Event date 31 January 2024
Event location London
The Mark Knopfler Guitar Collection was an outstanding success, totalling £8,840,160 / US$11,227,003 / €10,342,987 at a live auction in London. This fantastic result is a true testament to the phenomenal global appeal of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits.
The exhibition at Christie’s London, which included an immersive sound experience delivered by Dolby and Neumann, attracted thousands of fans from across the world, generating excitement for almost two weeks before the auction. The collection saw unprecedented interest, with over 2,300 registrants from 61 countries taking part — 84% of whom were new to Christie’s — in an auction that lasted over six hours and was 100% sold.
Christie’s is privileged to have been entrusted by Mark Knopfler to find new owners for his old ‘friends’, some of which appear on his upcoming album One Deep River, to be released in April, and to help raise money for his chosen charities. The star of the show was the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, achieving a record-breaking £693,000. Further world auction records were set by the 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1, co-designed by Mark Knopfler to play at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert in 1988 at Wembley Stadium, selling for £504,000, and the red Schecter Telecaster used to record the hit Dire Straits song ‘Walk Of Life’, fetching £415,800. Additionally, the iconic 1983 Gibson Les Paul Standard ’59 Historic Reissue, used by Mark Knopfler to record and perform ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Brothers In Arms’ and played on stage at Live Aid, achieved £592,200.
Twenty-five percent of the total hammer price will be divided equally and donated to charities Mark Knopfler has supported for many years: the British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East. One hundred percent of the funds raised from the final lot, the 2021 Gibson Les Paul ‘Gold Top’ guitar signed by world-famous musicians including Mark Knopfler, which sold for £403,200, will be donated to Teenage Cancer Trust. In addition, Christie’s is contributing a further £50,000 to each of the four charities.
Wherever I go I’m still crossing streets to look at guitars in the windows of music shops. I’ve done that since I was a little kid. I’ve lived with this love affair for over sixty years. That has meant a passion for all kinds of guitars: the impossible dreams and plenty of the less expensive ones too. As a career in music made it possible for me to realise some of those dreams, guitars of all shapes and sizes began to appear.
It’s time to take some of these treasured six-string companions out of their cases and leave them in the care of Christie’s to allow them to have new adventures with new owners. You can be sure I’ll be sad to see them go but we’ve had wonderful times together and I can’t play them all. To you fellow players, enthusiasts and collectors, I wish you many good times with these old friends of mine.
You may also like
Find what you love
Browse all art and objects
View all upcoming lots in Christie’s auctions and private sale works to buy now. Shop fine art, furniture, watches, jewellery, handbags and more.
Sell with Christie’s
Request an auction estimate
Christie’s can guide you through the entire auction process. Once we have determined that your property is appropriate for sale at auction, our specialists will arrange every detail.
Main images: © Ebet Roberts / Getty Images Homepage images: © Sarah Groenen © Ebet Roberts / Getty Images