Auction Results

£8 m Mark Knopfler guitar auction smashes estimates


A Gibson Les Paul owned by Mark Knopfler.
Image courtesy of Christie's

The sale of Mark Knopfler guitars has handsomely surpassed expectations and estimates to raise over £8 million.

The sale was a big pay-day for charities, who received 25% of the proceeds of the sale.

Knopfler, the leader of Dire Straits, sold over 120 instruments and amplifiers in a sale he told the BBC was “an incredible journey”.

The auction broke a model record with the £693,000 realised by a 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard.

Several pieces broke estimates by orders of magnitude.

Another Gibson, a Les Paul Standard, went into the sale with a £15,000 estimate. It sold for just shy of £600,000. Knopfler played the instrument for the recording of Money For Nothing and on stage at Live Aid.

A Pensa-Suhr MK-1 played on stage at the Nelson Mandela 70th birthday concert hit a price of over £0.5 million against an estimate of £8,000.

A Pensa-Suhr Mk-1 custom owned by Mark Knopfler made over £500,000.

A telecaster made by Schecter dwarfed an £6,000 estimate by selling for £400,000+.

Knopfler told the BBC: “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.

“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.”

Bidders from 61 countries signed up to bid at the auction.

Knopfler was selling his own collection, there could be no question that they were owned and played by him.

Guitars are undoubtedly the best selling and most valuable rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.

The instruments have value in their own right. Landmark models by big makers are hugely collectible, and rock musicians are among the most noted collectors of these pieces.

Even better are guitars owned by famous musicians.

And even more valuable than these are guitars owned by famous musicians that can be linked to specific performances or songs.

The best example is the most expensive guitar in history, the Martin acoustic played by Kurt Cobain on the MTV Unplugged show. It was an extraordinary performance that summed up the band’s authentic intensity. Months later, Kurt Cobain was dead.

It’s hard to imagine another guitar meeting that price, but if it does it will have similar characteristics.

Cobain wasn’t really an instrumental virtuoso in the way that Knopfler is. His playing skills no doubt make the instruments on which he played so many iconic songs even more attractive.

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