Apr 3, 2014

A Look at the Collectible Guitar Market

In 1933, struggling 22-year-old musician Leonard Slye needed a guitar. He found one at a California pawn shop and paid $30 for it. In 1933, $30 was an average week’s wage, but Slye believed that the guitar—a three-year-old Martin OM-45 deluxe model serial #42125—was worth the price. New Martin OM-45s retailed for $225.

Slye went on to become the famous movie and recording star Roy Rogers, dubbed “King of the Cowboys.” The Martin stayed with him through the 1940s. Although Rogers didn’t know it at the time, the Martin was a rare find; there were only 14 of the OM-45 Deluxe models made, and his guitar was the prototype: #1 in the series.

In 2009, Rogers’s OM-45 was sold by Christie’s for $460,000. A similar 1930 vintage OM-45 (#44999, with an Adirondack spruce back and sides, Brazilian rosewood neck, mahogany fret board with ebony frets, and gold-plated banjo tuners with pearl buttons) will be sold in an auction atGuernsey’s of New York on April 2-3, 2014, titled “The Artistry of the Guitar … A Landmark Collection at Auction.” The starting bid for Guernsey’s 1930 OM-45 guitar is $875,000, and it is estimated that it will bring $1,750,000 to $2,000,000.

If Guernsey’s 1930 OM-45 crosses the $965,000 mark, it will be the highest price ever achieved by a guitar at auction. The $965,000 price was reached just last December (2013) by the Fender Stratocaster owned and played by Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. The prior record for a guitar at auction was Eric Clapton’s 1956 Fender Stratocaster, which brought $959,000 in 2004. Read More...

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