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Gibson Guitars

Orville Gibson of Kalamazoo, Michigan produced his first guitar in 1894. In the years following, he crafted guitars and mandolins based on the arch-top design used for the violin. Due to high demand for the instruments, Gibson sold his patent and naming rights to a group of financiers in 1902, forming the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company. Gibson employees continued to work on innovations to Gibson guitars, including the adjustable truss rod and height-adjustable bridge, both introduced in 1921.

Gibson produced its first electric guitar in 1935, the EH 150 made for Hawaiian music. In 1936, Gibson introduced the ES-150, which was adopted by jazz artist Charlie Christian as his primary instrument. The ES-150 is now unofficially known as the Charlie Christian model. Another Gibson milestone in electric guitars was its first solid-body guitar produced in 1952. Gibson contracted with popular musician Les Paul to launch the instrument. The Les Paul Model became the best-selling signature guitar in history.

The collectability and value of vintage Gibson guitars is dependent on the style and model number. The model number of a Gibson hollow-body guitar is sometimes tagged or stamped on the inside of the instrument, especially for higher-end models. Gibson used several serial number systems, and some of these were similar between decades. There are several online guides that help collectors determine the year of a vintage Gibson guitar.


Quick Facts

  • One of the best ways to help determine the date of a vintage Gibson guitar is the peghead logo. Gibson used different peghead logos for pre-war guitars, guitars made during World War II, and post war guitars
  • A Gibson ES-150 with a Charlie Christian pickup dated from 1936 to 1939 is currently valued at $4,000 to $5,000
  • In 1962, John Lennon and George Harrison purchased matching Gibson J-160E guitars. John Lennon's guitar disappeared at a 1963 gig, but resurfaced 50 years later and was sold at auction in November 2015 for $2,410,000

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Epiphone Gibson Les Paul Limited Edition Guitar
Dec 02, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage Epiphone Gibson Les Paul Limited Edition Guitar
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$27013 Bids
Vintage Gibson LG-1 Acoustic Guitar
Dec 02, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage Gibson LG-1 Acoustic Guitar
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1,50010 Bids
1959 Gibson ES 225 Single Cut Maple Electric Guitar
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1959 Gibson ES 225 Single Cut Maple Electric Guitar
by Ancient Objects
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$1,3006 Bids
Gibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar
Nov 29, 12:00 PM EST
Gibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $200- $400
$3254 Bids
Rare 1975 Gibson Firebird V Reissue Electric Guitar 87/100
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
Rare 1975 Gibson Firebird V Reissue Electric Guitar 87/100
by Ancient Objects
Est: $1,200- $2,400
$1,2004 Bids
1965 Gibson Thunderbird II Electric Bass Guitar
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1965 Gibson Thunderbird II Electric Bass Guitar
by Ancient Objects
Est: $1,200- $2,400
$1,5003 Bids
1969 Gibson ES-150 DC Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Cherry Red
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1969 Gibson ES-150 DC Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Cherry Red
by Ancient Objects
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$9502 Bids
1934 Gibson L-10 Hollow-Body Acoustic Guitar, Natural
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1934 Gibson L-10 Hollow-Body Acoustic Guitar, Natural
by Ancient Objects
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5502 Bids
2013 Gibson Les Paul JR Electric Guitar with Hard Case
Dec 03, 9:00 AM CST
2013 Gibson Les Paul JR Electric Guitar with Hard Case
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5001 Bid
2006 Gibson Firebird VII Electric Guitar, Reverse Headstock, Candy Apple Red
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
2006 Gibson Firebird VII Electric Guitar, Reverse Headstock, Candy Apple Red
by Ancient Objects
Est: $2,500- $5,000
$1,2001 Bid
1969 Gibson ES-335 TDC 12 String Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Cherry Red
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1969 Gibson ES-335 TDC 12 String Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Cherry Red
by Ancient Objects
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
1968 Gibson Electric Guitar Trini Lopez With Bisby
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1968 Gibson Electric Guitar Trini Lopez With Bisby
by Ancient Objects
Est: $4,000- $8,000
$2,0000 Bids
2010 Gibson Les Paul 1957 Reissue Gold Top Electric Guitar, Slash Signature Model Victoria
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
2010 Gibson Les Paul 1957 Reissue Gold Top Electric Guitar, Slash Signature Model Victoria
by Ancient Objects
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
1956 Gibson Country Western Flat Top Guitar
Dec 03, 9:00 AM EST
1956 Gibson Country Western Flat Top Guitar
by Leland Little Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
2010 Gibson SG Special, Cherry Finish
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
2010 Gibson SG Special, Cherry Finish
by Ancient Objects
Est: $1,250- $2,500
$6000 Bids
1940s Gibson L-7 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar.
Dec 17, 10:30 AM PST
1940s Gibson L-7 Arch Top Acoustic Guitar.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids
2010 Gibson Les Paul Special Electric Guitar
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
2010 Gibson Les Paul Special Electric Guitar
by Ancient Objects
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
1979 Gibson Custom L5 Electric Guitar, Sunburst
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
1979 Gibson Custom L5 Electric Guitar, Sunburst
by Ancient Objects
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Gibson Guitars


Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction

Leland Little Auctions

Leland Little Auctions

Turner Auctions + Appraisals

Turner Auctions + Appraisals