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Kurt Cobain’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ guitar heading to auction

Another piece of Nirvana’s history is to be put up for sale. The guitar that frontman Kurt Cobain plays in the iconic video for 1991’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ will be auctioned off next month. 

The guitar is a 1969 Fender Mustang in the colour synonymous with Cobain, Lake Placid Blue, and will be a part of Julien’s Auctions’ Music Icons event, which runs from May 20th-22nd at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe, as well as online.

Per Julien’s themselves, the starting bid for the guitar is expected to be between $600,000 to $800,000. This is an incredible part of Nirvana lore, and he famously described the Mustang model as his favourite on the market. 

“I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars,” Cobain told Guitar World in 1991. “But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favourite.”

In a press statement, Julien’s President and CEO, Darren Julien, revealed that selling the guitar is “one of our greatest privileges and most distinguished honours”.

“[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 explained. “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 legendary guitar, the auction house will also be selling the 1965 Dodge Dart that Cobain owned, complete with original licence plates and a legal title that shows that the car was owned by Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love. After Cobain’s death in 1994, his sister, Kim, purchased the car from Love. Now though, it’s expected to fetch somewhere between $400,000 and $600,000.

It’s not just Cobain’s guitar and ride being put up for sale, either. Amongst the miscellaneous, there will be a skateboard that Cobain drew Iron Maiden’s mascot, Eddie on, a drawing of Michael Jackson, as well as tour passes and more. 

Added to the excitement is the fact that some of the items, such as the guitar and the Dodge will also be accompanied by related NFTs. For instance, the Fender Mustang is coming with an NFT containing narration by Nirvana guitar tech Earnie Baily and a 360-degree image of the guitar.

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