Marc's stolen Les Paul recently identified?

From the MyLesPaul forum

From the MyLesPaul forum

While this is not a story specifically relating to the project itself, it is none-the-less a story of huge interest to fans or anyone who has a passing interest in guitar history.

Marc's favourite, and most widely used, guitar was a late 50's Gibson Les Paul Standard which Marc acquired in 1970. During the time Marc owned the guitar it went through a few modifications - including being re-finished in a transluscent orange colour similar to his hero Eddie Cochran's Gretsch guitar, and having three neck replacements/repairs when the original neck was broken in 1971. The guitar was eventually stolen in late 1976 or early 1977 from outside a rehearsal studio. Over the years there have been vague rumours of it's whereabouts but nothing concrete - until now.

Recently the son of the current owner of the guitar (who acquired it in the mid 90's) posted some photos on the MyLesPaul forum to help identify the authenticity of the guitar as either an original 1958 or 1959 Les Paul Standard - a guitar that is considered to be the 'holy grail' in guitarist and guitar collector circles. As the thread unfolded it became clear that the guitar was in-fact more than likely Marc's stolen Les Paul. Sadly the guitar has been modified a lot since it left Marc's possession, including at least two re-finishes (black and then sunburst), a further neck replacement and the bridge pick-up changed. But when comparing the wood grain on the present guitar body with the grain on Marc's Les Paul body there are many striking matches. Wood grain, or figure is like a fingerprint and no two pieces of wood are exactly the same. There are enough matches in figure between the two guitars to say that it is 99.99% certain it is the same guitar body - even though the rest of the guitar is clearly not as it was when Marc owned it.

The entire thread on the MyLesPaul forum can be viewed here. The discussion as to whether it is Marc's guitar or not starts on page 2 post #49.

Here are a few pictures:

The guitar as it is now with the scratch plate removed, pick-up covers added and the sunburst re-finish which has now almost completely faded.

The guitar as it is now with the scratch plate removed, pick-up covers added and the sunburst re-finish which has now almost completely faded.

The guitar as it was after being re-finished sunburst, with the bridge pick-up changed and a new neck fitted probably sometime in the 80's or early 90's.

The guitar as it was after being re-finished sunburst, with the bridge pick-up changed and a new neck fitted probably sometime in the 80's or early 90's.

A side by side comparison between Marc's Les Paul and the guitar in question, with some of the grain/figure, and marks where a bigsby tremelo was once fitted (prior to Marc owning the guitar) highlighted.

There are many further photographic comparisons on the thread on the MyLesPaul site which make a compelling case for the guitar being what remains of Marc's stolen Les Paul.