Kurt Cobain’s smashed and signed Nirvana guitar sells for almost $600,000

The busted Strat was expected to sell for a tenth of that amount at Saturday’s auction.

Kurt Cobain's smashed Fender Stratocaster

Image: Frederic J. Brown / Mick Hutson / Getty Images

A guitar smashed by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain during the band’s Nevermind era has sold for nearly $600,000.

The black lefty Fender Stratocaster was expected to fetch an estimated $60,000, but ended up going for almost ten times the price at $595,000, an amount the auction house called “astounding”.

Julien’s Auctions director Kody Frederick told AFP that the guitar has been put back together, but is no longer in playable condition. It does, however, feature autographs by all three members of the band, as well as a note from Cobain to his friend Mark Lanegan (of Screaming Trees) that read “Hell-O Mark! Love, your Pal, Kurdt Kobain / Washed up rockstar”.

The grunge legend reportedly gave the guitar to Lanegan during the North American leg of Nirvana’s Nevermind tour in 1992.

Kurt Cobain's smashed Fender Stratocaster
Image: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Getty Images

“You can see here the break that took place as he slammed down the guitar, where the neck here kind of connects, as well as down here on the bottom where he slammed the guitar down,” Frederick said.

“Kurt Cobain, when he was on stage, when he played, he was a machine. The man was angry, and you could feel that on stage. And you would feel that by the way he would treat his instruments.

“This broken element, in a strange way, from this broken musician, really defined this rough and tumble era of music.”

The three-day auction by Julien’s, held at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City, also featured memorabilia from music legends like Eddie Van Halen, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Bill Wyman and Janet Jackson.

Learn more at julienslive.com


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