Dire Straits Frontman Mark Knopfler’s Bonkers Guitar Collection Is up for Auction

Listen up, music buffs: Mark Knopfler’s rockin’ axes could soon be yours.

The Dire Straits frontman is auctioning off more than 120 guitars and amps at a Christie’s auction next January. The collection includes a diverse array of instruments that the celebrated musician has used to write, record, and perform compositions for the beloved British band over the past half-century. Knopfler also created multiple solo albums and film soundtracks with his collection.

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The “Sultans of Swing” singer chose each piece for its unique sound and tone, opting for models from the likes of Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, and Martin. He also commissioned bespoke guitars by Rudy Pensa and John Suhr.

Mark Knopfler 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard
1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard.

“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,” Knopfler said in a statement. “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.”

Leading the sale is a vintage 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard (estimate: $376,000 to $627,000) that Knopfler used for performances on the Sailing To Philadelphia tour in 2001 and the Kill To Get Crimson tour in 2008, as well as several recordings. A true collector’s piece, the guitar showcases a beautifully faded cherry-red sunburst finish.

Mark Knopfler 1958 Gibson ES-335
1958 Gibson ES-335.

Another standout is Knopfler’s 1958 Gibson ES-335 (estimate: $75,200 to $112,800). The semi-hollowbody electric guitar is crafted from blonde wood and features an unbound fingerboard. According to Christie’s, the axe is one of no more than 50 that left the factory in the first year of production. It is also one of three vintage Gibson ES-335s that Knopfler bought from luthier Rudy Pensa in the late 1990s.

Other highlights include a 1983 Les Paul (pictured top) that was used to record “Brothers in Arms” and “Money for Nothing,” a 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1 that Knopfler famously played at Nelson Mandela’s birthday tribute concert, and a red Schecter Telecaster that was used to record “Walk of Life.”

Mark Knopfler Red Schecter Telecaster
Red Schecter Telecaster.

“To you fellow players, enthusiasts, and collectors, I wish you many good times with these old friends of mine”

As an added bonus, the sale will generate funds for charity. Christie’s says 25 percent of the total hammer price will be divided equally and donated to nonprofits that Knopfler has supported for many years, including the British Red Cross, the Tusk Trust, and Brave Hearts of the North East.

Highlights of the collection will be on public view in New York between December 9 to 13. All pieces will then be displayed at Christie’s London headquarters from January 19 to 30, ahead of the auction on January 31.

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