Gibson’s final Certified Vintage drop of 2023 is an all-Epiphone collection that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the firm’s oldest brand, with a run of “golden-era” 1960s electric guitar, acoustic and bass models.
Certified Vintage is essentially Gibson’s own approved-used program, featuring rare and vintage models hand-picked by the firm’s Director of Brand Experience, Mark Agnesi. Each instrument comes with a certificate of authenticity and a new lifetime guarantee.
In an interview with Guitar World earlier this year, Agnesi discussed the program and revealed this run was in the works.
“I have an entire Epiphone drop,” said Agnesi. “[It features] some of the coolest vintage Epiphone guitars that we've had – and a couple of things that I've picked up –that really span that golden era of Epiphone in the early-to late-1960s.”
He’s certainly delivered on that promise, and the last batch contains beautiful vintage examples of some of the Epiphone’s most renowned builds, with the full list including a 1961 Epiphone E230TD Casino, 1961 Epiphone Coronet, 1962 Epiphone FT-79N Texan, 1967 Epiphone EB-232 Rivoli Bass, and a 1969 Epiphone FT-110 Frontier.
The jewel in the crown is the 1961 Casino – a model best-known for its Beatles association. This example dates back to the model’s first year of production – the tell-tale sign being the ‘bikini badge’ headstock logo – alongside original black dogear P-90 pickups, dot inlays and a tortoiseshell pickguard with the distinctive ‘E’ logo.
It’s described as being in excellent shape with light play wear, all of which feeds into its headline price-tag: $25,000.
After that, there’s a brace of acoustics, in the 1962 FT-79N Texan ($7,500) and 1969 FT-110 Frontier ($8,500). The latter has obvious Gibson Hummingbird and Dove vibes, but actually pre-dated Gibson’s birds by over 20 years – and is said to have heavily-inspired their creation.
This ‘69 example hails from Gibson’s Vault – and is therefore (barring a second strap button mod) in superb shape and even comes complete with its original case.
The ’62 Texan, meanwhile, puts even that to shame, despite being seven years older. Another Vault find, it is about as clean an example as you’ll ever see, with an all-original spec, case and even the original tags.
Note the era’s so-called “Kalamazoo-style” headstock – as found on most modern Epiphone builds (albeit not the Epiphone Greeny).
Back in electric land, the ’61 Coronet is also an all-original spec, albeit with a few more dings than the aforementioned Texan.
The pickguard has cracked slightly and the finish is faded, but it oozes character – and is the most affordable find of the bunch at $6,500.
Finally, there’s the semi-hollow 1967 Epiphone Rivoli bass ($7,500), produced on the same line as Gibson’s own EB-2. It comes loaded with Gibson’s monstrous (in a good way) Sidewinder pickup and the push-button baritone switch. Again, it’s had no mods across its 50+ years on the planet and is in “very good” condition.
“This curated batch of vintage Epiphone instruments includes some of the most iconic and storied models in the company’s history; models which, over the decades, have found favor with legendary artists such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Noel Gallagher, and many others,” notes Gibson’s press release.
“The Epiphone Casino and Texan, in particular, are some of the most-heard guitars in the history of popular music, and no collection of iconic vintage guitars would be complete without one of each.”
These are some of the cleanest examples and most accessible prices we've seen from the Certified Vintage program. However, if you don’t have the spare cash to play the vintage market, but still want something a bit special from the brand’s historic catalogue, Epiphone’s 150th Anniversary builds are well worth a look.
To purchase or learn more about the guitars in the Epiphone drop, check out Gibson’s Certified Vintage program.