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Money for something: Dire Straits legend to sell guitar collection

By AFP - Nov 21,2023 - Last updated at Nov 21,2023

British musician Mark Knopfler is selling 120 guitars and amps  (AFP photo)

LONDON — Mark Knopfler, the former frontman of British rock group Dire Straits, announced on Tuesday he will sell more than 120 guitars and amps spanning his five-decade career at an auction next year.

The sale, at Christie’s auctioneers on January 31, will feature the guitar used to record the band’s hit song “Money For Nothing” and famously played at the legendary 1985 Live Aid concert in London.

“The Mark Knopfler Guitar Collection” sale also comprises an array of guitars he used to write, record and perform Dire Straits’ and solo tracks, Christie’s said.

They include Gibson, Fender and Martin instruments alongside custom-built models by renowned guitar builders Rudy Pensa and John Suhr.

“It’s time to take some of these treasured six-string companions out of their cases and allow them to have new adventures with new owners,” Knopfler said in comments released by the auction house.

“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,” he added.




Knopfler founded Dire Straits in 1977 with his younger brother David, bassist John Illsley, and drummer Pick Withers.

The band went on to have a string of hits, such as “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Brothers In Arms”. Knopfler has also enjoyed a solo and film soundtracks career.

The 74-year-old will donate a quarter of the sales proceeds to various charities, including the British Red Cross, wildlife conservationists Tusk and children’s not-for-profit Brave Hearts of the North East.

The most highly valued lot — estimated at £500,000 ($625,000) — is an original 1959 Les Paul Standard which Knopfler acquired from Bobby Tench of The Jeff Beck Group.

The Gibson Les Paul 1983 reissue guitar used to record “Money For Nothing” is expected to fetch up to £15,000 ($19,000).

Other notable offerings include a 2002 Fender “Mark Knopfler Signature Stratocaster”, set to fetch up to £6,000, and a “Pensa-Suhr MK-1” uniquely crafted and adapted by John Suhr, valued at £6,000-£8,000.

Among the more affordable lots: a mandolin previously owned by blues legend Yank Rachell, set to cost £300 to £500.

Christie’s will hold a December 9-13 touring exhibition in New York, followed by pre-sale viewings at its London headquarters.

Speaking to the BBC recently while recording his 10th solo album, Knopfler confided that he may use some of the auction proceeds to buy new guitars, explaining that he was “not impervious to temptation”.

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