In the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video, which was Nirvana’s biggest hit, Cobain played the 1969 left-handed Fender Mustang guitar, with the brand’s Competition Lake Placid blue finish with matching headstock.
In February 1992, Cobain told Guitar World that Fender Mustang guitars were his favourite “out of all the guitars in the whole world”, so it’s likely the guitar going up for auction was close to Cobain’s heart.
In the years since Cobain’s death by suicide in April 1994, the guitar has remained in the Cobain family, who have kept it on loan to the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle for the past 12 years.
Now, it’s set to be sold publicly for the very first time. The guitar is part of a three-day auction taking place on Sunday, May 22nd 2022, both in person at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, and online.
The theme of the auction is MUSIC ICONS, and a portion of the profits from the guitar — as well as the other Cobain memorabilia up for auction — will be donated to mental health charities. The charities have yet to be announced, but will be chosen by Cobain’s family, according to Julien’s Auctions.
Aside from the guitar, Julien’s Auctions is also auctioning off NFTs, which will feature a 360° digital representation of the Fender Mustang, along with a narration from Cobain’s longtime guitar tech, Earnie Bailie. These are expected to go for USD$6-8,000 each (AUD$8-10,000).
They’re also selling Cobain’s 1965 Dodge Dart 170 4-door sedan. Nicknamed “Baby Blue”, the car is the only car owned and driven by Cobain that is know to still exist.
The auction house expects it to fetch as much as USD$600,000 (AUD$808,173). It will come with the original license plate, as well as the vehicle title, showing ownership by Cobain and his then-wife, Courtney Love.
Since Cobain’s death, the car has been owned by Cobain’s sister, who bought it from Love.
Some other items that will be going up for auction are:
- Cobain’s boarding pass for a United Airlines flight from Seattle to Chicago
- A drawing of Michael Jackson by Cobain
- Several of Cobain’s tour passes
Learn more about the auction here.