imagine a nicer example. In my opinion, even though the prices of guitars have suffered in the last few years, this is a stellar example. I don't think you could find a cleaner one. In this market, I would put this guitar, in a retail basis, somewhere between $20,000 and $24,000. I don't know if that's a surprise to you or not.

No, I've seen them anywhere from $12,000 up to $25,000, and maybe sometimes a little higher. But like you said, the market does fluctuate on them.

This would be at the top of the game, because you've taken wonderful care of it and it's a beautiful guitar.

Appraisal Details

Mass Street Music
Lawrence, KS
Appraised value (2011)
$20,000 Retail$24,000 Retail
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)
Metal , Wood

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