Hello everyone! I am new to the site (but have been reading for a while) and I was hoping I could pick the collective brain here on a few issues over the coming weeks.
I was recently lucky enough to acquire at an estate sale a collection of Gibson and Epiphone guitars, some of which I want to sell on.These guitars were purchased together and as new by the previous owner in 1964 and he owned them continuously until he died this year. They have now passed to me. This must surely be quite unique. The guitars have never been gigged, but there are some condition issues.
There are some things which I feel must be done
- None have pick guards so I plan to replace those
- He was left handed. I plan to restring the guitars which have not been modded and rewired, possibly replacing the nuts.
- There are small areas of painted decoration which are easily removed
- The nickel plating on the hardwear is dull and degraded. I have read it is fairly easy to clean it and so will consider that
- One has modern replacement winders, and I plan to replace these with a vintage set
Then there are issues which would require more invasive work -
- The fretboards are well worn and the frets could easily be replaced
- The lacquer/varnish on some has noticeably, but not seriously, cracked in places
- The back of the neck of one has been crudely revarnished and this varnish is now degrading
When I look at these types of guitars for sale online they all look as if they have been completely cleaned and overhauled and look as close to new as it is possible to make them. I've no doubt with some time and effort I could do the same. My dilemma is that my guitars are largely original to 1964 and have honest wear and damage picked up during a lifetime of love from a single owner.
I feel like I should strike a balance between making the guitars as playable and commercially attractive as possible, without obliterating what (to me) are attractive and authentic flaws.
1. Is authentic wear like this ever attractive to the collectors market?
2. Does refinishing/revarnishing the body of a valuable 1964 Epiphone degrade its authenticity?
3. Are there examples out there of dealers who sell worn and "original," rather than refurbished vintage guitars?
I'm just looking for opinions of those who know much more than me on what to do. I would like these guitars to go to a good home, but I also need to make a good return on my (large) investment. I am a guitar player of over 25 years but have no experience of selling vintage guitars or having them restored. Any opinions would be welcomed!