1950s and 1960s Stratocaster Values
Posted on May 19 2022
Finding the value of a vintage Stratocaster requires a skilled collector's eye, years of experience tracking guitar values, and often an in-person inspection. Fender continually updated the manufacturing style of the Stratocaster model each year since it was introduced in 1954. Production numbers grew year over year, which is why there is a higher supply of guitars from the 1960s when compared with the 1950s. Not only that, but even the color of the Stratocaster can heavily influence how much it's worth. Exact year and color identification from a Fender guitar expert is crucial.
1950s and 1960s Fender Stratocasters can be worth between $10,000 and $200,000 depending on the year, color, condition, and features. Call 205-913-1084 to speak with a vintage guitar expert.
I would be happy to assist you in finding the value of your vintage Stratocaster: Guitar Appraisal. You can click the red Contact Me button or find my contact information below to send pictures of your guitar. I've been a Fender guitar collector my entire life and a professional dealer for over a decade. I would be happy to help with thorough identification and a discussion of the value of your vintage Fender. You can contact me here if you're considering selling: Sell a Fender. You an also check out How to date a Stratocaster.
Helpful Resources: Here are some helpful books and website you may wish to consult to find the value of a Stratocaster
FAQs: Here are some frequently asked questions about the value of a vintage Stratocaster
Pricing a Fender Stratocaster from the 1950s and 1960s is not as difficult as it was in the past before access to good information and precedent. Before I try to determine the value of a Fender Stratocaster, I'm very careful to identify exactly what year it was made, exactly what color, and exactly what's original and what's not. Fender guitar values vary wildly based on their age, color, configuration (vibrato of fixed bridge?), and originality. If you've inherited a Fender Stratocaster and aren't a guitar expert, you can get professional help with this part of the process here: Guitar Appraisal. I may also be interested in buying your Fender Stratocaster to collect for myself if it meets certain criteria.
Helpful Resources to determine Stratocaster values
Vintage guitar collectors use a few helpful resources to determine a fair price for vintage Fender guitars. One of those is the Vintage Guitar Price Guide for the current year. VG puts out a new version every year to help track pricing for virtually all vintage guitar makes, models, and time periods. Each listing gives a high and low estimate at retail for guitars in excellent condition. It does a nice job of separating value estimates for standard colors compared to common colors and even gives a ball park listing for rare colors in some cases.
You can also looking for pricing help on the sold listings from Reverb.com. Type in the make, model, year, and color of the guitar whose value you are researching and look at the price guide listings for the one which matches your Fender. A word of caution on selling value Fender guitars on Reverb: sales over $10,000 are not eligible for shipping insurance. This is where a dealer's selling infrastructure can be a significant benefit to a private seller. I can pay a fair price for the guitar with no fees and provide the professional packing, shipping, and insurance. Remember that the sold prices give are not the payout that the seller received. You can expect between 10% and 13% in selling fees to be subtracted from the payout.
You can also contact me here for a fair valuation of your Stratocaster: Guitar Appraisal.
FAQs about Stratocaster ValuesQ: Can you check the value by serial number?
A: This approach fails to consider how the color, bridge style, condition, and originality affect the value of a Stratocaster. Fender Serial Numbers can be helpful in dating the guitar, but values for Stratocasters depend on so much more than simply the year it was made. Guitar collectors also factor in the color, condition, originality, and bridge style. You can contact me for a professional opinion of value for Stratocasters made between 1954 and 1967.
Q: How much does a refinish affect the value of my vintage Stratocaster?
A: A refinished vintage Stratocaster is usually assumed to be worth about half of a comparable example with original finish. The quality of the refinish and color can also effect how much a player or collector is willing to pay for it.
Q: Should I restore my vintage Stratocaster before selling it?
A: No. Fender guitar collectors have their own way of fixing problems and bringing the guitar back to the state that the manufacturer intended it. You will not likely achieve a higher price but replacing more parts.
Q: Should I sell my vintage Stratocaster on Reverb or eBay?
A: Insuring guitars for shipment becomes very difficult for private sellers for sales over $10,000. Reverb's fine print states that sales over $10,000 are not eligible for any amount of insurance. No carrier offers insurance for musical instruments older than 1980 for more than $5,000 (check the fine print!).
I offer fair prices paid for 50s and 60s Stratocasters with no shipping liability: Sell a Fender.
From Reverb's Safe Shipping information page:
"Neither Safe Shipping nor Reverb Shipping Labels are available for items with a sale price of $10,000 or more."
"For international shipments, Safe Shipping is unavailable for orders exceeding $2,500."
From FedEx's Terms of Service:
"Shipments (packages or freight) containing all or part of the following items are limited to a maximum declared value of US$1,000: ...
...12. Guitars and other musical instruments that are more than 20 years old, and customized or personalized musical instruments."
From UPS's terms of service:
"When a Shipper declares a value in excess of $100, it does not receive any form of insurance. Shippers desiring cargo insurance, all risk insurance, or another form of insurance should purchase such insurance from a third party."
Stratocaster timeline from 1953 until 1967
1953: Leo Fender continually collected feedback from great musicians about how to improve his popular Telecaster model. The feedback he received included the need for a contoured body to help fit the chest better and a smooth operating tremolo which returned to correct pitch. Surviving notes from the time indicate that early prototypes were made with a tremolo style which didn't perform to Leo's approval and were scrapped. None have surfaced.
1954: The first 200 Stratocasters left the factory in the Spring of 1954. Their serial numbers began with "0100" and were stamped into the plastic tremolo cover plate (I am looking for one like this: Sell a Fender). The early style short skirt knobs and rounded pickup covers were used until the transition to the modern style around August of '54. The brown and red form fit case was used until the transition to the rectangular center pocket tweed case around September and October of that year.