By Paula Rogo
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Richard Gere may be best known for his acting career but he is also an accomplished musician who has amassed an extensive guitar collection that will be sold at auction in October, Christie's said on Wednesday.
The star of "Pretty Woman," "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Chicago," has spent the last 20 years accumulating the collection.
It includes brands such as C.F. Martin, Gibson and Fender and instruments once owned by blues guitarist Albert King, Jamaican reggae musician Peter Tosh and acclaimed American guitar maker James D'Aquisto.
"What transpired over a lifetime is an almost encyclopedic representation of American guitar making," said Kerry Keane, the head of Christie's musical instruments department.
"This is an exciting opportunity for collectors and fans alike to take advantage of Mr. Gere's unrecognized talent for creating a cohesive collection."
The auction in New York on October 11 will contain 110 lots worth approximately $1 million. A 1958 solid-body Gibson Flying V electric guitar once owned by King is expected to sell for up to $90,000.
Another top item is a 1931 C.F. Martin D-28, one of the most coveted Martin designs, which has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.
Gere's collection resulted from a lifelong love of music that began with the trumpet before he taught himself the guitar and piano.
"They have been my true friends through the best and worst of times. I never planned to put together a collection. I just bought ones that I liked, the ones that sounded good and played well," Gere said in a statement.
"Some are very special. Although it's more than a little painful to let them go, each one has been played, loved and appreciated - and will be again."
Gere said proceeds of the auction will go to support humanitarian causes around the world.
(Writing by Paula Rogo; edited by Patricia Reaney)