Gibson sells out 'Government Series' guitars in minutes

Feb. 15, 2014 at 3:33 PM

NASHVILLE, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. guitar manufacturer Gibson said its last 1,000 "Government Series" guitars -- made with reclaimed wood from the federal government -- sold out quickly.

Demand for the rare guitars came after the federal government raided the Nashville company's warehouse in 2011, seizing ebony and rosewood that regulators suspected was imported illegally from India in violation of the Lacey Act, which governs U.S. imports of plants and wildlife.

The issue became contentious for conservative media commentators and libertarians who saw the raid as government overreach.

Eventually, the company settled the matter for $350,000 and the government returned much of the wood.

Gibson released 750 limited edition Les Paul, Explorer, SG and Flying V six-string guitars late last year, with fingerboards made from wood federal agents had seized. They start at $1,099.

Gibson Chief Executive Officer Henry Juszkiewicz said the company continued to get calls about the Government Series so it released another 1,000 guitars that sold out "in minutes," the Los Angeles Times said.

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