Kurt Cobain’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Guitar Sells for $4.6 Million at Auction
The 1969 Fender Mustang used by late Nirvana bandleader Kurt Cobain in the band's 1991 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video has sold for $4.6 million ($4,550,000) at auction.
The famous electric guitar was estimated to net between $600,000-$800,000. But the price reportedly skyrocketed after 27 bids on Sunday (May 22).
The sum makes it the second most expensive guitar ever to sell at auction, behind another Cobain axe at $6.1 million. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's black Fender Stratocaster is currently third most expensive, selling for $3.98 million in 2019.
Items associated with Cobain continue to do well on the auction block. The Mustang was part of a fresh batch of Cobain items in Hollywood memorabilia broker Julien's Auctions' "Music Icons" sale May 20–22 in New York. Julien's also accepted bids online.
In honor of May's Mental Health Awareness Month, a portion of proceeds from the sale were said to go to Kicking the Stigma, an initiative founded by the family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay that raises awareness about mental health. Irsay placed the winning bid, per Forbes.
Julien's has sold numerous Cobain items in recent years. The Mustang had previously been on display at Seattle's MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture.
In Cobain's final interview with Guitar World, he said of the guitar, "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."
Ahead of the sale, Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions said in a statement, "Our Music Icons event representing the first sale of Kurt Cobain's mythic 1969 Fender electric guitar will be a once in a lifetime auction."
He added, "To see this fabled guitar, 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, come to our auction house has been one of our greatest privileges."
Learn more about the auction here.
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