Dire Straits legend's guitars garner six-figure sales

Dire Straits legend's guitars garner six-figure sales

Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler put several guitars up for sale at Christie's in London
Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler put several guitars up for sale at Christie's in London. Photo: Ben Stansall / AFP
Source: AFP

Several guitars put up for sale by Mark Knopfler, the former frontman of British rock group Dire Straits, on Wednesday fetched hundreds of thousands of pounds each at auction.

They include the 1983 guitar used to record the band's hit songs "Money For Nothing" and "Brothers in Arms", which sold for £592,000 ($754,000) at the Christie's sale in London.

Knopfler famously played the Gibson Les Paul reissue at the legendary 1985 Live Aid concert in the British capital, adding to its collectors' appeal.

It had been estimated to cost £10,000-£15,000 but far exceeded that range.

However, the sale fell short of the £693,000 paid for an original 1959 Les Paul Standard which the musician acquired from Bobby Tench of The Jeff Beck Group.

The costliest lot in the auction of more than 120 guitars and amps spanning Knopfler's five-decade career, it featured during tour performances in 2001 and 2008 as well as several recordings.

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One of a pair of vintage Les Pauls -- from 1958 and 1959 -- that the frontman bought in the 1990s, Christie's described it as "a true collector's instrument, with a beautifully faded cherry-red sunburst finish".

Charity donations

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

Proceeds from the sale will go to charities
Proceeds from the sale will go to charities. Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP
Source: AFP

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 announced in November through Christie's that an array of guitars he used to write, record and perform Dire Straits and solo tracks would go under the hammer.

Wednesday's auction included Gibson, Fender and Martin instruments alongside custom-built models by renowned guitar builders Rudy Pensa and John Suhr.

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Knopfler 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.

Other notable sales saw a 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1 -- his primary electric guitar from 1988 to 1992 -- fetch £504,000, while a distinctive red 1983 Schecter Telecaster used to record and perform "Walk of Life" sold for 415,800.

The sales figures pale in comparison to some previous sales of legendary rock guitars.

The instrument that grunge-rock icon Kurt Cobain played during his legendary 1993 "MTV Unplugged" performance leads the record books, selling for $6 million in 2020 -- a record for a guitar.

Source: AFP

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