Gibson / $59,000 reward offered for missing 1959/60 shipping ledgers

Missing for over 30 years, Gibson have heightened the search for the shipping ledgers for the years 1959 and 1960 and are offering a $59,000 cash reward for the return of the books, with no questions asked.

The ledgers, which contain the shipping records for all Gibson guitars created during each year, have been missing since the company moved from Kalamazoo to Nashville.

In addition to the ledgers, Gibson are looking for any pre-1970 documents, blueprints and unique historical assets, with cash rewards paid out on a case by case basis.

Photo of Cesar Gueikian and James ‘JC’ Curleigh from Gibson
Cesar Gueikian and Gibson President James ‘JC’ Curleigh

Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian told MetalTalk: “As a custodian of Gibson, I am very excited about this search. I hope we can recover these ledgers as they contain important information about the pinnacle of our Golden Era. It will be interesting to see where in the world they surface, given that the last time they were seen was in Michigan.

“While they are dusty old books to anyone else, these ledgers are part of our history, DNA, and our iconic past. These ledgers contain the shipping information, including the serial numbers and shipping party, for the most valuable guitars in history; the Gibson 1959 and 1960 bursts.”

The search for Gibson ledgers is supported by Rick Nelson and Joe Bonamassa.

Photo of Rick Nielsen with his 1959 Les Paul Standard
Rick Nielsen with his 1959 Les Paul Standards. Photo Mike Graham

Rick Nelson told MetalTalk: “It’s no wonder that for the last 62 years, many of the top players, collectors, and dreamers have dubbed the original Gibson Les Paul, produced in Kalamazoo Michigan by some of the greatest instrument builders, ‘The Holy Grail’.

“It held an unparalleled value back then with a price tag of $245. Today, the value is 1,000 times that and, in some cases, worth so much more – monetarily, historically, artistically, and most importantly…musically cool.”

Joe Bonamassa added “To find the original ledgers is to unearth knowledge of a pivotal point in America’s contribution to not only guitar manufacturing but to Rock and Roll itself.”

Photo of Joe Bonamassa with his 1959 Gibson les Paul Standard
Joe Bonamassa with his 1959 Gibson les Paul Standard. Photo MetalTalk’s Robert Sutton

The three step validation process is as follows:

1. Send validation requests to: or
Emails must include:
a. Written description
b. Photograph(s) and/or videos of the items
c. Contact email and phone number

2. The validation email request will be reviewed within 15 business days by the Gibson Historical Committee (GHC), composed of Cesar Gueikian, Mat Koehler (Head of Product Development), Mark Agnesi (Director of Brand Experience) and Jason Davidson (Director of Consumer Services).

3. Based on the GHC’s analysis, the submitting party will be contacted with next steps and instructions.


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