Gibson 1936 L-5, Owned by James Cagney

This seller is open to offers
Shipped From
Rudy's Music
New York, NY, United States
Joined Reverb
Preferred Seller

Find More on Reverb

Sell Yours NowWhat is this?Anyone can sell on Reverb. List your item today to get it in front of thousands of eyes, quickly and easily.
Reverb Protection

Buy with Confidence – Reverb Protection has you covered

  • Live support from an expert team of musicians
  • Simple and straightforward returns
  • A safe community for finding the gear you want

About This Listing

A true piece of American History. This L-5 was made in 1936 and was owned by legendary American Actor, James Cagney. This guitar is in fantastic shape and has been refretted, fitted with a replacement nut and pickguard, and given a factory overspray and is otherwise all original. This guitar was auctioned off alongside property from the estate of James Cagney through the William Doyle Gallery in New York City in 1992 and comes with the original auction book as well.  

This guitar comes with a bit of memorabilia including a flipbook of photos featuring James Cagney with the guitar alongside Ronald Reagan and other cinema industry professionals of the era. There are also personal letters from Ronald Reagan to James Cagney when Reagan was the Governor of California and the President of the United States.

There are also twelve handwritten charts filled with chord diagrams made by James Cagney, and a miscellaneous collection of vintage guitar strings as well.

Included with the guitar, is a copy of Vintage Guitar Magazine from April, 2017 where the guitar is profiled as a prime example of a 1936 Gibson L-5.

This guitar is more than a collector's piece, this is a beautifully crafted, perfect playing instrument, that is filled with the history and charm of an American legend. This guitar truly deserves to be appreciated, and we are proud to help find this guitar a worthy home.

Since reverb only allows 25 photos to be posted with a listing, we have made this google drive folder containing photos of all of the memorabilia included with this guitar:

Make: Gibson

Year: 1935/36

Model: L-5

Serial #: 93904, Factory Order # 1019 B

Body Finish: Sunburst

Body Wood: Spruce Top, Quilted Maple Back/Sides

Body Binding: Original

Neck Wood: Flame/Quilt Maple, Walnut Center Stripe

Neck Binding: Original

Neck Finish: Sunburst

Neck Back Shape: Very Soft V/C

Fingerboard Wood: Ebony

Frets: Refretted

Nut: Replaced

Nut Width: 1 5/8”

Tuners: Original

Pickguard: Replaced

Hardware Color: Gold

Bridge: Original, Base of the bridge has been carved away in the center

Case: Original Hardshell

Other: Finish has been oversprayed

1935 Specs: 17" body width, engraved tailpiece, unbound F-holes

1936 Specs: Serial/Factory Order #, 25 1/2" Scale Length

On Average 1935 L-5's had X Bracing. This one has parallel bracing

Product Specs

Listed3 months ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
Made In
  • United States
Right / Left Handed
Number of Strings
Neck Material
Sides Material
Finish Style
Top Material
Back Material
Fretboard Material

Reviews of this Shop

98% positive

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

iOS app store button
Android play store button
Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.