Bidding frenzy expected for rare, 1959 Gibson Flying V Guitar

Josh Levine holds rare 1959 Gibson Flying V guitar. (photo by Sami Gill)

A rare, 1959 Gibson Flying V Korina will hit the auction block on Thursday, March 30 at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale.

The V-shaped guitar failed miserably when it was first introduced to the public in 1958, but the scarce model now commands high prices at auction, with some guitars in mint condition selling for more than $100,000, according to a press release.

“Not only are we fortunate enough to sell a Flying V guitar, this particular one comes with very strong provenance and it is in excellent condition,” said Josh Levine, auctioneer and CEO of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, in the press release.

The Gibson Flying V was part of Gibson’s “Modernistic” series, which included The Gibson Futura, The Gibson Explorer and the rare, enigmatic Gibson Moderne. The new series came about after a new competitor, Fender, released the iconic Fender Stratocaster, which revolutionized the music industry.

“Gibson’s guitars looked old-fashioned, and they felt pressure to introduce new, hip designs,” Mr. Levine said in the press release.

The Flying V, though, was rejected. Gibson shipped 81 Flying V guitars in 1958 and only 17 of them in 1959. By the early 1960s, the guitar was phased out of production.

The rare, 1959 Gibson Flying V guitar that will be auctioned by J. Levine features Korina Limba wood, gold plated parts, a Brazilian Rosewood fretboard and a desirable black plastic pickguard with a white edge. The guitar also is featured in the book “Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years,” by A. R. Duchossoir.

Mr. Levine, who once played professionally in a rock band, believes the Flying V failed because it was too far ahead of its time.

“The design was too radical for people of that era,” he said in the release.

The March 30 auction includes more than 200 collectibles from multiple fine estates. In addition to the Flying V guitar, other highlights include 1950 Aerial Mark I motorcycle, a 16th century Italian Cassone marriage chest and a wonderful assortment of mid-century and contemporary furniture.

Levine Auction & Appraisal is at 10345 N. Scottsdale Road, in Scottsdale, on the southeast corner of Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road. Doors open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 30, with the auction starting at 11 a.m. The auction house is currently open for a free preview from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 480-496-2212.

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