Kurt Cobain’s smashed black Fender Stratocaster fetches ‘astounding’ near-$600k at auction
Kurt Cobain’s smashed black Fender Stratocaster fetched an “astounding” sum of nearly $600,000 at auction.
The battered guitar was destroyed as Nirvana were working on their break-out album ‘Nevermind’ in the early 1990s and was sold at the Hard Rock Café in New York after it was projected to sell for a fraction of the final amount.
Kody Frederick from Julien’s Auctions said about the way late rocker Kurt, who took his life aged 27 on 5 April 1994: “The man was angry, and you could feel that on stage. And you would feel that by the way he would treat his instruments.
The Fender went on sale with an estimated price of $60,000 to $80,000, with Julien’s calling the closing bid of $596,900 “astounding”.
Its shattered pieces were meticulously reassembled, although it is now non-functional.
The instrument is signed by all three Nirvana band members in a silver marker and features an affectionate inscription by Kurt to his friend and musical collaborator Mark Lanegan, who died last year aged 57, with no cause of death being revealed.
Kurt – who often misspelt his own name, signed the instrument ‘Kurdt Kobain’ – adding novelty value to the lot.
The rocker gave the guitar to Mark during the North American leg of Nirvana's 1992 ‘Nevermind’ tour.
Two years ago, the acoustic guitar Cobain used for his legendary MTV Unplugged performance in late 1993 sold for $6 million.
The smashed guitar was sold by Julien’s during a three-day sale that included memorabilia from other music legends including Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Janet Jackson and Dolly Parton.
It reached the near-$600,000 bid days after Kurt’s ex-wife Courtney Love, with whom he had daughter Frances Bean, 30, faced a claim she once groped a reporter without consent.
The ‘Hole’ rocker is said by journalist Frank Elaridi to have touched him around “six years ago”.
The reporter, who works mainly for ABC programs and digital platforms — said on his ‘Quite Frankly’ podcast the incident took place at Coachella when he was covering the music festival for ‘Nightline’.