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The ‘Morgan’ Gibson 1959 Les Paul sells for £172,000 at auction

Guitars That Changed The World
(Image credit: Dore & Rees)

Whenever a ’59 Les Paul comes out of the woodwork to go under the hammer, there’s always curiosity as to what it’ll fetch. The most recent case is the ‘Morgan’ 1959 Gibson Les Paul which went on sale last week via Dore & Rees auctioneers in Frome, Somerset. Part of its Guitars that Made History (opens in new tab) lot, the Les Paul reached a grand total of £172,000, selling to an undisclosed buyer.

Guitars That Changed The World

(Image credit: Dore & Rees)

The guitar belonged to the late James Llewellyn Morgan, who played guitar in the George Hatcher Band and Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack. As well as this, Morgan owned and operated his own studio where he recorded the likes of Arthur Brown, the UK Subs, Wilko Johnson and more.

He purchased the 1959 Les Paul Standard - which was identified as being one serial number away from Jeff Beck’s ’59 burst -  around 1972/73 for somewhere in the region of £450, and the guitar remained in his possession until his death in 2021. 

Elsewhere in the Guitars that Made History lot were a number of Morgan’s other vintage guitars including two Fender Stratocasters - 1960 and 1964 - which both fetched £17,500 each, a 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (£9,360), a 1956 Les Paul Junior (£7,800) SG Junior (£4,420) and a 1963 Salmon Pink Fender Precision Bass (£4,550).

The lot, which also included vintage effects, recording equipment and synths acheived White Glove Sale status, meaning that 100% of the catalogue sold, totalling at a value of over £260,000.

Marc Allum, the specialist who headed-up the sale and also a regular on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow said of the result, “Working closely with James’s family in recent months has been a privilege and the reach of this collection amongst the guitar playing community has been deep. 

"The best possible outcome was achieved, the ‘Morgan Burst’ has gone into the collection of a serious guitar player and will be played in the coming months, which is exactly what James Morgan would have wished for”.

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.