Gibson offers $59,000 reward for missing 1959-60 shipping ledgers

“No coincidence” that these date from the Burst era.

1959 Gibson Les Paul

A 1959 Gibson Les Paul – regarded by most guitarists as the holy grail of single-cutaway solidbodies [Image: Eleanor Jane]

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Gibson has announced a $59,000 cash reward for the return of shipping ledgers from 1959-60. The ledgers – which contain shipping records for all Gibson solidbody guitars manufactured during that period, including the sunburst Les Paul Standard – disappeared from the company archives over three decades ago. Indeed, when Gibson relocated to Nashville in the mid-1980s, it’s likely that the ledgers never made the journey south from Kalamazoo.

Although Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian admits it’s “no coincidence” that the missing ledgers date from the company’s most iconic production year, the present-day owners of Gibson Brands, Inc. are not looking to apportion blame and are offering a cool $59,000 cash reward to the person who facilitates their safe return, “zero questions asked”.

In addition, Gibson is seeking to recover other pre-1970 “blueprints, documents and unique historical assets”, with items being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If authenticated, rewards for historic items may include “cash, Gibson gift cards, instruments and experiences”. Conditions apply, but if you have an item in your possession in which you think the company may be interested, email 59Ledger@gibson.com with a written description, photograph or video and a contact number.

“As a custodian of Gibson, I am very excited about this search,” says Cesar Gueikian. “I hope we can recover these ledgers as they contain important information about the pinnacle of our golden era. It will be interesting to see where in the world they surface, given that the last time they were seen was in Michigan. While they’re dusty old books to anyone else, these ledgers are part of our history, DNA, and our iconic past.”

Some Gibson ledgers
Image: Gibson

Looking back to look forward

The mystique of Gibson’s golden era has a seemingly endless allure for guitar fans, and
Gueikian also revealed that digging through the archives has unearthed some surprises. These range from listings for chronology-defying guitars that “aren’t supposed to exist” – such as a 1962 double-cutaway Les Paul Special that now resides in his personal collection – to design blueprints from the Ted McCarty era for instruments that never went into production.

Though there’s “no plan yet on timing,” Gueikian says the company is working on an exciting new product line that’s being referred to internally at Gibson as the ‘Archive Collection’. Drawing inspiration from some of the treasures buried in the company archives, the guitars are still in the prototype stage. Watch this space for more information as and when it becomes available.

Visit Gibson to find out more about the missing shipping ledgers, and read more guitar news here

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