Since its first model was sold in 1952, the Gibson Les Paul has become one of the most iconic and recognizable guitars of all time. Throughout the past 60 years, dozens upon dozens of musical heroes have chosen the Les Paul as their instrument of choice from former guitarist of Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, to the king of reggae, Bob Marley.
As is such, the Gibson Les Paul is also one of the most expensive guitars of all time. Even basic models retail for as much as $5000, and when it comes to more collectible versions and special editions, this number is remarkably higher.
These are just a few of the most expensive Gibson Les Pauls to ever sell:
Rock Royalty Custom Gibson Les Paul Guitar
Only one Gibson Les Paul Guitar was customized by Rock Royalty, and it sold for $175,000. Surfacely, the guitar looked fairly standard with its black body and white trim, but upon further inspection, this gem of a guitar boasted custom Rock Royalty volume knobs, with 24.56 carats of black and white diamonds, all set in silver with 22kt gold rims and black ruthenium…and this is just the tip of the iceberg. It also featured handmade tuning keys, selector switch, and pick guards, all also studded with more black and white diamonds and gold trim. To top things off, the guitar’s factory painted white border was detailed in 22kt gold.
The 1959 left-handed Les Paul Standard Sunburst Guitar
At the Heritage Auction’s Vintage Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature Auction, one specific 1959 left-handed Les Paul Standard Sunburst guitar managed to yield $194,500. The instrument was part of a consignment from the United States Marshals Service, intended to help everyone financially impacted by the Aspen Energy Oil and Gas Investment Scheme.
Paul McCartney’s Lefty Les Paul Burst
Of the Les Pauls on our list, this is perhaps the one of two that it’s almost impossible to attach a monetary price tag to. More or less identical to the guitar sold at the “HAVGMIS” auction we already mentioned, Paul McCartney’s lefty burst—his guitar of choice for year—would no doubt yield over the million dollar price point…if it was for sale.
52 Gold Top Les Paul
And the other, of those two “priceless” Les Pauls? The “52 gold top”—the first Les Paul prototype. Only one was made, and it was never given a serial number. Even reissues of this piece of musical history sell for a minimum of $5,000. At auction, there’s no doubt that the original wouldn’t have any problem bringing in as many as seven figures.