It was the early '90s and at Lark Street in Albany, NY. I was still a student at Syracuse University.
I did a double take when I saw it hanging on the wall. I asked Buzzy "Is that what I think it is?"
He replied "It is."
"May I play it?"
Buzzy looked me up and down, paused and said "If you drop it, you owe me forty-thousand dollars." Then with one hand gripping the 'butt' of the guitar, he handed it to me over the counter.
I plugged it into a '59 Bassman and quickly decided that it was the best sounding and easiest to play electric guitar I'd ever experienced. It was a 1958 'Burst with small frets and no serial number. According to Buzzy it came from the factory without a serial number. The color was largely there and the flame was light, tight and evenly distributed over the top. It was not a flame monster, nor would it even be described as overtly flamey. I definitely wasn't a plain top nor even 'peek-a-boo'. It was in very good condition but needed a re-fret. I can't remember if the tuners were original or not but if I had to guess, I'd say they were.
I returned the guitar to Buzzy and thanked him for the enlightenment. He grinned.
I was a semi-regular (and harmless) tire kicker at Lark Street. Buzzy knew that I was a vintage guitar nerd and that I genuinely appreciated his instruments. I still appreciate his generosity in allowing me to play pretty much whatever I wanted although I never purchased anything. It was extremely educational.
I remember that guitar! He quoted me 40K, too, and talked about the lack of the serial #, and how it was some kind of employee/"Saturday" guitar. Even then, that sounded like some bullshido to me...