Guitar collection from Dire Straits frontman makes millions for charity

Dire Straits star Mark Knopfler has auctioned off more than 120 of his guitars and amps totalling more than £8 million.

The frontman of the British rock band offered a selection of his instruments spanning his 50-year career, with 25% of the total hammer price divided equally between charities The British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East.

Meanwhile the Teenage Cancer Trust will receive all of the £403,200 raised from Knopfler’s 2021 Gibson Les Paul “gold top” guitar – signed by 33 stars including the late Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood, Sir Brian May, Sting, Sir Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen.

Auction house Christie’s will also donate £50,000 to each of the four charities, it said.

“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,” Knopfler said.

“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.”

The London auction saw registered bidders and buyers from 61 countries, with a final total including buyer’s premium, confirmed at £8,840,160.

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.

Other auction world records were set by the 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1, which Knopfler played at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert at Wembley Stadium, selling for £504,000.

While the Red Schecter Telecaster, which Knopfler purchased in 1984 to record hit Dire Straits song Walk Of Life, went under the hammer for £415,800 setting another record for the model.

Amelia Walker, Christie’s specialist head of private and iconic collections in London, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the outstanding result of this auction, a testament to the phenomenal global appeal of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits.

“Christie’s London has been buzzing with music and excitement for the last two weeks, and the exhibition has drawn fans from around the world.

“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.”