In the 1950s, Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford, were pop stars, big stars with top-charting songs. Paul was a wonderful guitarist, but is equally celebrated for his guitar designs and technological inventions, like multi-track recording.
Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94. Over his lifetime he accumulated a large number of guitars and lots of recording equipment. As you’d expect, the estate sale includes lots of cool guitars, plus some unexpected things. Here are just seven items of interest from the hundreds of items for sale.
- Most expensive guitar in the auction: 1968 prototype Gibson Les Paul custom recording model. This guitar is valued at $60,000 to $80,000. Very collectible.
- Best guitar gifted to Les Paul: 1951 Fender Nocaster. This guitar is valued between $40,000 and $60,000. Guitar maker Leo Fender gave this guitar to Paul as a gift. The guitar would be highly collectible on its own, but add to that the story of how Fender gave it to Paul, and wow, you’ve got one collectible guitar! Expect this one to go for a bundle at the auction, possibly more than the 1968 Les Paul.
- Another cool item gifted to Les Paul: a watch from Frank Sinatra. It’s a 14-karat gold Bulova watch with an inscription on the back: “To Les Paul from Frank Sinatra.” Sinatra wanted to thank Paul for inventing multi-track recording. This could be a hot item at the auction. Valued between $400 and $600, but with a bidding war already underway.
- Bronzed army boots. They actually look pretty cool. Bronzed by Paul’s wife back in 1945. Starting bid is $50. Definitely not just music gear at this auction.
- Vintage microphone. There are many vintage mics on sale, but one amongst them is particularly noteworthy. It’s a Telefunken Elam 251. Starting bid is $7,500. It’s estimated to go for between $15,000 and $20,000.
- An intriguing letter. Then vice president Richard Nixon’s note of thanks and appreciation to Paul and his wife. Something for the political history buffs. Starting bid is $300.
- “Treasure chest.” Well, actually a tool cart, but for someone who loves to be creative with electrical projects, truly a treasure chest of tools, resistors, capacitors and transistors used by Paul for his various projects and experiments. This could be a sleeper at the auction. Starting bid, $300.
There’s tons more stuff for sale. Check it out at Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills. The auction takes place June 8 and 9, 2012.
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on May 18, 2012