The Gibson Guitar Company, whose roots go back over a century to Kalamazoo, is offering a major reward for the return/recovery of a set of shipping ledgers dating back to the late 1950's.

A ledger from 1952 from the Gibson Guitar Company, then headquartered on Parsons Street in Kalamazoo. (Photo: Gibson Brands, Inc. Used by permission)

The $59,000 reward is tied to a worldwide search for these missing ledgers from 1959-1960. These ledgers, Gibson says, "contain the shipping records of all the Gibson guitars created during that year, and proudly documents an important period in Gibson’s 126-year old history; the pinnacle of the Gibson Golden Era. The 1959-1960 shipping ledgers in question disappeared from Gibson’s archives around thirty years ago and may have never made the move with the company from Kalamazoo", to when the company moved to Nashville.

“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’" - Rick Nielsen, Cheap Trick

The company says original 1959 models are worth upwards of half a million dollars, due in part to their qualilty, and to the fact that not that many were crafted.

“I hope we can recover these ledgers as they contain important information about the pinnacle of our Golden Era,” says Cesar Gueikian, Gibson's Chief Merchant Officer. “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.”

Gibson is also looking for other pre-1970 items, such as documents, blueprints, and "unique Gibson historical assets". Gibson says it is "willing to evaluate relevant items and individual rewards terms on a case-by-case basis". Depending on the item submitted and validated, Gibson will offer cash, Gibson gift cards, instruments and more.

“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.”- Joe Bonamassa

If you or someone you know has an item that might qualify for a reward, here's the procedure.

Following is the three-step Gibson validation request process for all items:

1.) Send the validation requests to: 59Ledger@gibson.com or Ledger@gibson.com.
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.

Given Gibson's history in Kalamazoo, especially for locals with ties to the company, it might be worth a look in your basement or attic to see if there might be some valuable items there. They might be worth something big.

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