Woman Tried to Sell Old Guitar to Help Daughter With Cancer Treatment, Turns Out It’s Worth Way More Than They Expected

An old unused guitar in an attic gathering dust never seems too attractive to most people, unless we’re talking about sentimental value. However, what happened to Margaret Simpson from Auckland, New Zealand wasn’t your usual story about an old guitar that’s been sitting in a home for decades.

As Stuff reports, Margaret was looking for ways to help her daughter Jo Simpson finance her cancer treatments. Jo, who is 51 years old, would end up having more time on this planet but she had to pay about $5000 NZ every month, which is about 2,900 USD. Aged 85, her mother Margaret took out this old guitar that she bought at a fairly reasonable price back in the 1960s and wanted to sell it for whatever amount she could.

1870 Martin 2-34 in New Zealand! For Sale with all proceeds towards cancer treatment for Jo Simpson

Fortunately for both of them, the guitar turned out to be an old Martin. And it’s not just any Martin, but one that was manufactured all the way back around 1870. After getting in touch with Garrick Wynne of Studio 1 Vintage Instruments, they found out that they’re in possession of a size 2 Martin, style 34. Essentially, the instrument’s dimensions and appearance are very similar to today’s Parlor-style guitars. Its potential price? Around NZ $25,000 which translates to about 15,000 USD.

Needless to say, both Jo and Margareth were shocked and thrilled by this discovery. Garrick Wynne also said he was surprised by this discovery. Margaret said:

“I must confess I never thought [a guitar with] a name like Martin would have anything special.”

What makes this instrument so interesting is its ebony bridge. These style 34 Martin guitars usually came with an ivory bridge, making this a pretty rare exception. New Zealand guitar player Nick Brightwell also weighed in on the issue, saying that he too was surprised by this valuable find, pointing out that it was “incredible” that this old instrument found its way across the Pacific Ocean. You can also find more info about this unique instrument here.

Officially known as C. F. Martin & Company, the old American brand is present on the market since 1833. For almost 190 years of its existence, Martin has been responsible for setting some of the modern acoustic guitar standards. In fact, the guitar looked much different back then compared to what we’re used to today. If you have a “Dreadnought”-style acoustic guitar, or something with X-bracing, or pretty much most of today’s standardized body shapes, you should thank C. F. Martin & Company for that.

Photos: Studio 1 Vintage Guitars, Flying Logos (Over $1,000,000 dollars in USD $100 bill stacks)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.