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Ebay ES of the Week #11-“Psst, Wanna buy a bridge?”

Here's the real thing. Note the little mark after the word ABR-1

The price of admission into the exclusive “Golden Era” 335 club just keeps going down. A recent Ebay auction of a ’62 335 broke under $10K. Eighteen months ago, I sold my Patent number ’62 Bigsby/Custom Made for a little under $12,000 and was surprised at how cheap it went. The 64 I had on Ebay was only bid to around $8500-fortunately I put a reserve on it and it has since gone across the pond to the UK for a number closer to reality.  There are two important points to be made in light of this. One is that Ebay sets the “true market value” only to a point. I’m finding that many buyers don’t trust Ebay and I can’t say that I blame them. I did an informal survey of all the mid 60’s ES-335s on Ebay today and nearly a third of them have something that is wrong in their listing. It’s usually the year but also the originality. The earlier ones are better described-in general-because they are being sold by dealers or more knowledgeable sellers who know what they have. Before I go too far afield, the other point is that there is a marketplace outside of Ebay that is still fairly robust and that still will pay top dollar for pre 65 ES 335s and 345s as long as they know they are coming from a reputable seller who knows what he has.  These are the folks who have been burned on Ebay and they are justifiably pissed.  Our Ebay ES of the week will point out the problem. This week, it’s a bridge. I was looking for a nickel ABR-1 bridge yesterday for a client and saw one for sale by a small and presumably reputable dealer. The bridge was off of a Gibson Historic and not a vintage piece at all. I wrote to the dealer and asked if he knew that he was misrepresenting what he had. It is very easy to tell a repro from the real thing. I could teach a 4 year old how to tell the difference.  Oh, and do you want to know what the dealer’s response was? None. He didn’t change his listing either and now it’s my listing of the week. Go here and see the auction. he says it’s a 64 wired type ABR-1. It isn’t. It’s a reproduction ABR-1. Here’s how to tell the difference. The repros say Gibson ABR-1 on the bottom and that’s it. The real vintage piece says the same thing but also has what I call a “makers mark”. It’s a little logo that, as I understand it,  indicates the manufacturer of the piece. Even if that isn’t what it actually is, it’s a very good way to keep yourself from being taken by unscrupulous sellers or by dealers who should perhaps find another line of work. I don’t mean to come down too hard on the dealer in question but this is pretty much inexcusable. Like I said, I could teach a 4 year old how to tell the difference. Just because it’s dirty and beat up doesn’t mean its old. If you believe that this is a vintage piece, I’ve got a 59 Les Paul that I’ll sell you for way less than the $200,000 the dealers are asking.  Got the same bridge as you see in the picture up above, too. I suppose I could say, “psst, wanna buy a bridge..?” and you wouldn’t be the first sucker to fall for it.  UPDATE: Good news-the seller got back to me and admitted that he was in error and said that he had taken down the listing. He said it was an honest mistake and he was gracious about it so I have no reason to believe otherwise. No one likes to be called out on stuff like this but if you ever see one of my listings (charliegtv) and something seems wrong, by all means call me out on it. If you’re wrong, I’ll still like you. If you’re right…well I dunno.

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