Kurt Cobain's 1969 Fender Mustang guitar, as well as a 1965 Dodge Dart belonging to the late Nirvana leader are only but a few of the items that will be auctioned off beginning May 20th by Julien's Auctions as part of their Music Icons event.
"This May, our Music Icons event representing the first sale of Kurt Cobain's mythic 1969 Fender electric guitar will be a once in a lifetime auction for the ages," said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien's Auctions. "To see this fabled guitar, one of the most culturally significant and historically important guitars not only of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana's legacy but in all of rock music history, come to our auction house has been one of our greatest privileges and most distinguished honors."
The guitar—a left-handed 1969 Fender Mustang in Competition Lake Placid Blue finish—is expected to receive opening bids between $600,000 and $800,000. It is the same guitar that Cobain can be seen playing in the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
The guitar is a rarity beyond its distinction of being a left-handed instrument. It's also a marvel in the sense that little of Cobain's personal belongings have become available in this setting and with such fanfare—a point not lost on the auction organizers. "Rarely do personally owned items from Kurt Cobain with this incredible and unprecedented provenance of his life and career become available for public sale," Julien noted in his remarks.
Cobain told Guitar World in one of his final interviews, "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 favorite." At the time, Cobain remarked that he'd only ever owned two guitars of the beloved model, adding another level of exclusivity to what is an already enticing collectible.
Also being auctioned off is Cobain's 1965 Dodge Dart, a rust bucket of an automobile that is said to be the only known surviving vehicle driven by Cobain. Its purchase was said to be a point of contention between Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love, and the car was later purchased from Love by Cobain's sister Kim. It still has its original Washington state license plates and vehicle title as proof of ownership. Other items of Cobain's featured in the auction include a skateboard with a hand-drawn image of Iron Maiden's "Eddie" mascot, and a painting Cobain made of Michael Jackson.
While the auction will run officially from May 20 through May 22, select items, including the Fender Mustang, will be available for viewing at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills beginning April 11 through April 15, and at the Hard Rock Café in New York City from May 16 through May 20. Please visit the Julien's Auctions website for more information.
As for Nirvana, a 30th Anniversary edition of Nevermind, complete with two live performances, was released last year. You can see the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and the storied Fender Mustang, below.