eBay Prize: 1950’s Silvertone 1369L Thin-Twin “Jimmy Reed” Model

AS A KID, I WOULD GO TO SEARS and drool over the Silvertone guitars that were on display near the lawn mower section of the store. The specimen here is often referred to as the “Jimmy Reed Model” because of the many times he was pictured with it. Thin-Twins are known to collectors for their two thin pickups, coat of arms on the pickguard, and white engraved headstock. It has a curly maple body, mahogany sides, and a fast, 19- fret set neck. I had seen these years ago at guitar shows, but I was always put off by their high prices. Then eBay came along and my world has never been the same.

During the early, “anything goes” days of the ’Bay, I ran across this Silvertone and bookmarked it, watching the progress every day. There were several “zero feedback” bidders who would go back and forth daily, bidding the price upwards until it was more than any sane person would pay, and I kind of wrote the auction off. When the auction ended, the selling price was $736, way over what the guitar was worth. Also, the winner was one of the zero feedback bidders. Before deleting the auction, I emailed the seller and told him that if the high bidder didn’t come through, I might be interested, but at a more reasonable price.

I didn’t think anything more about it until the seller emailed me back several weeks later stating the winning bidder had indeed flaked, and asking if I would like to make an offer. I emailed him that the best I could do was $325, plus $25 shipping. He promptly wrote me back and accepted my offer. He had good feedback and gave me a phone number. We chatted briefly and I felt he was an honest guy, so I wrote him a check (this was before the days of PayPal) and a week later, I had the guitar.

EBay tip #228: Never get into a bidding war with zero feedbackers. You’ll only bid up the price and get frustrated in the end because, quite often, they’re just kids with no intention of actually paying anyone. But that’s where opportunity can arise to the enterprising eBayer who doggedly pursues a deal.

So how do I like the guitar? Oh man, she’s sweet! The thin pickups have their own unique tone, and it’s really fun to play. It’s equally at home on jazz, blues, country, or rockabilly. I can see why Jimmy Reed liked these. It’s a keeper for sure.