Kurt Cobain’s smashed guitar, autographed by Nirvana, auctions for $595K


Nirvana's Kurt Cobain in 1991. A smashed guitar that was reassembled and autographed by his band, Nirvana, sold for almost $600,000 at a "Music Icons" auction. File Photo by Julie Kramer/Wikimedia

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in 1991. A smashed guitar that was reassembled and autographed by his band, Nirvana, sold for almost $600,000 at a “Music Icons” auction. File Photo by Julie Kramer/Wikimedia

May 22 (UPI) — Someone now owns a damaged guitar that’s a piece of rock history and they paid almost $600,000 for it.

The broken and reassembled guitar belonged to Kurt Cobain and was signed by members of his ’90s grunge band, Nirvana.

Cobain died by suicide at age 27 in 1994. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Nirvana, considered one of the era’s most pioneering bands.

Julien’s Auctions initially had the guitar listed for $60,000 and was expecting to bring in up to $80,000. The Fender Stratocaster was smashed onstage during the Nirvana Nevermind tour.

Cobain was known for smashing guitars onstage during Nirvana’s high-energy shows. Cobain gave the instrument to Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan in 1992 with the following inscription: “Hell-o mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain/ Washed up rockstar.”

The guitar was also signed by Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic and is engraved with “Boddah Lives.” Boddah is a reference to Cobain’s imaginary childhood friend. The black guitar case that the instrument comes in says “Abort Christ.”

Julien’s auction description said the guitar shows some damage, including marks of “use and abuse” and chunks missing from the bottom rear. Although the guitar was reassembled, it’s not playable.

The buyer for the guitar has not been publicly disclosed.

Other Nirvana memorabilia sold was a tour poster for the April 17, 1991 date on the Nevermind album signed by Grohl, Cobain and Novaselic for over $10,000. A set list from the tour believed to be handwritten by Grohl, now of the Foo Fighters, sold for more than $50,000.

Last year, a 1959 Fender Mustang guitar Cobain played in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video was sold for $4.5 million. The buyer of that guitar was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who collects guitars played by rock greats.

The items were sold as part of Julien Auctions’ Music Icons event at the Hard Rock Hotel in New York City last weekend. Janet and Michael Jackson’s costumes from various performances, including Michael’s hat and jacket from the Dangerous tour were also auctioned.

The jacket Elton John wore in the music video for “(I’m gonna) Love Me Again” is on display at Julien’s Auctions, Music Icons press preview in New York City on May 15, 2023. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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