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On Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 2:45pm, my wife of 34 years, Rebecca, died in my arms in an emergency room.

The last words we spoke were in perfect synchronization: "I love you with all my heart."

 

The A100 Sale

In July, 2000, I met a guitar player, who also played Hammond organ (very well, I might add), at a nearby blues festival, where I was playing. 

I can't remember the guitar player's name, but I'm fairly sure he was pretty well known in the world of country music.  He was a very good guitar player, and he was a really nice guy, too.  I let him play my Hammond (before the blues festival started, and after it was over), and he seemed very impressed with it. 

We removed the back panel so he could see the kind of work that was typical of our ProKeys shop.  Rebecca and I did very neat, very organized work.

At that time, we had so many Hammond organs and Leslies that we needed an extra room to store them.  Logically, the next step was to sell some of them, and free up some space, since they were dominating the dog training room.  And I needed the dog training room seven (7) days a week - to work.  Training was my main job - playing music and rebuilding Hammonds was secondary to dog training.

The guitar player helped us load the Hammond and Leslies in our trailer after the blues festival, and followed us over to our workshop, to discuss buying one of our Hammonds.     

I'd made it clear that I was keeping all our B3s, but I was willing to sell any of our A100s.  The guitar player was more than willing to buy an A100.  All our Hammonds had been completely rebuilt by Rebecca and me.  He played several of them, and really liked one in particular.   

Then we started talking about price.  I won't discuss exact amounts, but he was about $1,000.00 below our price for the A100.  He had quite a bit of cash with him, and I think we all wanted him to own the Hammond. (One thing we did not want to do was let him leave here without traveling money.  We did not want to take his last $75.00 or $100.00 - he had a long drive ahead of him, and we weren't greedy enough to empty his pockets.) 

Rebecca and I had a few "private conferences" about this. ("Excuse us, we're going out on the porch for just a minute.")  We understood the word "compromise".  

His enthusiasm for that Hammond really affected Rebecca, and me, too. 

As we continued talking, he asked me if I would consider taking the cash he had, and also accept an old Fender Stratocaster, in the original tweed case.  He went out to his van and brought the guitar in.  Man - that guitar had been played!  But it seemed (and it was) all original, and I could tell that none of the screws had even been removed.  I inspected it very carefully - especially the screw heads - to see if they'd been scratched by a tool.  

I really don't know guitar values, but I knew I was looking at a valuable vintage guitar.  And, I figured that no matter how this sale ended, I wouldn't get burned too badly. 

We did the sale, and loaded his new A100 in his van.  We told him to pick out a bench and a set of pedals, and he was pretty surprised that we didn't charge extra for them.  We made sure he had $100.00 cash before he left.  

Rebecca was glad that we sold one of the Hammonds, but she wasn't particularly happy about the money aspect.

 

I kept the Stratocaster for a few months, and had some local guitar players look it over to give me an idea of its value.

Well, I was in for the shock of my life.  Click these pictures - (the last picture shows the date stamp on the neck):

 

I hope you're sitting down and strapped in. 

I put it on eBay (for a ten (10) day auction with a $9,000.00 minimum), and received so much email, I was typing for six (6) hours a day. 

When it hit $8,000.00 - on the third day! - I took it off eBay.  I literally couldn't keep up with the emails and phone calls.

I had found a serious buyer who was really determined to own this guitar.

He sent the certified bank check instantly, by overnight FedEx, and the next morning I packed the guitar like it was made of rare, 15th century china. 

The shipping carton was almost five (5) feet tall, and it was packed super well with the foam "popcorn" packing material.

FedEx was out here to pick it up in less than 60 minutes.  I insured it (actually he insured it) for $15,000.00.

And, he spent $290.00 extra for overnight delivery - plus the FedEx charges.  All the FedEx charges were C.O.D. 

He had his guitar in his hands by 11:00am the next day. (he told me he'd been standing outside waiting for the delivery since about 7:00am)

Again, I won't discuss the exact amount, but he paid FAR more than $9,000.00 for this guitar. 

It was less than $10,000.00, but it was very, very close.  You can imagine whatever you want.

 

I felt like I won the lottery!  It happened once, but I'm sure it'll never happen again.

I really wish I knew how to contact that A100 buyer, because I owe him another Hammond.

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