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Kurt Cobain’s Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar sells for a staggering $4.55m to Colts owner Jim Irsay

Kurt Cobain’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar has sold for a staggering $4.55milliom after a bidding war won by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.

The Nirvana frontman played the blue and white 1969 Fender Mustang left-handed guitar to record the band’s seminal 1991 grunge anthem.

The electric guitar was also used by the tragic rock star in the music video for the song.

Kurt Cobain’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar has sold for a staggering $4.55milliom after a bidding war won by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay

The Nirvana frontman played the blue and white 1969 Fender Mustang left-handed guitar to record the band's seminal 1991 grunge anthem

The Nirvana frontman played the blue and white 1969 Fender Mustang left-handed guitar to record the band’s seminal 1991 grunge anthem

Indianapolis Colts owner Irsay, 62, who is worth an estimated $3.5billion, is a major guitar collector

Indianapolis Colts owner Irsay, 62, who is worth an estimated $3.5billion, is a major guitar collector

The instrument, which Cobain acquired from a Los Angeles guitar shop in 1990, was later used in many live Nirvana performances.

The guitar, case and strap sold for seven times its £500,000 estimate with Julien’s Auctions, of California, US.

Cobain said of it in his final interview with Guitar World: ‘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.’

The instrument, which Cobain acquired from a Los Angeles guitar shop in 1990, was later used in many live Nirvana performances

The instrument, which Cobain acquired from a Los Angeles guitar shop in 1990, was later used in many live Nirvana performances

The instrument, which Cobain acquired from a Los Angeles guitar shop in 1990, was later used in many live Nirvana performances

The guitar, case and strap sold for seven times its £500,000 estimate with Julien's Auctions, of California, US

The guitar, case and strap sold for seven times its £500,000 estimate with Julien’s Auctions, of California, US

Irsay, 62, who is worth an estimated $3.5billion, is a major guitar collector, having bought instruments previously owned by Elvis Presley, George Harrison, Prince, Bob Dylan and David Gilmour, among others.

He said: ‘I am thrilled to preserve and protect another piece of American culture that changed the way we looked at the world.’

The Cobain family will donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale to a mental health initiative run by the Irsays, Kicking The Stigma.

Cobain committed suicide in 1994 aged 27.

The auctioneers said the sale of Cobain’s guitar was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event.

Darren Julien, chief executive officer of Julien’s Auctions, said: ‘To have this legendary guitar, one of the most culturally significant and historically important guitars of Kurt Cobain and in all of rock music history to return to Indiana to be part of Jim Irsay’s renowned memorabilia collection is a great honour and personal highlight of my life.

‘This once-in-a-lifetime auction has been one of the greatest privileges in my professional career and I’m duly pleased that the proceeds will also bring much needed attention to mental health awareness.’

Cobain's acoustic guitar from Nirvana's iconic 1993 'MTV Unplugged in New York' performance sold for a record-breaking $6 million at auction in June 2020; seen in 1993

Cobain’s acoustic guitar from Nirvana’s iconic 1993 ‘MTV Unplugged in New York’ performance sold for a record-breaking $6 million at auction in June 2020; seen in 1993

Nevermind, the band’s second album, has sold over 30million copies worldwide.

Previously, Cobain’s acoustic guitar from Nirvana’s iconic 1993 MTV Unplugged in New York performance sold for a record-breaking $6million at auction in June 2020.

The 1959 Martin D-18E – which was often out of tune – was expected to fetch between $1million and $2 million at the online ‘Music Icons’ sale hosted by Julien’s Auctions, but it ended up breaking the record for the most expensive guitar.

The lot came with the guitar case the Smells Like Teen Spirit group’s late frontman used, which has a poster of Poison Idea’s album Feel the Darkness on it, whilst inside is a bunch of guitar strings, picks and a ‘stash’ bag.

Kurt married Courtney Love of Hole fame in 1992; together they had daughter Frances Bean who is now 27-years-old. 


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