“I’ll be sad to see them go but we’ve had wonderful times together and I can’t play them all”: Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler is selling off his guitar collection

Mark Knopfler in 1992
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Fancy owning the guitar on which Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler wrote worldwide mega-hits Money For Nothing and Brothers In Arms? In January, that option will be open to you, and the rest of the world, in fairness, when Knopfler's guitar collection goes up for auction.

The collection, with estimated prices ranging from £300 to £500,000, will be sold by Christie's in London on January 31, with one quarter of the profits from the sale going to three charities, the British Red Cross, Tusk and Brave Hearts Of The North East.

"I’ll be sad to see them go,"  says Knopfler of his beloved axes, "but we’ve had wonderful times together and I can’t play them all."

According to a report in The Guardian, the star of the show at the auction, with an estimated price tag of £300,000-500,000, will be the 1959 vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard which Knopfler used on his Sailing to Philadelphia tour in 2001 and Kill to get Crimson tour in 2008.

In a BBC interview about the auction, Knopfler says that, growing up in Newcastle, he would spend hours gazing at the instruments on display in JG Windows (a shop he still visits), dreaming of owning one himself one day.

"I can still remember the first time I plucked up enough courage to pick one off the wall, with trembling fingers," he says. "It was a Spanish guitar, and one of the Geordies in the shop said, 'If you drop that, I'll drop you'."

The 1983 Les Paul that Knopfler used to record Money for Nothing, which he also played at Live Aid, is estimated to fetch a very reasonable-sounding £10,000-£15,000.

Speaking to Christie's, Knopfler says, "It's exciting having those guitars that figured so big on that record be in the sale. Each one brings back loads of memories. If you would have asked me 20 years ago I'd have thought, No way! But I'm happy now that they're going to different homes." 

You can watch Knopfler discuss some of his favourite guitars in the video below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.