Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Fogelberg White Penguin

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This photo was posted over in TDPRI. Someone attended a guitar show in Arlington, TX.

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$95,000.00 opening bid.

The last paragraph regarding CITES should not be missed, for all our international members who will be bidding. : )

*Very rare original 1958 Gretsch White Penguin model 6134, previously owned and professionally used by musician and songwriter Dan Fogelberg. Often considered among the most sought-after "Holy Grail" examples of vintage guitars, an original Gretsch White Penguin would immediately become a cornerstone piece in the even world's most elite guitar collection. This specific example garners a significant amount of additional interest due to its celebrity ownership and use in professional recordings, which only adds to its importance.

This guitar was highlighted in the February 2005 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine, which described its origins, use, and extreme rarity, "There's no doubt the White Penguin is one of the rarest Gretsch instruments. It is estimated that no more than a few dozen were made from the introduction of the model in 1955 through 1964, when it was discontinued, though exact production totals for early Gretsch guitars are not available." Only about a dozen original White Penguins are believed to have survived today.

The history of this guitar traces back to 1972, when Dan Fogelberg purchased it from a world-renowned guitar store in Nashville, TN. After Fogelberg's passing in 2007, his family consigned the guitar to the current owner through the same store, providing continuous ownership provenance.

The guitar was used by Fogelberg on solo work for the song "As the Raven Flies" from the album Souvenirs (1974), also featuring Joe Walsh, and was prominently featured in his first music video for his hit single "The Language of Love" (1983). This guitar features the Penguin's signature gold sparkle trim, Tune-O-Matic bridge, and FilterTron Project-O-Sonic stereo pickups. Fogelberg made a few changes to customize the piece for personal playability, adding gold Yamaha tuners and a Bigsby tailpiece; however, the original gold Imperial tuners and original Gretsch gold "Cadillac G" tailpiece remain with the piece. A brass nut has been added and the switch tips are replaced with Gibson style tips on the upper bout bass side switches. The rosewood bridge is screwed into the top and supports the Tune-o-matic bridge. Other than those changes, the guitar appears to be in original condition. Some screws on back panel have been replaced with chrome.

The guitar shows moderate checking and considerable finger wear on the back of the neck. There are small cracks in pickup surrounds at screw holes but nothing severe.

Also included with the guitar: an autographed photograph of Dan Fogelberg holding this guitar, an autographed photograph of Dan Fogelberg from the music video "The Language of Love", notes describing the guitar's wiring and confirming the guitar's use in recordings, and a copy of the February 2005 Vintage Guitar Magazine featuring the article written by George Gruhn and Donald Carter. Original hard case also included. Condition: Very Good.

NOTE: CITES compliance applies to this lot. International bidders may not have the lot shipped to them. Transport of such lots require special licenses for export, import or both. Bidders are responsible for any licenses and /or permits. Please refer to paragraph 36A. of our Terms & Conditions*.

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Needs a Duane Eddy handle.

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$95K? i think not. maybe if it had belonged to Neil Young.

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A lonely child, alone and wild....

And too rich for my blood.

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Await your arrival with simple survival...

... and when you die, your relatives will make out like banditos!

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It was @ Gruhn's for quite a while.

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I just thought it was a cool guitar. Sorry if I've offended anyone's sensibilities.

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I just thought it was a cool guitar. Sorry if I've offended anyone's sensibilities.

– Caliban335

Not at all. It is cool and (unbelievably) cheaper than a couple of White Penguins that are on sale from the usual suspects. It's fun to make fun of impossibly expensive guitars. And we've got good info that the original tailpiece isn't.

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Seller says:

"Only about a dozen original White Penguins are believed to have survived today..."

Clearly there's a minuscule number of these vintage Penguins out there, but in my opinion there has to be more than "a dozen". I have been documenting vintage Gretsch guitars for over a decade. In those years I've documented 12 of them, and I can't believe there are not more out there that have escaped my scrutiny.

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There was a Folgerberg Induction Benefit Show in Denver Summer 2017, Joe Walsh headlining. It played on PTV a couple months ago.

Made me look up Folgerberg, made me remember when I was studying that Penguin. He would have bought it from Gruhn when he was an unknown, and the guitar would have been ~15yo.

Fast forward 35 years, Folgerberg passes....now another decade gone by for the flip to occur.

He might have paid $200-300 for it?

I always thought the Folgerberg provenance asked by Gruhn @ $85,000 was crazy.

What is a realistic price if this just came out from under a bed somewhere?

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I just thought it was a cool guitar. Sorry if I've offended anyone's sensibilities.

– Caliban335

I think people like this thread and are not offended. If anybody wants to see an offending Penguin, maybe this one will qualify at $150,000 asking price.

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jesus h. frog, that's awful!

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Yes Abalone Vintage Guitars has been parading that one around for a few years... for the same price. Here is another shot of that guitar;

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Abalone had another cleaner penguin priced at $250,000 --

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I just thought it was a cool guitar. Sorry if I've offended anyone's sensibilities.

– Caliban335

Your post and this guitar is not offending me in any way.

I always enjoy your threads and posts. Crazy pricing on guitars doesn't offend me either. If someone thinks that a crazy priced vintage guitar is worth it to them, then it gets bought and is off the market.

When folks don't think of it as any value to them, then those guitars stick around on the market.

There's a lot of wealth out there. Some folks speculate and invest, while others are drawn to an instrument for a personal reason.

I can only imagine what Neil's Falcon will sell for at some point. I'm betting that it will be some real crazy money, and the buyer will have a huge grin with the score.

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I think people like this thread and are not offended. If anybody wants to see an offending Penguin, maybe this one will qualify at $150,000 asking price.

– Baba Joe

I dig that doubleneck big time

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"I can only imagine what Neil's Falcon will sell for at some point. "

probably a lot, but i don't think there's enough money in the world to pay for Old Black. as his primary guitar for basically his whole career after the Springfield, it's been on more great albums than probably any other single guitar in the history of rock.

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i didn't even notice the doubleneck because i was busy staring at the Penguin. that is one wacky artifact.

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"I can only imagine what Neil's Falcon will sell for at some point. "

probably a lot, but i don't think there's enough money in the world to pay for Old Black. as his primary guitar for basically his whole career after the Springfield, it's been on more great albums than probably any other single guitar in the history of rock.

– macphisto

Yep, that'll be over the top too.........and then there's his "Hank" Martin.

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I don’t believe the Folgelberg provenance adds anything to the “value” of this Penguin. Now if it were Neil’s... that would be different.

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Hi Ed I totally agree as always it seem to be getting rarer and rarer you see penguins for sale and prices are skyhigh ! What can you do LOL I would point out the Heritage auctions Tailpiece is not a genuine penguin tailpiece that needs pointing out to them ! Definitely devalues it slightly ..where would you find another original one to replace it ! Nice to be back


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