Gibson is offering a $59k reward for the return of lost 1959-1960 shipping ledgers

1952 Gibson ledger (Image credit: Gibson)

Gibson is offering a $59,000 cash reward for the company’s missing 1959-1960 ledger, which contain the shipping records of all the Gibson guitars created during that year – including the cherished original Les Paul burst electric guitar.

According to Gibson, the shipping ledgers in question disappeared from the company’s archives roughly thirty years ago, around the time the brand moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Nashville.

Upon validation of the 1959-60 ledger’s authenticity, the returning party will receive the cash reward, no questions asked.

“As a custodian of Gibson, I am very excited about this search. I hope we can recover these ledgers as they contain important information about the pinnacle of our Golden Era,” said Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian.

1952 Gibson ledger

1952 Gibson ledger (Image credit: Gibson)

“It will be interesting to see where in the world they surface, given that the last time they were seen was in Michigan. While they are dusty old books to anyone else, these ledgers are part of our history, DNA and our iconic past.

“These ledgers contain the shipping information, including the serial numbers and shipping party, for the most valuable guitars in history; the Gibson 1959 and 1960 bursts.”

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Gibson estimates that there are as many as 200 fake ’59 Les Paul bursts circulating amongst collectors, a result of the model’s scarcity (only 643 were produced) and popularity, and also the fact that, due to the missing ledgers, originals are difficult to authenticate.  

60th Anniversary 1959 Les Pauls

60th Anniversary 1959 Les Pauls (Image credit: Gibson)

Additionally, Gibson is seeking to recover pre-1970 documents, blueprints and historical assets. The company stated that it is willing to evaluate relevant items and individual rewards – including  cash, Gibson gift cards, instruments and experiences – on a case-by-case basis.

The three-step Gibson validation request process for all items is as follows:

1. Send validation requests to: or Emails must include:

      a.  Written description

      b.  Photograph(s) and/or videos of the items

      c.  Contact email and phone number

2. The validation email request will be reviewed within 15 business days by the Gibson Historical Committee (GHC), composed of Cesar Gueikian, Mat Koehler (Head of Product Development), Mark Agnesi (Director of Brand Experience) and Jason Davidson (Director of Consumer Services).

3. Based on the GHC’s analysis, the submitting party will be contacted with next steps and instructions.

For more information, head to Gibson.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.