The guitar that Kurt Cobain is seen playing in the video for Nirvana’s 1991 hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” will head to auction next month.
The left-handed 1969 Fender Mustang, in a Lake Placid Blue finish, will be up for grabs as part of Julien’s Auctions’ three-day Music Icons event, running from May 20-22 at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York as well as online.
According to Julien’s, a starting estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 is expected for the guitar. Cobain spoke highly of Mustangs, calling them his favourite guitar in a ’91 interview with Guitar World.
“I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars,” Cobain told the publication. “But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite.”
In a press statement, Julien’s Auctions president and CEO Darren Julien commented that it had been “one of our greatest privileges and most distinguished honors” to be able to auction the guitar.
“[It is] one of the most culturally significant and historically important guitars not only of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s legacy but in all of rock music history,” Julien said. “Rarely do personally owned items from Kurt Cobain with this incredible and unprecedented provenance of his life and career become available for public sale.”
In addition to the guitar, a 1965 sky blue Dodge Dart that Cobain owned and drove will also be auctioned, alongside its original license plates and a title showing ownership by Cobain and Courtney Love. Cobain’s sister Kim purchased the vehicle from Love following his death. That’s expected to go for between $400,000 and $600,000.
Numerous other items of Cobain’s will also be available, including a drawing of Michael Jackson by Cobain and a skateboard which Cobain drew Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie on. There’s also tour passes, a United Airlines boarding pass the singer used and more.
Some of the pieces – like the Mustang and Dodge Dart – will also come with exclusive NFTs that relate to each specific items of memorabilia. The guitar, for instance, will be accompanied by an NFT featuring narration by Cobain’s guitar tech, Earnie Bailey, and a 360-degree digital image of the guitar.
The Music Icons auction that Cobain’s items are a part of will also feature over 1,200 other items of memorabilia related to artists including The Beatles, Eddie Van Halen, Queen, Elvis Presley, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson and more. Find more details here.