Auctions: 1938 Gibson Jumbo, Billy Gibbons’ ’57 Les Paul, and more

November 4th, 2011

1938 Gibson Advance Jumbo

An exceedingly rare 1938 Gibson Advance Jumbo sunburst acoustic guitar, also known as “The Bone Crusher” for its legendary sound quality, surpassing the Herringbone Martins of the pre-war era, realized $53,775 to lead the way in Heritage Auctions $1.43 million Vintage Guitar and Stringed Instruments auction on Oct. 21.

More than 800 bidders vied for the 534 lots in this auction, translating into a 96% sell-through rate by overall value. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“What we’re now seeing in our guitar auctions is that the pieces we’re offering are realizing full retail value and better on virtually everything,” said Mike Gutierrez, Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions. “Stores and shows have struggled in the soft economy while this auction was one of our most successful events across the board, with a wide contingent of international collectors vying for several of these instruments.”

A 1957 Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top, stage-used by “Reverend” Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, was the auction’s top electric offering, and the second highest price realized on the day, rising amidst spirited bidding to finish the day at $44,813.

1957 Les Paul Gold Top

A pair of Fenders—a spectacularly clean 1961 Stratocaster and a gorgeous Ice Blue Metallic 1967 Telecaster—were the subject of much collector buzz before the auction, coveted as much for their rarity as for their beauty, before they rose to the same price realized, going home with happy collectors for $21,510 apiece.

“Quality and rarity were in great abundance throughout this auction,” said Gutierrez, “and collectors responded with overwhelming enthusiasm, via repeat bidding on multiple lots. The positive results are hard to argue with; it’s clear we’ve tapped into a deep collector need.”

A very hard to find 1939 Martin D-28 Natural acoustic guitar was another of the day’s highlights, realizing an impressive $15,535 final price, while a 1969 Gibson Super 400 Custom Sunburst archtop electric guitar, with a burled maple back was quick out of the gate on its way to a $9,560 price realized and a 1966 Fender Jazzmaster in a custom Charcoal Frost color brought a very respectable $5,975.

One of the more interesting moments of the auction came when a highly sought-after and iconic 1964 Fender Twin Reverb black guitar amplifier, with all original tubes and in working condition, brought $3,585 from a determined and erudite collector.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $750 million, and 600,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com