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How Much Do Originality And Condition Matter in Determining Re-Sale Value When Selling A Vintage Guitar?

Posted on July 24th, 2019 by JoeG

When you sell guitars to Chicago Gold Gallery guitar buyer in Chicago, you should know that it’s very important to consider originality and condition, specifically when selling a vintage guitar. You could have two of the same guitars—make, model, year, etc—but the price can be completely different based on the instrument’s condition.


A 100% factory original guitar is what most collectors want, but many players, working musicians, and guitarists enjoy customizing their guitars by adding extra switches, pickups, and aftermarket non-factory parts. While this may make the guitar sound better to the owner or feel better to the musician, it also decreases the collector value (especially with regards to the vintage guitar value). When someone who has an original vintage guitar and a machine head/tuning key breaks, it is important to replace it with another similar vintage part. If one can not find that part, replace it with at least a vintage period correct reproduction replacement part, not just any part. But even that can have an overall price reduction. Changes and modifications decreasing the value for collectors would be things like changing the original pickups, electronics, bridges, tuning machine heads, wiring, and more. Originality is not exclusive to the guitar’s parts—the finish is also very crucial in determining the value. If a guitar is “refinished” or “refin,” it means that the guitar was painted at some point, even if it was to cover up a repaired crack to aesthetically improve the repair which can reduce the value by as much as 50% or more. A worn, played in and scratched guitar would be more valuable than a “refinished” one, so if you decided you did not like that seafoam green color on your 1965 Stratocaster and sanded it down to a natural color wood like so many people did between 1950’s to date, you would have made your $25,000.00 Fender into a $4,000.00 to $5,000.00 guitar. A worst-case scenario would be if you stripped or refinished your flamed maple 1959 Les Paul Sunburst guitar to natural wood, you decreased the value to a $40,000 or so guitar instead of a $120,000.00 to $500,000.00 guitar! That is why originality is key.


You should also look at the physical properties of the guitar, like cracks in the body where the neck meets the body or neck and headstock breaks. For acoustic guitars the same as well as cracks in the top and bridge lifting. Damages to physical properties don’t only decrease the value, but it also impacts the ability to stay in tune, playability, and structural integrity of the instrument.

Collector Grades

Collector grade guitars and guitars that are in all-original or near all-original condition Mint or Near Mint are best for collectors and what we are always looking to buy. These have a higher value and are more of a valuable collectible than an instrument of the same type that has been repaired, modified, refinished and altered in any way. That said, worn and played in all original guitars still have very high desirability and value just not as much as mint condition ones

Call Us Today!

If you are looking to sell guitars in Chicago, Chicago Gold Gallery has experienced buyers who are also collectors and retain large collections. They have been buying old and vintage guitars for over 50 years and can ensure that you get much more when you sell your guitar to them. Contact us today if you are looking for a free appraisal evaluation.

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I had a large collection of silver coins sitting in my safe deposit box for 15+ years. Chrissy was so friendly and helpful she even gave me advice about coins I didn't know. She was more than happy to help me for over an hour in between taking care of other customers. They really did give me top dollar for my coins. Whether you are new or a pro with coins, I can highly recommend you take them here!

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I find that Joe at Chicago Gold Gallery consistently offers and pays more for my coins than coin dealers in Chicagoland. He's very nice and easy to deal with. Don't hesitate to call him and preferably visit him.

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