UK citizen discovers rare Les Paul worth £150,000 gathering dust in her closet and sells it to Joe Bonamassa
The musician plans to restore the Gibson, which turned out to be a coveted 1,500 ‘Burst made over six decades ago.
Image: ATB Guitars
Recently, a UK citizen stumbled across a filthy guitar which had been left in storage for a quarter of a century; only to discover it is worth over £150,000. The axe, which turned out to be a rare 1960s Les Paul Standard has since been sold to guitar-legend Joe Bonamassa, who plans to restore it.
The owner, who has yet to be named, was left the guitar by her father, who reportedly purchased it in 1967 for £50 (approximately £1,000 in today’s money). Whilst the Gibson spent the last 25 years gathering dust, the owners remained unaware of quite how valuable the item was.
Knowing that the guitar was unplayable due to the damage and neglect it had faced over the years, the owner, thinking it may still be of some worth, contemplated insuring the Gibson for £5000 after researching the average price of Les Paul’s online.
Before doing so, she contacted UK dealer ATB Guitars for further guidance – here discovering the full value of the Les Paul. Speaking with Guitar Player, ATB owner Mike Long described how the discovery of the guitar’s true value unravelled:
“She’d searched online for ‘Gibson Les Paul’ and had come up with values of around five thousand pounds and was expecting to adjust her household premium accordingly,” he says. “A couple of weeks later, she popped into the shop with a five-latch ‘Cali girl’ case and I thought, ‘This looks interesting!’ When I opened the case, it was the filthiest guitar I’d ever seen. It had been stored in a closet, unplayed, since the ‘70s!”
Whilst still unplayable due to damages, Long was able to confirm the rarity of the guitar, identifying it as one of the 1,500 limited edition ‘Bursts made as early as 1958.
Describing how he broke the news to the owner, Long recalls how he said: “‘I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. The bad news is it’s totally unplayable and is in terrible condition… The good news is that once it’s been refurbished it’ll be worth about £175,000.’”
Since uncovering the true value of the Les Paul, the owner is unsurprisingly said to be “very pleased with the outcome” and has since sold the instrument to renowned guitarist Joe Bonamassa in a deal reported to be “between £150,000 and £200,000” according to The Independent.
As for the future of the Gibson, reports state that Bonamassa is planning to restore the instrument and later take it on tour.