Kurt Cobain’s blue Fender Mustang from Smells Like Teen Spirit to go on auction next month

The “electric guitar that changed music and the world” is expected to fetch up to $800,000.

The iconic blue Mustang played by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in the band’s seminal hit Smells Like Teen Spirit will be auctioned for the very first time next month.

The 1969 left-handed Lake Placid Blue finish Fender Mustang that Cobain jammed out to in the music video will go under the hammer during Julien’s Auctions’ three-day Music Icons auction event from 20-22 May. The guitar is expected to fetch between $600,000 to $800,000 – though the auction house noted “that’s a very conservative auction estimate.”

In honour of the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Month in May, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this guitar and select Cobain memorabilia will go towards the mental health initiative Kicking The Stigma.

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Cobain's Fender Mustang Guitar
Image: Julien’s Auctions

Cobain once told Guitar World in a 1992 interview that “out of all the guitars in the whole world”, Fender Mustangs were his favourite, and that he owned two of them.

The guitar, which has remained with the Cobain family since Cobain’s passing in 1994, will come with its original case and strap.

In addition to the guitar, Julien’s Auctions will offer an exclusive NFT (non-fungible token) of the Fender Mustang along with a narration from Cobain’s long-time guitar tech, Earnie Bailie.

The auction will also feature other collectables, including an original Kurt Cobain artwork of Michael Jackson (est. $40,000) and one of his cars, a 1965 Dodge Dart, which is expected to fetch between $400,000 to $600,000.

Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions, described the guitar as “one of the most iconic guitars ever to come to the auction block” and it is no wonder considering the legacy Smell Like Teen Spirit has left in rock history. Last year, Rolling Stone ranked the song fifth on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time while the song’s music video has garnered more than 1.4 billion views on YouTube to date.

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The auction will take place at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe and online.

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