Posted by Marc Greilsamer

In August of 2012, Mark Stutman, owner of Folkway Music in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, was contacted about an old guitar that was found under a bed somewhere in Iowa. Intrigued by the description he was given on the phone, he asked for a few photographs. Though the pictures he received were what one might call “low-res,” Stutman saw enough to know that he had a true rarity on his hands: a 1941 Gibson J-35, in mint condition. Soon after, he flew to Iowa, bought the instrument, and held on to it for a couple of years.

In August of 2012, Mark Stutman, owner of Folkway Music in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, was contacted about an old guitar that was found under a bed somewhere in Iowa. Intrigued by the description he was given on the phone, he asked for a few photographs, and they arrived, six months later, along with a handwritten letter. Though the pictures he received were what one might call “low-res,” Stutman saw enough to know that he had a true rarity on his hands: a 1941 Gibson J-35, in almost mint condition, original owner still in possession. Soon after, he flew to Iowa, bought the instrument, and held on to it for a couple of years.

“I paid more for that guitar,” he told me, “than any other J-35 had ever been sold for. The guy had done his homework.”

This was a classic example of one of those amazing “under the bed” stories that guitar lovers hear from time to time. The original owner had purchased his J-35, and not long after, he shipped out to the Pacific theater to fight in World War II. The guitar was hardly ever played again. When his children began cleaning out his home, preparing for a move, they discovered this gem, and a bit of Internet research told them they had something special.

J35-tuners-image

The guitar had no repairs and no flaws, still boasting the original factory setup, complete with original bridge and pins. The Kluson “mosaic” tuners survived, too. Everything from neck angle to fret placement seemed to be ideal. The unusual cherryburst finish was the icing on the cake.

Fast forward a couple of years. Stutman decided to post an Instagram photo of the vaunted instrument, and the offers started rolling in–even though he had no intention of selling it. As it happens, one offer in particular was enough to change his mind, and now someone else is the proud owner of a rare 1941 Gibson J-35.

With the value of the Canadian dollar plunging versus the American dollar, Stutman has noticed that a lot of vintage instruments are “coming out of the woodwork” in Canada, as owners of vintage instruments become seduced by the strength of U.S. currency. (This fact seems to have partially inspired his sale of the Gibson.) For American collectors, at least, this is welcome news.

Comments