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One of a Kind Painted Gibson Les Paul Guitar Goes to Auction Block to Benefit Children with Cancer

An exquisitely painted Gibson Les Paul guitar brought in $105,000 at the Mecum Auctions on May 17, benefiting Curing Kids Cancer.

Guitar Mecum Auction
Gibson Les Paul Guitar

Gibson, of Nashville, donated the instrument. Car Art Painter Dave Snyder, whose paintings have been sold for Curing Kids Cancer in the past, off-handedly suggested to the Gibson plant manager, “Give me a Les Paul. I’ll do a painting on the guitar and we’ll get $20,000 for Curing Kids Cancer.” The manager followed up and offered the donation.

Snyder picked up the guitar at the Gibson plant last October. “The guitar I received was unfinished without any electronics or tuners,” he said. “The painting took me about 100 hours. After choosing the cars, they were hand drawn on the guitar before starting the painting.”

The painted guitar then went back to Gibson to be finished. “They originally were just going to put a satin finish over the entire instrument,” Snyder said. “But when they saw the finished piece, they wanted to do something very special.” Gibson finished the back and neck in a one-of-a-kind candy red translucent finish. The tuning and volume knobs are clear ones that no other Les Paul has. “These little details mean everything to a guitar collector,” Snyder pointed out.

John Kraman, Mecum Auctions Consignment Director and NBCSN Commentator/Analyst, played the guitar before it was auctioned. As a musician and guitar aficionado, Kraman appreciates the work of art this Les Paul is. “The Gibson Les Paul electric guitar is one of the most popular, sought after instruments for virtually all types of music since the 1950s,” Kraman said. “The playability and tone are unsurpassed — a centerpiece of any guitar collection.” Kraman says the stunning Mecum Auction and Curing Kids Cancer artwork adds a distinctive touch that will impress all who see it.

"We just couldn't believe that price kept going up and up and up," said Curing Kids Cancer Founder Grainne Owen. "A donation of this magnitude is going to help so many kids!"

Curing Kids Cancer is the Mecum Auction Company’s official charity of choice. Mecum is one of Curing Kids Cancer’s most active sponsors, helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars by auctioning motorcycles, cars and tractors for Curing Kids Cancer, as well as donating their trademark “Mecum Sold” neon signs in return for donations to the charity.

Mecum Auctions has specialized in the sale of collector cars for more than a quarter-century, offering more than 15,000 vehicles annually, and averaging more than one auction each month. Established by President Dana Mecum in 1988, Mecum Auctions remains a family-run company headquartered in Walworth, Wis. For further information, visit or call (262) 275-5050.

Curing Kids Cancer works to make childhood cancer curable in our lifetime. Since it was founded, the nonprofit has raised more than $6 million for pediatric cancer research. It targets innovative treatments with fewer harmful side effects. Curing Kids Cancer raises money through partnerships with sports teams at local and national levels, community involvement, corporate sponsorships and support from national sports figures including Lee Corso and Craig Kimbrel, and the powerhouse Mecum Auction Company.