Iconic Kurt Cobain Guitar Sells for Staggering Price

Electric guitar from 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' video went for $4.5M
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2022 1:27 AM CDT
Iconic Kurt Cobain Guitar Sells for $4.5M
In this Dec. 13, 1993, file photo, Kurt Cobain performs in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Robert Sorbo, File)

The electric guitar Kurt Cobain used in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video was auctioned Sunday, and the iconic instrument sold for the staggering sum of $4.5 million. That's quite a bit more than the pre-auction estimate of $600,000, Variety reports. After a bidding war, the 1969 Fender Mustang went to the Jim Irsay Collection of Indianapolis. (The billionaire businessman and Indianapolis Colts owner has spent a quarter-century cultivating what Guitar.com described last year as "the greatest guitar collection on earth.")

Julien’s Auctions accepted bids online and via phone. The Cobain family is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the guitar and other items belonging to the musician to Kicking the Stigma, the Irsay family's mental health awareness initiative, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Forbes reports. The guitar was known as one of Cobain's favorites, and was also used in live performances and while recording Nevermind and In Utero. During his last interview with Guitar World, Cobain said, "I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars. But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite. I’ve only owned two of them." (More Kurt Cobain stories.)

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