Price Check - 1955 Gold Top

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by NewLeaf09, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    I have a line on a '55 Gold Top. I've only seen a couple of pictures of it so far. It's been owned and played regularly by the same guy for the last 30 something years. It used to be an all gold version but at some point before the current owner bought it, someone removed the gold from all of the areas but the top and refinished it, leaving the gold in the cavities and recesses. The owner said that if you didn't know the back, etc., had been refinished, you wouldn't be able to tell that it had been an all gold guitar without opening it up - he said he didn't know for a number of years until someone pointed it out to him. When he bought it, it was just a guitar - they weren't the collectibles they are now. The tuners are said to be solid and, as far as I know, there are no other alterations to the guitar. I recall seeing a fairly nice all gold going for around $18k but I've seen all-golds listed for much more, including one on Reverb now for $27.5 (reduced from $41.5).

    I know that's not a lot to go on but anybody want to venture a guess at a price range with what I know? I'm going to get back with him next week to look at it.

    Thanks -
     
  2. ajory72

    ajory72 Senior Member

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    Any breaks?
    Perhaps post cavity and other pictures of the rest of the guitar [good quality close ups] as you'll get a better $$$$$ estimate. Also there are fakes out there, so the fact you are starting on the road to due diligence by posting here = you should do ok :)
     
  3. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    Thanks - No breaks and the guy is a well known early rocker and the '55 is one of his lesser treasures.
     
  4. judson

    judson Senior Member

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    i am by no means consider my self knowledgeable enough to pass along a valid opinion of values 50's GT bring but i can pass along what i saw over the past year or so when the 50's gold fever hit me...

    what you saw on reverb was a good range depending on what your looking for, you looking for a player or case queen? go play it feel it see how it sounds and see if you start getting sweating and trembling because it feels and sounds that good... you did he give you his asking price range?

    the philly show is soon, maybe there will be a few there?

    ask the guy if you can dissect it and take as many pics as you can until the seller throws you out of his house, post them here and then the experts will chime in

    i passed on a 53/54 for $8,500 that needed some work but should have bought and saw a few in the sub $15k price also that were players and recently was checking out a husk for $8k is what i think he wanted...

    prices seem to be drifting upward and dont think there will be anything under $20k worth having by the time i get my shiit together and grab one....

    :photos::photos::photos::photos::photos::photos::photos: and then more:photos::photos:

    (i grabbed a 71/72 to calm the fever as a temp measure and i am by no means comparing them...there is a thread here)


     
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  5. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Many an old rocker has been fooled.

    Sounds like a cool guitar with some character. I would verify it as much as possible. Sounds like you have a reasonable ballpark for a relatively clean, all/nearly original '55.
     
  6. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    Thanks guys. I've looked at a couple of '50s Gold Tops in the last couple of years and passed on them because my 2003 R6 with real '53 pickups sounds and feels better. I've seen a number sell slightly above and below $20k and some that looked very nice for around $25k but I am going from pictures on those. I went and looked at one for sale at an asking price of $12k but it had numerous repairs including a head-stock break and, oh yeah, having been routed for humbuckers and filled and rerouted for P90s, which the seller forgot to tell me about before I drove 3 hours to look at it.

    Solid Golds seem to sell for less than Gold Tops and with the refin from Solid Gold to what it is now I was wondering whether anyone had a sense of what that did to price. I'm not looking for a collector as much as I am a nice player with no issues.

    The seller and I haven't broached the topic of price - I really want to see and play the guitar before we start the negotiating process so I know whether it's worth pursuing. He said he had someone who I know to be an expert examine it and I imagine the expert gave the seller a ballpark value.

    Thanks again for taking the time to give your thoughts.
     
  7. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Maybe I missed it somewhere, but did you say whether this guitar has a wraparound tailpiece, or if it has an ABR-1 bridge and stoptail (as was the case later in ‘55)? It makes a difference from a price standpoint.


    Frank
     
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  8. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    It's a wrap-tail. Any ideas on the effect on value of altering an all gold to a goldtop? Oh, one thing I noticed is the serial no. is gone as a result of the refinishing process. The inside of the control cavity is all gold - no effort to remove the gold from areas not normally visible.
     
  9. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Well, in my opinion, altering an all gold to a gold top, is better than going from just a gold top to all gold. Reason being, and I’ve seen this a number of times, is that all kinds of sins can be hidden underneath gold paint. I bought a couple of those, both of which were hiding headstock breaks. Fortunately, I knew about the breaks, so I didn’t overpay for either. I also happen to like gold tops quite a bit more than all gold.

    From a value standpoint, if everything else is original, I’d say that the guitar might lose 1/3 - 1/2 of the value (of an all original example) especially if the serial number was lost in the process.


    Frank
     
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  10. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    One of Ed King's by any chance?

    :cheers2:
     
  11. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    I think there still is a GT FS in our Classifieds Section...........for < 18K. From memory it is a '53 or '54.

    :cheers2:
     
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  12. judson

    judson Senior Member

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  13. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    Just a guy I just happened to meet with a pretty amazing history - not a big name now but played with a lot of early big names - showed me some pictures of him partying with Ginger Baker, Clapton, etc. He still plays small gigs with his '59 LP because it amuses him.
     
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  14. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    Thanks - I'd seen that when it was first posted on TGP I think. Wouldn't be my first choice but looks nice. Having tried out a couple and found them no better playing or sounding than a current production GT, I really want to be able to spend some time playing one before I commit.

     
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  15. mono

    mono Senior Member

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    Is his 59 listed on burst serial?
     
  16. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    Don't know - I can ask.
     
  17. mono

    mono Senior Member

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    Thanks, I am just curious to see :)
     
  18. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    Hey, I just talked with the owner and he's not interested in disclosing the serial number, though he told me when and from whom he bought it. My guess is it's not on the registry. He also said he has no interest in parting with it.
     
  19. mono

    mono Senior Member

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    Ah no worries. I hope it's a stunner as he gets to hand it down to his kids!
     
  20. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Senior Member

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    He told me he asked his wife, "You're not going to sell the burst when I die, are you?"

    He imitated her voice: "Not before the funeral."

    He showed me a Youtube video of him playing it at an outdoor performance with a band and with that camera and at that distance it's indistinguishable from a zillion other Les Pauls. I said as much and he said, "Yeah, but the case (open on the stage) gives it away." Probably no one in the audience knew what he was playing. If it were mine, I'd tell anyone who asked it was a cheap knock-off.
     

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