The guitar Kurt Cobain played in Nirvana’s iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video over 30 years ago is headed to the auction block.
Julien’s Auction will put the 1969 left-handed Fender Mustang guitar up for bidding during its “Music Icons” event, commencing both online and live at New York City’s Hard Rock Cafe from May 20-22.
“I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars,” Cobain had said during final interview with Guitar World in 1991. “But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite. I’ve only owned two of them.”
For the past 12 years, the guitar was displayed at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, now named MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture.
The Beverly Hills based auction house is hoping the Competition Lake Placid blue-colored string instrument could fetch $800,000.
The auction of Cobain’s guitar will also include an NFT (nonfungible token) of his longtime guitar tech Earnie Bailey discussing its importance. Cobain’s 1964 Dodge Dart automobile, his painting of Michael Jackson, a personally drawn 1985 Iron Maiden “Killers” skateboard and his United Airlines boarding pass are also up for grabs.
And it’s all for a good cause.
A portion of the proceeds for the three-day event will be donated to the Indianapolis Colts' and the Jim Irsay family’s national mental health charity’s “Kicking the Stigma” campaign in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May.
Irsay, owner & CEO of the NFL's Colts, owns an eponymous collection of artifacts from music, pop culture and American history.
Cobain, who referenced suicide, religion and drugs in song lyrics, died by suicide on April 5, 1994, at age 27.
Julien’s Auction chief Darren Julien told the Daily News that the Cobain family was impressed with what Kicking the Stigma represents and what the campaign has accomplished.
“They felt it was the appropriate organization and cause to benefit from the sale of Kurt’s items and to bring awareness to mental health,” he added.
Martin Nolan, Julien’s executive director, said the company is “proud to present this remarkable collection of items synonymous with the life and career” of the late grunge rock trailblazer.
“These precious items represent the touchstones of Kurt’s legacy as one of the most influential and most admired artists of all time which endures today long after his untimely passing with his music more popular than ever evidenced by their ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video viewed by billions and counting on YouTube and other channels,” he said.
Considered Nirvana’s biggest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was ranked No. 5 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2017.
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