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Going for a song: Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler to auction 120 of his guitars

Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler to auction 120 of his guitars
Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler to auction 120 of his guitars Copyright AP Photo/Mario Vedder
Copyright AP Photo/Mario Vedder
By David MouriquandAP
Published on Updated
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A quarter of the proceeds from the sale of the legendary British musician's guitar collection will go to the British Red Cross and other charities.

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'Even the best of friends must part...' begins the adage which might explain Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler's decision to sell off a collection of guitars he considers “old friends”. 

The musician whose distinctive finger-picking style drove hits for the British rockers including 'Sultans of Swing' and 'Money for Nothing', is putting 120 guitars and amps up for sale in London on Wednesday 31 January.

Estimated sale prices range from £300 (€343) for an electric-acoustic mandolin to £500,000 (€572,000) for a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard with a cherry red sunburst finish.

A 1983 Les Paul that Knopfler played on Dire Straits’ landmark 1985 album 'Brothers in Arms' and onstage that year at Live Aid has an estimated price of £10,000 - £15,000 (€11,000 - €17,000).

A Christie's employee shows a Gibson Kalamazoo guitar among others owned by Dire Straits singer, songwriter and guitar hero Mark Knopfler,
A Christie's employee shows a Gibson Kalamazoo guitar among others owned by Dire Straits singer, songwriter and guitar hero Mark Knopfler,Frank Augstein/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

A quarter of the sale total will go to the British Red Cross, Brave Hearts of the North East and the Tusk Trust Limited. 

Knopfler said the collection was the product of his 60-year “love affair” with guitars, but it was time to relinquish “some of these treasured six-string companions.”

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

The instruments have been on public display at Christie’s New York showroom during December and at the auctioneer’s London headquarters this month.

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