Kurt Cobain’s iconic blue Fender Mustang fetches $4.5 million at auction

The guitar was featured in Nirvana’s music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit among other prominent live performances by the band.

Kurt Cobain Fender Mustang

Photo: Rob Pinney / Getty

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Yesterday (22 May), Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s blue Fender Mustang sold at auction for a whopping $4.5 million.

Bidding at Julien’s Auctions’ Music Icons event took place at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York’s Times Square between 20 May and 22 May.

The guitar was sold to American businessman and NFL club owner Jim Irsay. It will be added to his collection’s assembly of artefacts and other memorabilia from rock ‘n roll and pop culture.

Cobain’s beloved guitar was announced for sale back in April. The guitar, a 1969 Fender Competition Mustang in Lake Placid Blue, was estimated to fetch a “conservative” amount of between $600,000 to $800,000, but surpassed expectations greatly.

Irsay started bidding on the guitar at $2 million in May, later raising it to a winning bid of $4,550,000. Cobain family’s previously announced that they would be making a donation to Kicking the Stigma, a mental health initiative led by Irsay.

“I am thrilled to preserve and protect another piece of American culture that changed the way we looked at [the] world,” Irsay said in a statement.

“The fact that a portion of the proceeds will go toward our effort to kick the stigma surrounding mental health makes this acquisition even more special to me.”

The guitar was previously displayed at London’s Hard Rock Cafe prior to the auction and had been in possession of the Cobain family since the rocker’s passing.

It isn’t the first time the grunge icon’s instrument fetched millions at auction. In 2020, the 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric famously seen and heard on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert sold for $6 million, earning it the title of the most expensive guitar ever sold at a public auction.

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