An elderly man's long-forgotten guitar has turned into a windfall for his family some 50 years later.
U.K. guitar dealer Mike Long tells Guitar Player magazine that a woman recently contacted him to assess a guitar that had been squirreled away in her father's closet. The instrument was still in its case and had not been played since the '70s.
To everyone's surprise, the guitar was a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard — one of about 1,500 ever made — one of the most collectible electric guitars in the world.
They knew little about the guitar, except that it had been acquired decades earlier for the bargain sum of £50 with a free case. The woman who contacted Long said she was doing so for insurance purposes; her father was moving and she had been given the guitar for safekeeping. She understood that Gibson Les Pauls generally sold for a few thousand pounds, but she was not prepared for Long's appraisal.
While the guitar had some modifications over the years, and was among the "filthiest" Long had ever seen (which is saying something in the world of vintage guitars), it was easily worth six figures.
"I've got some good news and I've got some bad news," Long told the family. "The bad news is it's totally unplayable and is in terrible condition. The good news is that once it's been refurbished it'll be worth about £175,000 ($215,500)."
The family — including the guitar's owner — was stunned.
“You could hear a pin drop,” Long recalled. “She couldn’t quite believe it. Her dad couldn’t quite believe it either. They literally had no idea what they had!”
Recounting the story last week via Instagram, Long called the guitar a "proper once-in-a-lifetime-find."
Watch Long show off the guitar in the player above!