The Mark Knopfler Guitar Collection achieved remarkable success, fetching a total of £8,840,160 / US$11,227,003 / €10,342,987 at a live auction held in London. This outstanding result stands as a testament to the enduring global appeal of Mark Knopfler and his legendary band, Dire Straits.
The exhibition, hosted at Christie’s London, offered fans an immersive experience enhanced by Dolby and Neumann sound technology. Over the course of nearly two weeks leading up to the auction, the event attracted thousands of enthusiasts from around the world, generating excitement and anticipation. The collection garnered unprecedented interest, with over 2,300 registrants from 61 countries participating in the auction, 84% of whom were new to Christie’s. The auction itself lasted over six hours and boasted a remarkable 100% sell-through rate.
Christie’s was honored to be entrusted by Mark Knopfler to find new homes for his cherished instruments, some of which will feature on his upcoming album, “One Deep River,” set for release in April. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Knopfler’s chosen charities. The standout item of the collection was the iconic 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, which achieved a record-breaking sale price of £693,000. Additionally, the 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1, co-designed by Knopfler for his performance at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988, fetched £504,000, setting another world auction record. Another highlight was the red Schecter Telecaster used in recording Dire Straits’ hit song “Walk Of Life,” which sold for £415,800.
Furthermore, the iconic 1983 Gibson Les Paul Standard ’59 Historic Reissue, used by Knopfler for recording and performing hits like “Money For Nothing” and “Brothers In Arms,” and famously played at Live Aid, achieved an impressive £592,200.
Twenty-five percent of the total hammer price from the auction will be evenly distributed among charities that Mark Knopfler has supported for many years: the British Red Cross, Tusk, and Brave Hearts of the North East. Additionally, all funds raised from the final lot, the 2021 Gibson Les Paul ‘Gold Top’ guitar signed by renowned musicians including Mark Knopfler, which sold for £403,200, will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Christie’s is also making a contribution of £50,000 to each of the four charities, further amplifying the impact of the auction’s proceeds on charitable causes.
Legendary guitarist and Dire Straits frontman, Mark Knopfler, made headlines recently as he auctioned off his extensive guitar collection, consisting of 120 axes and amps accumulated over his illustrious 50-year career. The auction, held at Christie’s in London on Wednesday, January 31, saw some staggering bids that far surpassed initial estimates, cementing Knopfler’s legacy as a guitar icon.
The highlight of the auction was the sale of Knopfler’s 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard, which fetched a remarkable £693,000 ($884,000), setting a new world auction record for the model, as reported by the BBC. This iconic guitar, steeped in history and craftsmanship, symbolizes the pinnacle of Knopfler’s musical journey and holds a special place in the hearts of guitar enthusiasts worldwide.
Additionally, some of Knopfler’s other guitars fetched eye-watering prices, far exceeding their initial estimates. His 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1, famously played at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in June 1988, garnered an astonishing £504,000 ($643,000), well above its estimated value of £8,000 ($10,000). This particular guitar holds significant historical value, having been played at a momentous event honoring one of the greatest humanitarians of our time.
Another standout piece from Knopfler’s collection was his Red Schecter Telecaster, described as one of his “longest serving and most heavily toured instruments.” This iconic six-string, which Knopfler used on the Dire Straits hit “Walk Of Life” from 1985, fetched an impressive £415,800 ($530,000), far surpassing its estimated value of just £6,000 ($7,600). The astronomical price tag attached to this guitar reflects its significance in shaping the sound of Dire Straits and its enduring impact on music history.
The auction of Mark Knopfler’s guitar collection not only provided enthusiasts with a rare opportunity to own a piece of rock and roll history but also shed light on the profound influence of Knopfler’s music on generations of fans and musicians alike. Each guitar sold at the auction tells a story, representing a chapter in Knopfler’s remarkable career and leaving an indelible mark on the world of music.
As fans and collectors eagerly awaited the results of the auction, the staggering prices fetched by Knopfler’s guitars serve as a testament to his enduring legacy and the timeless appeal of his music. While the guitars may have changed hands, their significance in the annals of music history remains immutable, ensuring that Mark Knopfler’s musical legacy will continue to resonate for years to come.
Teenage Cancer Trust recently received a generous donation of £403,200 from the sale of Mark Knopfler’s iconic 2021 Gibson Les Paul “gold top” guitar. This remarkable guitar, adorned with signatures from a plethora of rock legends including Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and Slash, was auctioned off to support the vital work of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Mark Knopfler, renowned for his exceptional talent as an electric guitarist, expressed his hope that these guitars would be played rather than stored away in cases. His sentiment reflects his deep connection to his instruments and his desire to see them continue to inspire and create music.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Knopfler’s influence extends far beyond his solo work. His iconic solo on “Sultans of Swing” remains essential listening for aspiring guitarists looking to hone their craft. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 27 on their prestigious list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Knopfler’s impact on the music industry was further solidified with Dire Straits’ fifth studio album, “Brothers In Arms,” released in 1985. This monumental album, featuring the chart-topping hit “Money For Nothing,” dominated both the Official U.K. Albums Chart and the Billboard 200, achieving unprecedented success.
“Brothers In Arms” sold an estimated 30 million copies worldwide and earned Dire Straits two Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Money For Nothing.” The album’s immense popularity catapulted Dire Straits to international stardom, with a fanbase that spanned the globe.
Dire Straits’ influence reached its peak during their 1986 tour of Australia, where they sold an astounding 950,000 tickets in support of “Brothers In Arms.” This remarkable achievement set a record that remained unbroken for decades until Ed Sheeran’s 2018 Divide tour surpassed the 1 million ticket milestone.
As Mark Knopfler prepares to release his highly anticipated 10th solo studio album, “One Deep River,” on April 12th, his legacy as a guitar virtuoso and musical pioneer continues to resonate with audiences worldwide. Through his music and philanthropic efforts, Knopfler remains a beacon of inspiration and generosity, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music and beyond.