Les Paul Estate Auction

The Les Paul Estate Auction will be held on June 8th and 9th, 2012 at Julien’s Auction (Beverly Hills, California). Les Paul’s instruments, recording equipment and memorabilias will be put to auction and you can check the online catalog of the auction (or download the PDF).

Lester William Polfuss would have been 97 on June 9th. That’s the date chosen to put a part of his collection to auction. The proceeds of the auction will benefit the Les Paul Foundation.

Many of us spend countless hours fooling around on a guitar neck partly thanks to Lester Polfuss aka Les Paul. From the famous “log”, the ancestor of the solidboday electric guitar that he built in Epiphones workshop to the multitrack recorder, and many effects, the genius of the man is partly responsible for our passion and occupations.

I’m not going to write an extensive biography because many other sites did it much better than I would do. My goal is to draw your attention to the auction at Julien’s Auction.

Next June, the auction will probably be less impressive than that of Eric Clapton for his foundation (Blackie reached the million dollars price point) or Richard Gere‘s auction featuring  Albert King’s Flying V. Though the catalog is still impressive (410 pages, 741 lots) it doesn’t include “iconic guitars”, only pieces of history… Which is already cool.

Memorabilias also have an important place as the auction includes Lester Polfuss’ social security card, signed photos by Les Paul, Mickey Mantle signed baseball, Slash hat gifted to Les Paul, and Frank Sinatra gifted watch.

Of course, guitars have a very important place. The catalog includes 260 models. Gibson guitars obviously… There 150 different Les Paul guitars !! And also several other brands but only 3 Fender guitars. And let’s not talk about basses, upright basses, banjos, mandolines, pianos, bouzoukis, ukuleles, clarinets and guitar picks (there are 3 boxes full of ’em).

Among the unexpected, yet not surprising guitars in Les Paul’s collection, there are several Casio Midi and Les Paul Midi guitars ! The man was a curious mind obviously, and these instruments prove it a little bit more.

The most impressive part of the auction catalog is all the pieces coming from the workshop and the studio of Les Paul the inventor: The tools that he used to make his pickups, his electronic devices, his amps, his old tape recorders, his old televisions, his old microphones…

You leaf through the catalog (check the online version) just like you were discovering an unknown territory. It triggers emotion, surprises and suspens.

Of course, there are some exceptional guitars such as a 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, a 1951 Fender Nocaster, several L5. But there is no trace of the famous Log nor the famous Selmer gifted to Les Paul by Django Reinhardt’s widow in 1953 to thank him for his help after Django’s death (if someone knows the serial number of this Selmer, I’m interested to know it).

It makes me think that they tried to keep the essential pieces of Les Paul’s collection though they released a big part of the History for us to see. And why not to acquire one or some of these items.

Could imagine Django Reinhardt’s Selmer put to auction ? Now that would be a crazy auction  with such a pedigree guitar… For the pleasure of watching, here is a video of the guitar presented by Les Paul… This one, you won’t see at Beverly Hills auction…


This article is a translation of Tujoh ZeCat’s guest post on the French version of Muzicosphere.

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top