The Story of the Mona Lisa of Electric Guitars

The Black Beauty is Known as the Most Famous and Rarest Electric Guitar, but Do You Know Its Story?

The Black Beauty was created in the year 1954 as a prototype. The famous country, American jazz and blues guitarist Les Paul played it, the Mona Lisa of guitars, for more than two decades at his recordings, concerts and at the Les Paul and Mary Ford TV show.

Just recently, this famed guitar was bought at an auction, and it was purchased by Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, for $335, 500.

In this video, Tom Doyle tells you the story of the Black Beauty.

Show More

Related Articles


  1. The Black Beauty and Les Paul are synonomous with great guitars but the 58, 59 and 60 Standard Bursts are Legendary. I would have to say the Bursts are the most famous and by far the most valuable. Take the one that Eric Clapton had stolen and has never been recovered. That one would probably top the $1,000,000 mark.

  2. I had an original in 1968 that I purchased at age 16 teen and it was used, but in flawless condition. I loved it and cherished it until about 1978 when I had to build a house, and I sold it due to needing the money. I have zero clue as to what year it was, and yet, it had to have been 5 to 8 years old, at the time I purchased it. I paid $750 dollars for it, and sold it for $1200. It was cherry sunbrust and the most stunning guitar I’ve owned to date, and yet I never actually knew at the time frame and don’t even know as of this writing, “if” it would have been valuable or not? I played briefly for 3 years in high school bands, some small venues, and clubs in those days one could play underage, like “Eagles Club and Moose Clubs” and yet we weren’t supposed to drink, and yet we slipped and did so. I’ve regretted all my life in selling that particular guitar. I’ve had over 25 new guitars of various makes and models and presently have 7, two are Gibson’s, one the 2015 Classic with auto tune, and the other is a 2013 Premium Les Paul. I also have Fender Strat. ; Two Takamine’s, and Blue Ridge, LTD, and Taylor. I’ve spend over $50,000 dollars on different types, kinds, chords, mics, stands, keyboards, you name it, all the pedals, foorboards, and such, and I can’t play any better today than I did when I was 18 teen. I’ve love music all my life and wish I’d of went and been “taught” correctly? The Gibson I let go, later that man told me he sold it, and I could never trace it? Still wishing, hoping, someday? JMO.

  3. I;m a longtime collector of Gibson and Martin Acoustics. A few years ago I happened upon a 53 in the original case – no serial number, bridge roller had been replaced but the original was in the case – while at a family run estate sale. I.

  4. was only the second person to show up that morning and when I asked what they were asking they said make an offer. Woman says its old and dirty and I just want it gone – give me a hundred dollars.. I gave her a hundred and fifty – all the cash I had – and told her that I would return 30% of whatever I might get for it in the future. I paid for to have an old minor neck repair redone, a set of period strings and a detailing. Took a year to find a buyer – as promised, the lady got $2400 after I deducted my expenses. She was stunned to say the least… This was about 8 years ago.
    Very same guitar is currently for sale for $12,000 .

  5. I’ve been interested in tracing the history of my formerly owned Black Beaty. This guitar was sold in’75. My name was “Dick Willner” was dremeled on the back near the neck. I would be interested in buying it back for any price for sentimental reasons. It was a gift from my now deceased Dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button