Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Collection Auction Makes A Fortune

Vintage guitars are still very much in demand, and if you don’t believe it, just check out the recent Mark Knopfler guitar collection auction at Christies. Not only did 100% of the items sell, but they sold for way more than the baseline asking price. The total revenue from the auction was over $11 million dollars, and all of the money is going to the four charities that Mark has supported over the years.

Mark Knopfler guitar collection auction

Here are the top 5 lots: 

Lot 42: 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard sold for £693,000 ($879,000), setting a new world auction record for a 1959 Gibson Les Paul (estimate: £300,000-500,000). Mark used this guitar for performances on the Sailing To Philadelphia Tour in 2001 and the Kill To Get Crimson Tour in 2008, as well as several recordings. A true collector’s instrument, with a beautifully faded cherry-red sunburst finish.

Lot 10: 1983 Les Paul Standard ’59 Reissue sold for £592,200 ($751,000) -estimate: £10,000-15,000. It was used to record both the title track and ‘Money For Nothing’ on Dire Straits’ 1985 album Brothers In Arms, as well as performances on the subsequent tour, and most famously on stage at Live Aid in 1985 when Dire Straits performed ‘Money For Nothing’ with Sting on vocals.

Lot 17: 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1 sold for £504,000 ($639,000), setting a new world auction record for a Pensa-Suhr (estimate: £6,000-8,000). This guitar was completed in record time so it would be ready for Knopfler to play at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert on 11 June 1988 at Wembley Stadium. The guitar made its debut a week earlier when Knopfler played ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Layla’ with Eric Clapton’s All-Star Band at the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala on 6 June 1988. 

Lot 8: Red Schecter Telecaster sold for £415,800 ($527,500) setting a new world auction record for a Schecter (estimate: £4,000-6,000). Knopfler purchased the guitar in 1984 and used it to record the hit Dire Straits song ‘Walk Of Life’ and its accompanying music video. This vermillion red workhorse has become one of his most recognisable and long-serving instruments, with a live performance history spanning Dire Straits’ 1985-86 Brothers in Arms Tour through to Knopfler’s 2008 Kill To Get Crimson Tour, with notable appearances at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert in 1988 and on the 1996 live concert DVD A Night In London.

Lot 123: Gibson Les Paul ‘Gold Top’ sold for £403,200 ($511,500) -estimate: £20,000-40,000. This guitar betokens a highly anticipated collaboration project featuring some of the world’s most iconic musicians, spearheaded by Mark Knopfler, to be announced in February. The autographs on this guitar include Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Slash, Ronnie Wood, Brian May, Sting, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, The Edge, Joan Jett, and Nile Rodgers, as well as many other world-famous artists. 100% of the funds raised through the sale of this guitar will be donated to Teenage Cancer Trust, of which Mark Knopfler is a proud patron.

It’s hard for the average musician, or even most celebrity musicians, to grasp these prices, but if someone is willing to pay this much, more power to them – especially when it goes for a good cause.

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