“Staggering”: Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Collection has sold at auction for over $11 million – with a record-breaking ’59 Burst sale and 28 guitars fetching over $100K

Christie’s Amelia Walker shows off Knopfler’s Pensa-Suhr New York 1988 guitar
Christie’s Amelia Walker shows off Knopfler’s Pensa-Suhr New York 1988 guitar (Image credit: Ben Stansall / Getty Images)

Mark Knopfler’s guitar collection has sold at Christie’s London for a total of $11,227,003 – a figure that seems to have taken even the auctioneer itself by surprise, with the venerable institution describing it as “staggering”. 

“The live auction in London was 100% sold, setting a new auction record for Knopfler’s 1959 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard, which achieved £693,000 [approx. $876,000],” notes Christie’s. 

“Music aficionados, fans and collectors from 61 countries registered to bid, with phenomenal levels of competition across the 122 lots offered resulting in the auction lasting over six hours.”

The ’59 ’Burst valuation is getting the most headlines in the mainstream media and that is an enormous price tag, but given its provenance, celebrity association and incredible condition, it may not come as a surprise to your average Gibson obsessive. 

Mark Knopfler’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard ’Burst went for approx. $876,000 (Image credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Future / Getty Images)

Indeed, that figure is thought to have been surpassed in several private ’Burst sales (Kirk Hammett was long-rumored to have paid nearer $2 million for Greeny, for instance – something he denies), but it nonetheless sets a new auction record.

What has left Guitar World truly floored, however, is the average values fetched by the other items in the sale. 

Indeed, when Christie’s announced the auction was set to include Knopfler’s Brothers in Arms Les Paul, his custom Suhr/Pensa builds and his iconic Schecter T-style from Walk of Life – we noted that many of the guide prices were “enticingly low” and likely to surpass their estimates. What we didn’t expect was just how right we would be…

Knopfler’s first Les Paul, his 1983 reissue, on which he performed Dire Straits’ iconic Money For Nothing riff carried an estimate of an estimate of $12,500 – $18,000, but went for nearly $749,000 (£592,200) – an astonishing figure for an ’80s LP. 

Meanwhile, his 1988 Pensa Suhr, the MK-1, fetched approx. $637,000 (£504,000) and his Schecter Van Nuys T-style (as used on Walk of Life) raised nearly $526,000 ($415,800) – 100 times their estimated sale prices.

In total, 28 of the guitars in the 122 item sale realized prices of more than $100,000 and while none of the individual lots raised enough to make our most expensive guitars of all time list – we cannot think of another individual collection auction that has raised such high prices across the board. 

In fact, it could very well be – though we are unable to verify at present – the most valuable individual collection sold at auction to date.

What’s Knopfler going to do with the proceeds? Well, 25% of the total is going to UK charities he supports, including the British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts of the North East. 

Meanwhile, the full $510,000 realized by the final lot – a 2021 Gibson Les Paul goldtop reissue signed by everyone from Knopfler to David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Brian May, Slash, Tony Iommi, The Edge, Buddy Guy, Nile Rodgers and Joe Bonamassa (to name a few) – is going to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Check out Guitarist’s detailed look at three of the top sale items: namely, the Brothers In Arms LP, the 1988 Pensa-Suhr and the Schecter Van Nuys in the clip above. 

Then you can browse the full sale catalog and see the prices fetched in the auction – and there are plenty of other talking points – over at Christies

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.