An Iconic Guitar Is Going Up for Auction

Kurt Cobain's guitar from 'MTV Unplugged' performance has a starting estimate of $1M
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2020 3:33 AM CDT
Kurt Cobain's Unplugged Guitar Going Up for Auction
This Dec. 13, 1993 file photo shows Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana performing in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Robert Sorbo, File)

The cardigan Kurt Cobain wore during Nirvana's iconic performance on MTV's Unplugged sold for $334,000. Now the guitar he played during the New York show, which took place just five months before his 1994 death, is going up for auction. The Guardian reports the rare 1959 Martin D-18E, which is the headline item for Julien’s Auctions Music Icons auction next month and one of just 302 D-18Es ever made, has a starting estimate of $1 million. Its case is also included, and is adorned with a flyer from a 1990 punk rock album Cobain used to decorate it, plus an Alaska Airlines sticker and three baggage claim ticket stubs affixed to the handle. Inside the case is a half-used pack of guitar strings, picks, and a "stash bag."

"Julien’s Auctions is proud to offer this historic guitar from Kurt Cobain, who upended the music industry and pop culture at large with his mythic performance fronting Nirvana on MTV Unplugged in New York," the president of the auction house says in a statement. "This important guitar has earned its rightful place in rock‘n’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." CNN reports Cobain's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, reportedly owned the guitar but gave it up during her contentious divorce. (More Kurt Cobain stories.)

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