Kurt Cobain's 'Unplugged' guitar sells for record $6 million at auction | Inquirer Entertainment

Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ guitar sells for record $6 million at auction

/ 07:13 PM June 21, 2020
kurt courtney frances bean cobain

Kurt Cobain with wife Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean. Image: Fotos International/Shutterstock (219266i) via AFP Relaxnews

The guitar that grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain played during his legendary 1993 MTV Unplugged performance sold Saturday for a record $6 million (over P300 million), the auction house said.

The retro acoustic-electric 1959 Martin D-18E that Cobain strummed for Nirvana’s career-defining performance in New York, just five months before he took his own life at age 27, sold after a bidding war to Peter Freedman, founder of RODE Microphones, Julien’s Auctions said.


At $6.01 million after fees and commission, the instrument was the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, among other records. The starting estimate was $1 million (over P50 million).

Freedman said he plans to display the guitar in a worldwide tour, with proceeds going to benefit performing arts.


“When I heard that this iconic guitar was up for auction, I immediately knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure it and use it as a vehicle to spotlight the struggles that those in the performing arts are facing and have always faced,” the Australian was quoted as saying by Julien’s Auctions.

The guitar was sold with its case, which Cobain had decorated with a flyer from punk rock band Poison Idea’s 1990 album “Feel the Darkness”.

Until now, the most expensive guitar in history was a Fender Stratocaster, dubbed “Black Strat”, used by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. It had been sold by the musician for nearly $4 million (over P200 million) during a charity sale in June 2019.

Nirvana’s acoustic performance during the taping for the popular MTV Unplugged series on November 18, 1993 became what is considered one of history’s greatest live albums.

It included renditions of Nirvana’s hits “About A Girl” and “Come As You Are”, along with covers which include David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World”.

In October 2019, Cobain’s cigarette-singed cardigan worn during the “Unplugged” performance sold for $334,000 (about P16.7 million). JB


The Philippine Department of Health has said that every case of suicide is a tragedy that can be avoided. Thus, people who feel that they may be suffering from mental health and need help may call Hopeline hotlines:

  • 804-HOPE (4673)
  • 0917-558-HOPE (4673), or
  • 2919 (toll-free number for Globe and TM subscribers)


Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ cigarette-burned cardigan heading to auction

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TAGS: acoustic-electric guitar, Auctions, David Bowie, Fender Stratocaster, guitars, Julien’s Auctions, Kurt Cobain, MTV Unplugged, Nirvana, Pink Floyd
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