Kurt Cobain's 'Unplugged' Guitar Sells for $6 Million at Auction
The instrument was expected to fetch around $1 million
Published Jun 22, 2020The acoustic guitar used by Kurt Cobain for Nirvana's iconic MTV Unplugged session has sold at auction for a record-breaking $6 million USD.
In May, Julien's Auctions announced that the 1959 Martin D-18E guitar Cobain played for the 1993 taping would be hitting the auction block. The instrument, with its case, was expected to fetch around $1 million USD.
The heftier price tag now attached to Cobain's instrument makes it the most expensive guitar to ever be sold at auction — eclipsing a mark of $3,975,000 USD set last year in the auction of an equally legendary black Fender Stratocaster from Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.
The Australian Associated Press reports that the new owner of Cobain's guitar is Australian music entrepreneur Peter Freedman, founder and chairman of Rode Microphones.
"It's a big deal," Freedman said of his auction win. "I didn't even buy it for me. I paid for it but I'm going to use it to highlight the plight of artists worldwide by touring it around and then I'm going to sell it and use the dough for that as well, later."
Elsewhere at Julien's "Music Icons" event, Prince's blue-coloured "cloud" guitar sold for $563,000 USD.
Before its time on the auction block, Cobain's Unplugged guitar had previously been at the centre of a divorce battle between the late rocker's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, and ex-husband Isaiah Silva.
In 2018, Silva was awarded the instrument as part of the divorce proceedings, claiming it had been gifted to him by Bean as a wedding present. At the time, it was reported that Bean decided to part with the guitar to avoid any further legal battles with Silva.
Last year, the cardigan Cobain wore for the MTV Unplugged special went to auction and sold for $334,000 USD, while the concert recording was also given a vinyl reissue.