March 11, 2009 / 6:57 PM / 10 years ago

Rare Roy Rogers guitar heading for auction block

A Martin OM-45 Deluxe guitar owned by Roy Rogers is seen here in this undated handout photo illustration released to Reuters March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Christie's/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rare guitar owned by singing cowboy and actor Roy Rogers is hitting the auction block next month, the first of its kind ever to be offered at auction, Christie’s said on Wednesday.

The C.F. Martin OM-45 Deluxe guitar is one of only 15 made by the Nazareth, Pennsylvania, company founded by a German immigrant in the 1830s.

Only 14 were believed to have been manufactured in 1930 but recent research brought to light a 15th, owned by Rogers since 1933 and the very first one produced.

The auction house expects the OM (Orchestra Model) guitar, last played by Rogers and in its original, unrestored state, to sell for $150,000 to $250,000 when it is offered along with three more of Rogers’s guitars on April 3.

The guitars are being sold by The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri.

“Back in 1933 performing cowboys started going for the hand-tooled boots and handmade shirts, and Roy went out and purchased the flashiest guitar he could find,” said Kerry Keane, Christie’s musical instruments department head and specialist for the sale.

“That was this guitar,” which still bears the green sash cord Rogers attached and a gold star sticker from a flour promotion campaign Rogers did in the mid-1930s. “It has all the sparkle and twang a Hollywood cowboy could ever want.”

Rogers, who died in 1998, was a two-time inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame and starred in over 100 films plus a popular television show.

Other highlights of the sale include a Gennaro Gagliano violoncello circa 1765, which is expected to fetch $200,000 to $300,000, and a Gibson Inc. Les Paul solid body electric guitar estimated at $150,000 to $250,000.

Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Daniel Trotta

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