On the 20th June 2020, Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic guitar became the most expensive guitar ever sold.
The hammer went down during a Music Icons event at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills for an eye-watering $6,010,000, that’s around £4,800,000.
The guitar was used by the Nirvana front man in the MTV Unplugged show in November 1993, which has since been watched by millions and become a top-selling album.
Just five months after the performance, Cobain died at the age of 27.
The guitar was sold with its original hard-shell case, decorated with a Poison Idea’s ‘Feel the Darkness’ poster from 1990, as well as a half-used pack of Martin guitar strings, three picks, and a ‘suede stash bag’. Souvenirs of Cobain’s life regularly fetch high figures, but the sale of his acoustic guitar is a new world record.
The winning bidder was Peter Freedman, owner of microphone manufacturers Rode.
He was present at the auction and later said he’d been “scared shitless and was shaking” in the moments leading up to the sale.
Freedman said he was worried the guitar would continue increasing into the $20millions, fortunately for the microphone mogul it didn’t happen, and he managed to buy the prized instrument for just over $6million.
“This important guitar has earned its rightful place in rock & roll history as the instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time,” Darren Julien, president and CEO of the auction house, previously said in a statement.
Freedman, who is a huge Nirvana fan, says he intends to take the guitar on tour to highlight the struggles faced by many artists and all proceeds will go to the performing arts.
The sale tops the previous record of $3.95 million for a Black Stratocaster owned by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.
Other items auctioned included a guitar owned by Prince, a belt worn by Elvis Presley and a gown worn by Madonna, all of which sold for less than the guitar. Other Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance items included in the Julien’s Auctions lot included the handwritten lyric sheet to the Meat Puppets’ “Oh, Me,” a typed setlist from the legendary gig, typed- out lyrics for David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” and Meat Puppets’ “Lake of Fire,” and a letter to Cobain from Nirvana’s management company nine days before the Unplugged performance outlining potential songs for the gig.
In October 2019, Cobain’s green cardigan from the Unplugged performance sold at Julien’s Auctions for $334,000, making it the most expensive sweater ever purchased at auction.
Talking point. Kurt Cobain was right-handed. So why did he play his guitar left-handed? Upside down like Jimi Hendrix who also played left-handed maybe. Please add your comments