Kurt Cobain’s Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar to go under the hammer

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An electric guitar used by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain during the music video for the band’s landmark hit track Smells Like Teen Spirit is to go under the hammer for the first time.

The 1969 Fender Mustang in Lake Placid blue finish is among a selection of items to be sold at a “music icons” event held at Julien’s Auction House between May 20 to 22 at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York.

The unique instrument, which has an estimate of 600,000-800,000 dollars (£473,348 to £631,130), is currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in London from April 28 until May 3.

Kurt Cobain items up for auction
Cobain’s 1969 Fender Mustang could fetch 800,000 dollars (Ian West/PA)

Smells Like Teen Spirit was released as part of Nirvana’s second studio album Nevermind, which propelled the grunge group into superstardom.

In Cobain’s final interview with Guitar World, he spoke about his go-to guitar, saying: “I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars.

“But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favourite. I’ve only owned two of them.”

Until now, the guitar has been on display at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, now named Museum of Pop Culture, for the past 12 years.

Also to be sold is an exclusive NFT (Non-Fungible Token) of the guitar which features a narration by Cobain’s long-time guitar tech, Earnie Bailey, discussing the historical significance of the instrument.

Other items on offer include a drawing by Cobain of Michael Jackson wearing a red jacket, single white glove and sunglasses, which also features his signature in the corner.

The piece, alongside an accompanying NFT, is estimated to sell for 40,000-60,000 dollars (£31,556-£47,334).

An all-access pass from the 1993 Nirvana In Utero concert tour, personally owned by Cobain, is also estimated to pick up 1,000-2,000 dollars (£789 – £1,577).

Kurt Cobain items up for auction
Cobain’s personally owned all-access pass from the 1993 Nirvana In Utero concert tour features in the collection up for sale (Ian West/PA)

The Nirvana frontman’s 1965 Dodge Dart, the only known surviving car personally owned and driven by him – with an accompanying NFT, is also up for auction with an estimate of 400,000-600,000 dollars (£315,565-£473,348).

Cobain’s skateboard deck, which features his artwork of the Iron Maiden mascot Eddie, is also among the lots, estimated at 20,000-40,000 dollars (£15,778 – £31,556).

The auction has stated that in honour of mental health awareness month in May, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the guitar and a selection of Cobain’s items will go towards Kicking The Stigma, an initiative by the Indianapolis Colts and Jim Irsay family’s to raise awareness about mental health disorders.

Cobain died in 1994 at the age of 27.

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