Serial Number: 87230 Les Paul

Year shipped: 1931


Headstock: Horizontal ‘The Gibson’ logo

Neck/fingerboard: 20 fret fingerboard with pointed end, dot inlays from the third fret

Body: Maple back and sides

Hardware: Regular tailpiece, three-on-a-strip tuners and short bound pickguard with holes drilled in it

Notes: The body has been refinished. This L-5 originally belonged to guitarist Les Paul (see below)

This is one of two L-5s purchased by Les Paul – then going by the name of Rhubarb Red – from the Gibson factory with his friend and bandmate Sunny Joe Wolverton in 1933.

Paul later gave the guitar to a friend named Dave Moran who requested that it be returned to Les Paul on his death.

Les Paul: “Near the end of our run there, a letter came to Fat Tuesday’s addressed to me. It was from a person I didn’t know, telling me about an elderly lady he was caring for who had a dying son. On his deathbed, the son had stated that the guitar and pair of shoes under the bed belonged to Les Paul and gave instructions that they be returned to me. So I flew to Chicago, rented a car and drove to the mother’s house. And when I opened the guitar case, there was one of the L-5s Joe had helped me get back in the early ‘30s.

When Jimmy (Atkins), Ernie (Newton) and I had left Chicago in 1938, I had given the guitar and a pair of Florsheim shoes to my musician friend, Dick Moran who also inherited my job on the radio. He had kept and cherished them all these years and now his dying with was that I get them back. Giving that particular guitar away was something I had kicked myself for many times and getting it back in this manner was very moving to me.” Les Paul In His Own Words Autobiography.

Sold at Julien’s Auctions Sale Of Property From The Estate Of Les Paul, June 8 and 9 2012 for $31,250.

Image courtesy of Julien’s Auctions