Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler sells personal guitar collection, breaks records

The final hammer has gone down on the auction of guitars from the personal collection of music legend Mark Knopfler, the celebrated singer-songwriter, guitar hero and frontman of the iconic British band Dire Straits. The sale was 100% sold, realising a total of €10,342,987. 

The sale was led by Knopfler’s 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard which sold for £693,000, setting a new world auction record for the model. Further new world auction records were set, including for a Pensa-Suhr, which sold for sold for £504,000. The guitar was completed in record time so it would be ready for Knopfler to play at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert on 11th 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 6th June 1988.

Another record was broken with the sale of a  Red Schecter Telecaster  setting a new world auction record for a Schecter. 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 Schecter. This legendary guitar sold for £415,800.

Music aficionados, fans and collectors from 61 countries registered to bid, with high levels of competition across the 122 lots offered, resulting in the auction lasting over six hours.

25% of the total hammer price will be divided equally and donated to charities that Mark Knopfler has supported for many years: The British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East. 100% of the funds raised from the final lot are being donated to Teenage Cancer Trust. In addition, Christie’s is contributing a further £50,000 to each of the four charities.

“This auction has been an incredible journey and I am so pleased that these much loved instruments will find new players and new songs as well as raising money for charities that mean a lot to me,” said Mark Knopfler. “It has been heart-warming to witness how much these guitars mean to so many people and I am also pleased that they will continue to give joy to many through the songs recorded over the years with me. To you fellow players, enthusiasts and collectors, I wish you all good things.”

According to Amelia Walker, Christie’s Specialist Head of Private and Iconic Collections, London, “The auction saw an unprecedented number of bidders register to take part. We feel privileged to have been entrusted by Mark to find new owners for his old ‘friends’, some of which appear on his upcoming new album One Deep River to be released in April, and to have helped raise money for his chosen charities.”

Another standout in the auction is the Gibson Les Paul ‘Gold Top’ which sold for £403,200. The 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.

For the full set of the results, click here.

Join the Monaco Life community – sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on Threads,Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Tik Tok.  

Photo source: Christies