This past Tuesday, October 11th, Christie's New York auctioned 110 guitars and amps owned by Richard Gere. The top price was $98,000 for a 1960 Les Paul. The star of Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Chicago spent over 20 years accumulating the collection, which included Fenders, Gibsons, Martins, and instruments owned by blues guitarist Albert King, Jamaican reggae musician Peter Tosh and acclaimed American guitar maker James D’Aquisto.
As first reported in Guitar Aficionado (which is available here), Mr. Gere never set out to be a collector, but he always found it fun to find the local guitar shops when he was in a new place shooting a movie. He told Guitar Aficionado, “There’s a generosity of spirit amongst guitarists. Almost every city I’ve ever been in has at least one shop that sells old guitars and has a guy who works there who loves them and has the right vibe. You can just see it there for hours and play with no hurry."
That same generosity of spirit was exemplified by him when he decided to donate the proceeds of the guitar auction to help raise funds to build hospitals, schools, and clinics in the Himalayas and other needy places in the world.
In addition to the 1960 Les Paul, standouts in this collection included a Thirties D’Angelico Excel that was John D’Angelico’s personal guitar, a 1931 Martin D-28 (the first to bear this designation) and the 1902 Martin 00-42 that was the prototype for Martin’s Style 45 guitars.