An 81-year-old guitar collector returned to his east Brisbane home to find about half of his signed guitar collection stolen from his shed.

The “low mongrels” who stole more than a dozen guitars bearing the signatures of music legends such as Jimmy Barnes and Chubby Checker left the most valuable instruments hanging on the wall of a Brisbane shed, their owner says.

Leonard “Merv” French, 81, returned to his Manly West property this week to find about half his precious collection missing.

The stolen instruments included guitars signed by the Eagles, Paul Stanley of KISS, Ted Nugent, John Mellencamp and Normie Rowe.

But Mr French said the culprits weren’t interested in the most valuable instruments, guitars signed by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and his favourite musician, Slim Dusty.

“To a collector, I wouldn’t sell it under $6000,” he said.

Mr French appealed on Thursday for the safe return of the guitars.

“I’m not allowed to swear,” he said.

“But I thought, ‘there are some low mongrels in this world’.”

Mr French, a country music enthusiast, bought the guitars from a friend two years ago.

“I thought, well, maybe I’ll put some money into an investment that will pay off in the next 10 or 15 years,” he said.

“If I don’t benefit from it, my children will.”

Mr French estimated the collection of stolen guitars would be worth $30,000.

“The only hope they’d have of selling them is to rub all the signatures off them,” he said.

“Because without the signatures, they’re nothing much really, they’re just another guitar.”

Constable Tom Buckman said police were monitoring auction sites such as eBay and Gumtree.

They had also put out notifications to pawn shops and music enthusiasts.

“Police are following a number of avenues, using CCTV in the area and making a number of inquiries in the neighbourhood,” he said.

Police believe the shed was broken into on the weekend of August 23 and 24.

Meanwhile, Mr French was on Thursday preparing for his weekly practice in his double garage with other amateur musicians.

He said the theft had left him “down in the dumps” but wouldn’t dampen his love of music.

“That’s life, I suppose,” he said.

“I’ve had to accept other harder propositions in my life.”