Mark Knopfler's reissue 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard which he used on the Brothers In Arms album and world tour sold at a Christie's auction in London yesterday (1 February) for £592,000. The guitar, used on the title track and Money For Nothing, was part of of a 122-lot sale of Knopfler's electric, acoustic guitars and amps that netted £8,840,160 / $11,227,003 / €10,342,987.
Other big sales were an original 1959 Les Paul Standard that set a new world record for the model at £693,000. It was used on Knopfler's Sailing To Philadephia and Kill To Get Crimson solo tours in 2001 and 2008, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the bids went high for the 1988 Pensa-Suhr MK-1 and a Schecter T-style guitars that have loomed large in Knopfler's history. But the surprise was how high - with both setting records for the brands. The Pensa-Suhr - used by Knopfler live with Dire Straits – sold for £504,000, while the Schecter T-style used to record Brothers In Arms song Walk Of Life and the album's tour sold for a whopping £415,800.
“This auction has been an incredible journey and 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," said Knopfler. "All Christie’s staff have been hugely impressive in every respect.
"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," the guitarist added. "To you fellow players, enthusiasts and collectors, I wish you all good things."
A special Les Paul Goldtop signed by the guitarist and peers including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend and Bruce Springsteen – a precursor to a special project featuring Knopfler and an all-star cast of players – sold for £403,200 – soaring far beyond its £20,000-40,000 estimate. All the proceeds from that particular sale went to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
With such a huge clearout of his gear, it's tempting to suggest Knopfler is done with guitar acquisition syndrome. But all players will know it's never that simple.
"I got a new Boswell [acoustic guitar] the other day and I was showing it to one of the kids," he told Paul Sexton in the interview at Christie's below. "I'm getting excited about it all again. That doesn't stop."
In total, 25% of the total hammer price from the auction will be divided equally and donated to charities that Knopfler has supported over the years: The British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East. 100% of the funds raised from the final lot are being donated to Teenage Cancer Trust. In addition, Christie’s is contributing a further £50,000 to each of the four charities.
For those charities the auction will prove hugely valuable – such is the gravitas of the Knopfler connection that every lot in the auction exceeded its estimate by considerable margins. Even a 2010 Reverend Toledo with no specific recording providence in Knopfler's catalogue and an estimate of £800-£1200 ended up fetching £27,720.
Check out all the lots and their final results over at Christie's.