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Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler's guitar collection up for auction

FILE PHOTO: British guitarist Mark Knopfler performs during the 44th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux

LONDON (Reuters) - British musician and former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler is selling off a large part of his extensive guitar collection at a London auction with part of the proceeds going to charity.

The collection, which includes some of the most significant guitars from Knopfler's 50-year career, is on show at Christie's auction house ahead of the Jan. 31 sale.

"It's a wonderful collection of 122 items from Mark Knopfler spanning all of his career and it ... represents physically his career as a musician and an instigator and supplier of our communal soundtrack," Kerry Keane, Christie's specialist consultant for musical instruments, told Reuters.

A 1983 red Schecter Telecaster-style guitar used to record Dire Straits' hit "Walk of Life" and which featured in its accompanying music video is estimated at 4,000 - 6,000 pounds ($5,072 - $7,609).

A 1983 Gibson Les Paul Standard '59 reissue used for the track "Money for Nothing," which contains one of Knopfler's most iconic guitar riffs, has an estimate of 6,000 - 8,000 pounds.

Christie's said an original version of the 1959 Gibson Les Paul used by Knopfler for performances in the 2000s was likely to fetch the sale's highest price, with an estimate of 300,000 to 500,000 pounds.

"It is a really special vintage instrument that in its own right without the Mark Knopfler connection is very valuable," said Christie's specialist head of private and iconic collections, Amelia Walker, who is leading the sale.

For Dire Straits fans with less cash to hand, the sale is also offering lots, including a balalaika, valued at 300-500 pounds.

($1 = 0.7885 pound)

(Reporting by Kristian Brunse in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis)