Vic posted this beauty of a guitar for sale on Craigslist, and included a number of striking photos and a reasonably detailed description, using that classic rambling Craigslist syntax:
TRADE :Vintage White custom P90 Les Paul Epi – $350
Beautiful Custom built LES PAUL Epi Gibson P90 bridge /Seymour Duncan neck pickup, pro setup, new stings, one of a kind, custom pickguard, Gibson challenger bolt on neck, Epi les Paul body, Gibson pots & wiring, Gibson hardware, mild relic…
**Light weight, this guitar sings and just feels right. Ser# 0001 Pro Built in USA One of a kind…
Must play and hear this custom axe to appreciate. See it hear it you will want it…amazing P90s tone. Trade for Telecaster , guitar amp, PA Equipment, or?
He was asking for other musical instruments or equipment to trade, none of which I had. But, on a whim, I wrote him and offered my movie theater seats, altogether worth maybe $300 as a group. He said no to the seats, but offered “Maybe something else? Antiques, stereo equipment, old firearms, old bikes[…]”
I sent him the ad for the Mercier Le Velo and he was immediately interested. After a few days of logistical planning, we met in Berkeley while he was in town on a job–convenient for me, because he lives more than an hour away, and in the throes of finding an apartment, figuring out an insurance claim for my motorcycle (more on that later), and trying to work my actual job, driving out to Brentwood was not a realistic or responsible thing I could do. I could, however, take a lunch break and meet him nearby in Berkeley.
I collected my friend Walker, singer and guitarist for the world famous Forgetmenauts, and we made our way. I don’t play guitar, and could very easily be swindled by any smooth-talking huckster selling a piece of junk. Not Walker. They know exactly what to look for, what a good guitar feels and sounds like, and various ways to stress test the instrument to see how it performs. They were deeply impressed with the construction, condition, and sound of this instrument, and strongly recommended the trade.
Vic, for his part, was super transparent, answered all of our questions, and had very few questions about the bicycle. I asked if there was anything he wanted to know. “I dunno… does it work and everything?” It does. “Great. I’m mostly just looking for a bike for my daughter.” Well, if she’s a little smaller than I am, this gorgeous, light, sturdy, pink bike should suit her just right.
Immediately upon returning from our small adventure, I returned to work, and Walker took the new guitar home. Within an hour they’d made a video so future prospective traders could see and hear the guitar in action. Such a fantastic idea. That’s going to make trading it so much easier, much faster, and likely to produce better quality offers. That’s good friendship, solidly executed.
1984 Mercier Le Velo line:
Original item value: $200
Number of trades to date: 1
Latest trade: 1984 Mercier Le Velo bicycle ($200) for Custom Epiphone/Gibson Les Paul guitar ($350)
Total line value dollar increase: $150
Total line value percent increase: 57%