It appears you now agree with me that it would be very difficult for someone to use the courts to take the guitar away from the present owner.
I think this is so. I don't think the OP has anything to worry about.
Respectfully, I don't agree. This is all speculation, of course. But the big issue is whether the original OP is the recognized owner of the guitar and if he/she wishes, could sell the guitar. The knowledge that this is potentially a stolen guitar will make it very difficult to optimize a sale on.
Also, the courts almost consistently side with the team that is willing to spend enough on the case. The OP could be tied up in legal expenses for a long period without a sure outcome. Thats why I would not agree they have nothing to worry about.
The best option for the OP would be to reach out to the Bolan estate and display an act of good faith to come to an agreement of some kind.
I agree. Whether or not you feel that Bolan's estate has any claim to the guitar is irrelevant. The fact is that it is a very valuable piece of property that was last seen when it was reported stolen. At this point there is simply too much risk involved to get anywhere near its value. In fact, now that it is out there, I'd have a hard time giving you $25k for that guitar simply because at some point the guitar could be taken from me with no compensation, and me having to pay lawyers to fight it. No thanks.
This is essentially a "hot" guitar and until an action is launched and decided, it always will be a "hot" guitar.
Where's your proof it's a "hot" guitar?
A long time ago I made the assumption, in print, that he had either done the finish himself or got someone to do it for him. But there is no conclusive evidence that Marc did any work on the guitar when he first got it. As time has gone on I have found it less and less believable that he would have done it himself (Marc wasn't a practical, hands-on guy). Having spent a lot of money getting a Les Paul in the first place (at a time when he wasn't that well off) I also feel he would not have taken a risk with a drastic alteration to the front. I currently feel the likeliest explanation is that the previous owner did it at the same time they took the Bigsby off.
Unfortunately, one person still alive who could easily settle this question refused to answer my questions, partly because I am told he has had some bad experiences with T Rex fans over the years. A second person is on my research list to find and he should be able to confirm.
At a tangent, I've always been intrigued by what the original owner thought when he saw Marc on British television about a year after he sold the Les Paul. That must've been a bit of a shock!