Cobain's Unplugged Guitar Smashes World Record

It fetched $6M at Beverly Hills auction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2020 5:10 AM CDT
Kurt Cobain's Guitar Is Most Expensive Ever Sold
This Dec. 13, 1993 photo shows Kurt Cobain performing in Seattle, Wash.   (AP Photo/Robert Sorbo, file)

The guitar Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana's legendary MTV Unplugged performance less than five months before his death sold for $6 million Saturday, obliterating the record set last year by the sale of Pink Floyd member David Gilmour's iconic black Stratocaster. Gilmour's guitar went for $3.95 million. Bids for Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E—modified for the left-handed Nirvana frontman—started at $1 million at the event run by Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, reports Billboard. It was sold to Peter Freedman, owner of Røde Microphones. The sale also included the case, which Cobain had decorated with a sticker for the band Poison Idea's "Feel the Darkness," Rolling Stone reports. Inside, along with Cobain's picks and strings, is a "stash bag" decorated with a silver spoon, fork, and knife.

"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,” auction house CEO Darren Julien said in a statement before the auction. Other items from the Nov. 18, 1993, show in the auction included a set list and lyric sheets, according to the Julien's Auctions website. (Last year, the cardigan Cobain wore for the gig became the most expensive sweater ever sold.)

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