While Richard Gere is well-known for his acting, the 62-year-old is also a self-taught pianist, guitarist and a student of the trumpet. His love of music is so passionate that over the past four decades, he has put together an impressive collection of vintage guitars and amplifiers from the likes of C.F. Martin, Gibson, Fender, Marshall and Vox.
On Tuesday, more than 100 guitars and amps from that collection went on sale at Christie's Auction House — with all but four of the items going on to raise $936,438 for charity.
"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," Kenny Keane, Christie's specialist head of department musical instruments told Reuters. "He was looking for instruments that did something personally, tonally for him."
Indeed, in interviews leading up to the auction, Gere told memorable, personal stories about nearly every guitar he acquired — proving that parting with the collection would not be without a bit of heartache. Nevertheless, the actor — ever the humanitarian — says that so much good can be done with the sale of these instruments.
"We just built a school in the Himalayas for 600 kids for $85,000," he told Guitar Aficionado. "Just imagine all we'll be able to build there with the money raised by these guitars. These guitars will change people's lives, so I'm happy to pass them on."
According to Reuters, the top selling piece was a Gibson 1960 Les Paul solid-body electric guitar, which sold for $98,500 to a private U.S. collector.
Check out the first part of Christie's interview with Gere on his collection below.