Rare rock and roll guitar on sale

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The Independent Culture

A rare electric guitar dating back to the start of the rock and roll era is to go under the hammer.

The Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, dating back to 1954, is believed to have been played by rockabilly musician Carl Perkins for a formative recording of hit song Blue Suede Shoes in Memphis.

Originally thought to be worth little, auctioneer Jonathan Humbert, from JPHumbert Auctioneers in Northamptonshire, said it could fetch up to £50,000.

He said: "After the client showed it to me, I had it re-strung and it turned out to be a really rare and early guitar, a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, bought some years ago in the USA.

"We have dated it through the serial number to 1954, which is very early.

"Nineteen fifty-four dates right back to Bill Haley and His Comets and Chuck Berry.

"There's not many of these Goldtops about, 1954 was the first year that they became really popular but there's not many of that year left.

"There's plenty from the 70s and 60s but 1954, by any definition this is an early date.

"Then we found out, according to the client's son, that this guitar was apparently used by Carl Perkins for a formative recording of Blue Suede Shoes in Memphis.

"Although we only have spoken provenance, it is undoubtedly an important part of rock and roll history."

He said the instrument was likely to draw transatlantic interest, possibly fetching tens of thousands of pounds.

"One sold in 2007 for £42,000, so for an electric guitar that we thought was worth a few hundred quid, that's great.

"It has a rather conservative estimate of £5,000-£8,000 but early indications are that this could be a £50,000 instrument."

The guitar will go under the hammer as part of a fine art and antiques sale at JPHumbert's Towcester saleroom on July 20.