A 1958 Gibson Flying V is expected to receive international interest when it’s auctioned next month in Wiltshire, UK. With only 81 shipped in 1958 and 17 in 1959, the first year Gibson Korina Flying V is one of the rarest and most coveted Gibson guitar models. Nearly twenty times rarer than a “Burst” and incredibly futuristic for the time, the model is one of the most instantly recognisable, and copied designs ever. Originally seen in the hands of blues master Albert King, the model ended up crossing many genres and went on to inspire, and be used by many legends and contemporary greats including Jimi Hendrix, Billy Gibbons, Keith Richards, Lonnie Mack, Johnny Winter, Dave Davies, Slash, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Schenker, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, KK Downing, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammet and Nancy Wilson, the list goes on…
This guitar was originally shipped on the 30th April 1958 to the ‘Thomas Piano Co’ of Newport News, Virginia, USA. In the late 1980s the guitar was sold to the American Guitar Center in Washington. It was subsequently imported into the UK by a collector in 1989 before finding its way to the current owner who is based on the outskirts of London. In 1990, the guitar was photographed to feature across pages 86-87 in Tony Bacon’s ‘Ultimate Guitar Book’.
In 2019, Dave Davies’ 1958 Gibson Flying V sold at auction for $162,500 (inc. fees). Department head and auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: “This is such a rare and iconic instrument. One of the “Holy Grail” guitars for collectors. With a currently buoyant market, we would expect to see figures in the region of Dave Davies’ that was sold by auction a few years ago, especially as this guitar has its equally rare original plush lined case.”
Also featuring in the auction is twenty-seven guitars from the Bernie Marsden Collection. The selection on offer, that have all been used by Bernie on stage or in the studio in some capacity, varies from several of his iconic Whitesnake era Gibson’s, to a 1988 Squier Stratocaster that he used to record 90% of his “Stacks” solo album. Each guitar features in his guitar collection book “Tales of Tone and Volume” where they all have a unique and often fun anecdotal story. About the sale, Bernie said: “Being a professional musician for over 50 years now has led me to acquire all kinds of music gear and memorabilia. But, there comes a time in life when you need to properly assess and re-evaluate those items. All used, some possibly abused, loved, lost, recovered, bought on an impulse, a whim or simply desired at the time. In recent years, I have had the time to realise that I have a LOT of now rarely used quality equipment. Everything listed has been used either on the road or in the studio by myself. The Whitesnake guitars are probably the centrepiece, but most of these guitars have featured on a stage or in a studio at some point in my career. I admit that I let go of some of these items with a bit of a sigh, but I simply would rather them be played and cherished by someone else, rather than looking a little unloved.”
Other Highlights from the 1600 lot four-day auction include:
A 1957 Fender Stratocaster in Sunburst. Original condition including case.
A 1957 Fender Precision Bass in Sunburst. Original condition including case.
A 1961 Fender Stratocaster in fiesta red. Body refinish, otherwise original with case.
A 1966 Fender Jaguar in white with matching headstock. Original condition including case.
A 1966 Fender Bass V in candy apple red with matching headstock. Original Condition
A unique 1969 Gibson L5c Special, custom made for Neal Penner, Gibson’s top sales rep at the time.
A 1995 John Buscarino Monarch archtop guitar.
The auction will take place at Gardiner Houlgate, 9 Leafield Way, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9SW on 5th – 8thSeptember 2023. The 1958 Gibson Flying V, Bernie Marsden collection, and other vintage guitars will be offered on the first day (5th September 2023).
Public viewing takes place on Friday 1st & Monday 4th September from 9am–5.30pm and on the day of the sale itself.
For more information contact Luke Hobbs on 01225 812912 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gardiner Houlgate is the only auction house in Europe to hold dedicated stand-alone sales of guitars and related items, selling over 2,000 guitars a year at quarterly auctions.