Richard Gere guitar sale takes in nearly $1 million

NEW YORK Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:56pm EDT

Actor Richard Gere arrives to attend the amfAR New York Gala which begins Fall 2011 Fashion Week in New York February 9, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Actor Richard Gere arrives to attend the amfAR New York Gala which begins Fall 2011 Fashion Week in New York February 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actor Richard Gere auctioned his extensive collection of classic guitars, to the tune of nearly $1 million.

Gere sold more than 100 guitars at Christie's on Tuesday, realizing a total of $936,438, the auction house said. Only four of the 106 instruments on offer failed to sell. The collection was expected to take in about $1 million.

The actor, known for film roles including "American Gigolo" and "Pretty Woman," will donate the proceeds to charities. He acquired the vintage American guitars and amplifiers over the past 40 years

Kenny Keane, the specialist head of department musical instruments, said the collection was an intensely personal one for Gere.

"He wasn't outsourcing the purest examples of guitar making -- ones that were unused the way say a coin or a stamp collector would collect," Keane said at a preview of the sale.

"He was looking for instruments that did something personally, tonally for him."

The top lot was a Gibson 1960 Les Paul solid-body electric guitar, which sold for $98,500 including commission, beating the $90,000 high pre-sale estimate. It was bought by a private U.S. collector.

Three of the sale's top 10 lots were purchased by the CF Martin & Co. Museum in Nazareth, Pa., including a 1931 CF Martin guitar and case that went for $62,500, right in the middle of the pre-sale estimate range.

An anonymous buyer paid $47,500 for a 1960 Gibson Inc. electric guitar, or twice the low estimate.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Patricia Reaney; For the latest Reuters lifestyle news see: www.reuters.com/news/lifestyle))

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