Mark Knopfler guitar auction at Christie’s

Tomorrow, Wednesday January 31st, Christie’s are holding an auction of Mark Knopfler’s guitars.  It’s a large part of his collection, and includes some fantastically expensive Gibson electrics. I understand that 25% of the proceeds will go to charity.

Included in the auction is the Martin Simpson model Mark bought from me in 2013.  He is very kind about it, describing it as ‘a fantabulous guitar’.  He has played it on tour and on a track on his forthcoming album.

When he collected it, Mark wouldn’t have a pickup or strap buttons because he couldn’t bear to let me drill holes in it, saying it would be for studio use only. But in (I think) 2018 he asked me to fit both so he could use it live (right).
I fitted a Highlander, my preferred pickup.  Mark assumed it was a combined undersaddle and microphone combination, and was surprised to hear such a true sound came from a pickup alone.
Picture below shows  Mark with the amplified guitar in his state of the art Chiswick studio.



Mark collecting the guitar from my house in February 2013


Live with the guitar in Italy, 2019

The estimated sale price is given as £7000 – £10000, but I’m reliably informed the actual price could be double or more.  We’ll see tomorrow.

The guitar is lot 114, here’s the link.  If you are making a bid, good luck.


Wednesday 31st Jan
Watching the auction live, prices for the first three guitars, one electric and two Ovations, were around up to and over 30 times the higher estimated prices. WOW.  These are Knopflers better known guitars, many used on his hits.
A mere 5 times the estimated £5000 price for a Chet Atkins Hollowbody seems positively cheap.  And I’ve checked the buyer’s premium, it’s an extra 24% plus VAT, so another quarter on top.

The auctioneer is taking lots of time to extract more bids after bidding seems to have stalled, coaxing bid after bid out of the audience, telephone bidders and website bidders. She tells which songs each guitar was played on (sometimes a clip is played).  She’s American and to start with, kept saying dollars instead of pounds. But made a joke of it, is good at relaxing people.  She’s really good.

Knopfler’s MS Sobell was eventually sold at £32000, more than three times the higher estimate.  On top of this, the buyer will have paid Christie’s buyer premium of 24% plus VAT, so a total of over £40000.