Kurt Cobain’s guitar from Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ music video is up for auction

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The guitar that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain plays in the music video for the band’s biggest hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” could sell for as much as $800,000 when it’s auctioned next month, with a portion of the proceeds intended to go towards mental health charities.

Important facts

In the video, Cobain played his left-handed 1969 Fender Mustang guitar with the brand’s Competition Lake Placid blue finish and matching headstock.

Fender Mustangs were his favorite guitars “of any guitar in the world,” and he owned two of them, Cobain said guitar world in an interview in February 1992, his last with publication before his suicide in April 1994.

The “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, which shows a high school pep rally turning into a chaotic mosh pit, was released on MTV on September 29, 1991, and its popularity helped propel the album forward doesn’t matter be certified as Gold five weeks later.

The guitar remained in the Cobain family but has been loaned out for the last 12 years and displayed at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Nirvana’s hometown.

The auction will take place in May, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the guitar and other Cobain memorabilia will be donated to a charity chosen by the singer’s family that raises mental health awareness Health sharpens to Julien’s auctions.

Along with the guitar, Julien’s Auctions will be offering a non-fungible token featuring a 360° digital representation of the Fender Mustang along with narration from Cobain’s longtime guitar tech Earnie Bailie, which the auction house expects to fetch between $6,000 and $8,000 .


Along with the guitar, Julien’s Auctions will be selling Cobain’s 1965 Dodge Dart 170 4-Door, the only Cobain-owned and driven car known to still exist. The car was nicknamed “Baby Blue” because of its light blue hue and could sell for up to $600,000, according to the auction house. After Cobain’s death, his sister Kim bought the car from his wife, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love. The Dodge Dart comes with the original number plate and a vehicle title proving Cobain and Love’s ownership. Other auctioned items that belonged to Cobain include a boarding pass for a United Airlines flight from Seattle to Chicago, a drawing of Michael Jackson by Cobain and several of the singer’s tour passes. The items, which belong to the Cobain family and people close to the Nirvana frontman, will be auctioned as part of Julien’s Auctions’ Music Icons auction, which will feature more than 1,200 items related to music groups such as The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Little Richard, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Erica Clapton, Cher, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix are offered.

Big number

6 million dollars. That’s how much was sold for one of Kurt Cobain’s guitars – a Martin D-18E – in 2020. It was the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, beating the previous record $3.9 million paid the previous year for a Black Strat owned by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Cobain played the Martin D-18E during Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance in New York, which was one of the band’s last performances before Cobain’s death. It won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance in 1995.

key background

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is widely considered one of the greatest rock songs in the history of the genre and is credited with popularizing the grunge subgenre. Last year, Smells Like Teen Spirit was rated by Rolling Stonee as fifth on his list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Further reading

Judge throws out Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ child pornography lawsuit – for now (Forbes)


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