A controversial instrument has come up on the auction block. The left-handed 1959 Gibson Les Paul sunburst offered at the Heritage Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Signature Auction (October 26 and 27 in Beverly Hills) is the same instrument that graced the cover of Guitar Aficionado magazine (Vol. I No. 4).
At that time, this rare flametop was in the collection of tennis star John McEnroe. It subsequently passed from his hands to another owner. But is it an authentic 1959? A small but visible split between the left and right halves of the flame maple top has long fed speculation that the instrument had been doctored, but Heritage’s team of appraisers are certain that this is the genuine article.
As only four 1959 lefty Les Paul sunbursts are thought to be in existence — one belongs to Paul McCartney — this is an absolutely droolworthy instrument that easily justifies its $125,000 presale estimate.