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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 Gibson Black Guitar DG4214
May 31, 1:00 PM EDT
Vintage Gibson Black Guitar DG4214
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$2,80028 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson Super Jumbo SJ-300 Acoustic Guitar
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Super Jumbo SJ-300 Acoustic Guitar
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,7506 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R9 1959 Burst Reissue
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R9 1959 Burst Reissue
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$1,5003 Bids
Randy Bachman | 1986 Gibson SG 62 Standard Modified By Eddie Van Halen
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | 1986 Gibson SG 62 Standard Modified By Eddie Van Halen
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$8003 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R7 1957 Reissue Goldtop
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R7 1957 Reissue Goldtop
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$8003 Bids
John Sebastian | Gibson SJ200 Acoustic Guitar "Anna"
May 29, 10:00 AM EDT
John Sebastian | Gibson SJ200 Acoustic Guitar "Anna"
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$1,7503 Bids
REN FERGUSON GIBSON GUITAR L-1 CM ACOUSTIC GUITAR WITH CASE
Jun 12, 9:00 AM EDT
REN FERGUSON GIBSON GUITAR L-1 CM ACOUSTIC GUITAR WITH CASE
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $1,000- $3,000
$9003 Bids
Gibson | 2006 Gibson SJ-200 Ren Ferguson "Master Museum" Guitar
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Gibson | 2006 Gibson SJ-200 Ren Ferguson "Master Museum" Guitar
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $10,000- $20,000
$2,5002 Bids
Randy Bachman | 1974 Gibson Les Paul Custom 20th Anniversary
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | 1974 Gibson Les Paul Custom 20th Anniversary
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$1,2502 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R7 1957 Reissue Goldtop
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R7 1957 Reissue Goldtop
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$6002 Bids
1936 L-30 GIBSON GUITAR WITH CASE
Jun 12, 9:00 AM EDT
1936 L-30 GIBSON GUITAR WITH CASE
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5002 Bids
C1938 Gibson L7 Hollow Body Guitar
Jun 08, 10:00 AM EDT
C1938 Gibson L7 Hollow Body Guitar
by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $800- $1,600
$4252 Bids
Randy Bachman | 1968 Gibson ES-125 3/4 Electric Guitar
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | 1968 Gibson ES-125 3/4 Electric Guitar
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$5001 Bid
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R9 1959 Burst Reissue
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Les Paul R9 1959 Burst Reissue
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$1,0001 Bid
Randy Bachman | 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $20,000- $40,000
$5,0001 Bid
Randy Bachman | 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom formerly owned by Keith Richards
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom formerly owned by Keith Richards
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $20,000- $40,000
$5,0001 Bid
Gary Moore | Gibson Les Paul Dark Fire Prototype Electric Guitar
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Gary Moore | Gibson Les Paul Dark Fire Prototype Electric Guitar
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $10,000- $20,000
$2,5000 Bids
GIBSON 100TH ANNIVERSARY L-C CENTURY NO. 54/100 W/ CASE AND COA
Jun 12, 9:00 AM EDT
GIBSON 100TH ANNIVERSARY L-C CENTURY NO. 54/100 W/ CASE AND COA
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0000 Bids
Randy Bachman | "American Woman" 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | "American Woman" 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $200,000- $400,000
$50,0000 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson RD Standard
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson RD Standard
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$5000 Bids
Gibson Super 400 Starburst
May 31, 12:00 PM EDT
Gibson Super 400 Starburst
by Cottone Auctions
Est: $7,000- $10,000
$3,5000 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson Custom Shop Super 400 RB
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Custom Shop Super 400 RB
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $10,000- $20,000
$2,5000 Bids
Randy Bachman | Gibson Johnny A. Electric Guitar
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Randy Bachman | Gibson Johnny A. Electric Guitar
by Julien's Auctions
Est: $6,000- $8,000
$1,5000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Gibson Guitars


Julien's Auctions

Julien's Auctions

Morphy Auctions

Morphy Auctions

Cottone Auctions

Cottone Auctions

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction