- Date: April 3, 2009
- Location: Christies, New York City
- Price Realized: $460,000
An anonymous bidder has acquired the "King of Cowboys" Roy Rogers' infamous OM-45 Deluxe Martin Guitar, serial #42125, one of the rarest and considered among many collectors the most coveted. $460,000 was the winning bid during an auction held at Christie's in New York. The guitar was put up for auction by The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri.
Originally purchased, used, for $30 at a California pawn shop in 1933 by a young and unknown musician by the name of Leonard Slye, this guitar was the very first OM-45 Deluxe model guitar Martin produced in 1930 (#1 of 15 total). It is the prototype for one of Martin's rarest, most beautiful and highly coveted models. Slye, years later, would go on to become cowboy legend Roy Rogers, never knowing the historical significance of the guitar. Over time, the Martin OM-45 Deluxe would become synonymous with the Rogers stage and film persona.
The guitar sold for $225 in 1930 and was the most expensive guitar model made by Martin's. The provenance from the time period of 1930 and the pawn shop purchase is unknown. But accordimg to Martin's records the timeline and records books prove that this particular guitar was the first OM-45 Deluxe model made, add the fact that is was Roy Rogers guitar (who was no aware of his pawn shop bargain's history) and you have the perfect storm of an auction. The guitar was retired by Roy Rogers in the 1940s and put in the Roy Rogers Museum in 1967. A replica signature edition was produced by Martin in 2006.
About Martin Guitar:
The company was founded in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin and has been continuously family owned and operated for six generations. It is the oldest surviving acoustic instrument maker in the world and largest producer of acoustic guitars in the US. Martin guitars are handmade by craftsmen, many still using the design and techniques introduced by C.F. Martin in the 1830s. Current Chairman and CEO is Christian Frederick Martin IV, who took the helm in 1986.