Ebay Gem

You gotta admit, this is pretty cool. It's a 65 ES-355 in blonde. It was almost certainly a special order and I'd be surprised if there are more than one or two others. Maybe no others. This is the first one I've seen.

There are two things I love about Ebay. I love when a really unusual ES comes up for sale and, make no mistake about it, this one is unusual. The second thing I love is when they come up for a reasonable price. This one, maybe not so reasonable. I’ve written a lot about the impact of extreme rarity on price. Long story short, it doesn’t matter all that much in most cases. Rare colors are a bit of an exception and that’s why this one is so interesting. I had one of only five red 59 ES-345s and it commanded a premium of about 30-35% over the equivalent sunburst. I had one of only three or four red 59 335s. Again, around a 35% premium. I had one of somewhere around 16 Pelham Blue Trinis and the premium was nearly 200% over a red one (thanks, David Grohl). Typically, blonde 335s from 58-60 get a 100% premium over sunburst. So, from this, I take away nothing. There is no real consistency-it’s still about the demand given the low supply. A red 59 345 is a bit esoteric because you can simply find an early 60 for a lot less and it will be pretty much the same. If you really want a red dot neck, there are plenty of 61s out there. So, how many people will pay a big premium because they want a red 59? A few but not many. That brings us to our Ebay “gem”. I like it a lot and it could be the only one or there could be one or two others. Gibson didn’t always include special orders in their shipping logs nor did they include small runs of non standard colors. It is a 65 stereo ES-355 in blonde. From the photos, it looks original and I’ll assume that it is. The last 65 stereo 355 I sold went for around $6000 about 10 months ago. Like the blonde on Ebay, it had a Maestro and was in similar condition. It was a nice guitar and it played OK despite the Maestro (which most of you know I don’t like). At $17,500, the seller is asking for a nearly 200% premium or triple the price of a red one.  Here’s a good comparison. Recently, a blonde, left handed 1964 ES-335 block neck surfaced. I wrote about it and saw it in person. I know what the buyer paid but I don’t think I should disclose it. It’s a little tricky because there is a premium for lefties and a premium for unusual colors. So is the premium scale additive or geometric? The blonde lefty is almost certainly one of one. Unique. The premium, if I’m remembering correctly, was around 80% over a right handed red or sunburst same year 335. Considering lefties get 25% or more, that leaves us at 55% or so assuming the premium is additive. You can do the math yourself. There is not much demand for a lefty 335 either but that’s because there aren’t that many lefties (so the demand can be pent up). A 335 is always more desirable than a 355 stereo.  A blonde is usually more desirable than a red. My guess is that there isn’t any pent up demand for a blonde 65 ES-355. There is also no good way to accurately price something with no precedent. I’ve never seen a blonde 65 ES-355 before. What would really be interesting would be a no reserve auction. That’ll bring ’em out of the woodwork. Then we’ll really know what it’s worth. How about it?

4 Responses to “Ebay Gem”

  1. RAB says:

    Charlie, I had also seen this ’65 blonde 355 on Ebay…it is rare but I’ve seen at least a couple other blonde, pre-1966 ES-355s (there are later examples like from the 1980s that we’ll discount!) A dealer friend of mine had a ’64 blonde 355 stereo with a Bigsby…there is a blonde ’62 stereo with stop tailpiece in one of the better known vintage guitar books…formerly owned by Gil Southworth…Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) has been pictured with what appears to be a mid-1960’s blonde 355 stereo…they rare and beautiful beasts for sure…hmm…wonder if there were any mono, stop tailpiece blonde 355s??!!

  2. erik says:

    well, he’s down to 16,500 now! I think he’s doing that no reserve auction in reverse . . ; )

  3. Heiko Frost says:

    Hi Charlie,

    Love this website as always. I don’t know if this Blond ES-355 is the same guitar, but another 1965 Blond ES-355 was at Guitar Center in Hollywood for at least a year or two. I think they wanted like $14k for it. Very, very cool looking guitar.

  4. OK Guitars says:

    I think the one at GC had a Bigsby. I have a photo of it somewhere. I’m guessing they didn’t get $14K either.

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