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Vintage guitars sell well Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Jan 15 2011 12:00 PM

Monte Blair and Evy Roberts got engaged last July. As full- time students, neither of them have much extra money. So when they saw an advertisement that read guitar buyers were coming to town and looking for vintage instruments, a light bulb went off.

The International Vintage Guitar Collectors Association stopped in Chula Vista this week at the Swiss Park & Club on Main Street. The organization travels across the U.S. giving people an opportunity to sell vintage guitars to collectors looking for rare instruments.

Blair, 27, dusted off his 1955 blonde Fender Telecaster and brought it to the event to find its true value. "The guitar has been in the family for years," he said. "My aunt bought it in the '50s and handed it down."

Noah Wenger, 29, is the show manager for the organization.

"People have a lot of instruments in their closets that never see sunlight," he said. "We want to put them in the hands of people who will enjoy them,"

Since Blair and Roberts will marry in May, Blair decided it's time to let it go. "The money will go toward the wedding and a down payment on a house," he said.

Blair said he hoped to sell his guitar for $19,000 after finding out the same one was purchased for that amount in another city. "I didn't realize it was so valuable," he said. After four or five negotiations, the couple settled on $17,500. "Having this money will make things a lot easier," he said.

During the selling process, a buyer sits down with a client to assess the item's make, model and condition, then relays that information to a collector. Once an offer to buy is made, the client can choose whether they want to sell it. For items bought, the client is paid on the spot.

Wenger said there is no spending limit and that on average they receive three offers from collectors. "We go with the largest bid to try and get the customer the most money we can. It's key that both parties are happy," he said. "If it plays, we'll buy it."

Wenger said a guitar's worth is a matter of its craftsmanship. "The '60s were good years for Fenders when they weren't mass produced," he said.

Hector Corella, 62, is retired and lives in Jamul. He brought his 1963 Fender Stratocaster to the event to see how much it was worth. "I've had it since I was 15," Corella said.

Corella played in a band called the Twilights in the '60s and bought his guitar for around $600, including an amp, about 45 years ago.

"Playing music was the good times for me," Corella said. "I was having second thoughts about selling it. It has a lot of sentimental value."

Corella was paid $15,000 for the guitar. "I don't know what I'm going to do with the money," he said. "But I'm happy."


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