If you're an avid collector of music history, you might want to consider emptying your piggy bank for this. On February 19th, the original 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom -- better known as "Black Beauty" --(left) will be auctioned off, giving someone with deep pockets the chance to own the prototype that became perhaps the most iconic guitar ever made. For the uninitiated, Paul, a musician and inventor, worked with Gibson to create a new electric guitar in the 1950s, with this first model being delivered to its namesake in 1954.
As he was always looking to improve things, Paul tweaked the 6-string with its fair share of modifications up until its last use in 1976, and as you might expect, it was featured on a number of albums, during stage performances and Listerine commercials. This Gibson axe is owned by Tom Doyle, Paul's friend and guitar technician, who was given the instrument when it was retired in the mid-70s. In addition to the guitar, Doyle's collection includes recording equipment from Les Paul's home studio, a 1940s pickup winder from the Gibson Factory, Chet Atkins' Gretsch 6120 "Dark Eyes" prototype guitar and much more.
[Photo credit: Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images]