Kurt Cobain’s smashed guitar sold for almost $600,000, 10 times more than estimated

(CNN) — A vandalized electric guitar signed by the late Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobainsold for almost 10 times its estimated value.

The left-handed black Fender Stratocaster was auctioned for $595,000 at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York over the weekend.

The instrument was headlining a three-day auction of pieces of rock history.

The guitar, which has been reassembled but is unplayable, was initially valued at between $60,000 and $80,000.

The instrument has been reassembled, but is not playable. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The popularity of Nirvana he skyrocketed with his second album, “Nevermind.” Released in September 1991, the record had sold over a million copies in the US by the end of that year. In 1992, it reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and stayed on it for 472 weeks.

In 1994, Cobain committed suicide at the height of his fame, at just 27 years old.

According to Julien’s Auctioneers, which organized the sale, Cobain vandalized the guitar “during the seminal days of Nirvana’s Nevermind,” though no specific details were given.

The broken instrument is signed in silver ink by all three band members: Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl.

Cobain also penned a message in it for his friend and bandmate Mark Lanegan of the Screaming Trees, who passed away last year: “Sons of Mark! Love, your friend, Kurt Kobain / Washed up rockstar.”

Engraved on the guitar’s neck plate are the words “Boddah Lives,” a reference to Cobain’s childhood imaginary friend.

Kurt Cobain performing with Nirvana at The Roxy in Hollywood, California on August 15, 1991. Kevin Estrada/MediaPunch/IPX/AP

Also up for auction was a Nirvana set list, handwritten in pink pen by Grohl for the April 17, 1991 concert at the OK Hotel in Seattle, Washington. It was the band’s debut with their smash hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The track listing sold for US$50,800, 12 times the original estimate of US$4,000. The auction also featured a large poster for the “Nevermind” album, which sold for $10,400, as well as items from many other famous musicians, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Freddie Mercury and Amy Winehouse.

In 2020, the guitar Cobain played during his 1993 performance on “MTV Unplugged” became the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, priced at $6 million. The guitar was a 1959 Martin D-18E and was featured at Nirvana’s famous New York concert five months before Cobain’s death.

And another of Cobain’s guitars took second place at auction last year, when the instrument Cobain played in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, a 1969 Fender Mustang, sold for $4.5 million. .

CNN’s Amy Woodyatt contributed to this report.

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