Beverly Hills, California – (April 11th, 2022) – Julien’s Auctions, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars, has announced that the Fender Mustang electric guitar played by Kurt Cobain in Nirvana’s iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video will be publicly sold for the first time at auction as part of their MUSIC ICONS three-day auction event taking place on Friday, May 20th, Saturday, May 21st, and Sunday, May 22nd 2022 live at Hard Rock Cafe® New York and online at juliensauctions.com.
In honor of the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Month in May, a portion of the proceeds from the auction of this legendary guitar and select Kurt Cobain items will benefit “Kicking The Stigma,” the Indianapolis Colts and the Jim Irsay family’s national initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders and to remove the stigma too often associated with these illnesses.
In Cobain’s final interview with Guitar World, he spoke about his go-to guitar: “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. I’ve only owned two of them." The guitar has prominently been on display at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, now named MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture, for the past 12 years and was also photographed and selected for the prestigious, The Guitar Collection, the high-end, limited collector’s edition photography hardcover book featuring 150 of the most elite guitars of all time including guitars played and used by legends John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Emmylou Harris, and more.
Another exciting auction highlight will be Cobain’s 1965 Dodge Dart 170 4-door sedan – the only known surviving car that was owned and driven by the famed musician (photo above). The lovingly named “Baby Blue” is conservatively estimated at $400,000 - $600,000 and will be accompanied with an exclusive NFT from the Collection of Kurt’s sister Kim Cobain who has owned the car for the last 28 years. The light blue Dodge, was detailed in the 1994 book Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross, such as in this extract: “Kurt and Courtney were quarreling when they took a cab to the American Dream car lot. He bought a 1965 sky blue Dodge Dart for $2,500.” Kurt was not interested in a conspicuous vehicle, even as a famous musician and this car would serve as more than just a form of transportation, as he saw art in the design of older vehicles. Kim purchased the car from Courtney Love following Kurt’s death, and the vehicle retains much of its originality to this day. The roadworthy vehicle has a new water pump, gas tank, heater core and repairs made to the radiator, in which Kim personally worked on alongside her mechanic.
Also included with the Dodge Dart is the vehicle's original license plates, and a vehicle title showing ownership by Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love (photo above).
Another artifact related to the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" lore will be an NFT of Kurt Cobain's iconic personally owned and worn green Fetalini striped short-sleeve sweater that was featured in Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video (estimate: $6,000 - $8,000). The 100% acrylic medium sized sweater has stayed in the Cobain family since ownership by Kurt and was gifted to his mother after completion of the music video and accompanying performances. The exclusive NFT of the sweater will be brought to life through Kim Cobain's exclusive audio narration, which is minted as part of this NFT. A 360° digital representation of the sweater, this NFT is a 1 of 1 Edition of the physical item and does not include the physical item owned by Kim Cobain. The winner of this item will share in that exclusivity of Cobain history as the sole owner of the NFT.
An exceptional NFT offering from the collection of Kim Cobain will be a 360° digital representation with her exclusive audio narration about a pair of black canvas Converse Jack Purcell shoes that were owned and worn by Kurt Cobain (estimate: $2,000 - $4,000) with the left shoe that reads "Fuhgawz" and the right shoe "Foogauzie". It is rumored that Cobain wrote "Fuhgawz" on his left shoe in reference to Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam who purposely misspelled "Fugazi" on his shirt before a photo shoot. The shoes can be seen worn in many photographs and videos of Kurt Cobain, most notably at the 1993 MTV Music Awards. This NFT is a 1 of 1 Edition of the physical item and does not include the physical item. Kim Cobain is the owner of the physical item. The winner of this item will share in that exclusivity of Cobain history as the sole owner of the NFT.
Other exceptional Kurt Cobain highlights include (with estimates):
Kurt Cobain’s personally drawn 1985 Iron Maiden “Killers” skateboard deck artwork featuring the Iron Maiden mascot "Eddie" plus NFT ($20,000 - $40,000) (photo above). During this time, Kurt aimed to create custom artwork on skateboard decks and t-shirts as a way of earning money. In a letter of authenticity, a friend of the skateboard's owner who witnessed the artwork being completed noted that, "Kurt was staying at my parent's house on 1st Street in Aberdeen, Washington", and this is where he created this piece. An exclusive NFT from the collection of Kim Cobain, featuring a 360° digital representation of the skateboard deck with exclusive audio narration by Kim Cobain accompanies the sale of the physical item.
Cobain’s original artwork of Michael Jackson plus NFT ($40,000 - $60,000). His drawing of Michael Jackson wearing a red jacket, single white glove and sunglasses features Cobain's signature in the lower right corner. An exclusive NFT from the collection of Kim Cobain, featuring an animated digital representation of the artwork with Kim Cobain's exclusive audio narration accompanies the sale of the physical item. (photo above)
Cobain’s personally owned Pokey toy, the bendable figure from the clay animation series Gumby inscribed with "Nirvana" on one side ($2,000 - $3,000). (photo above)
Cobain's personally owned all access tour pass for the Nirvana August 1992 Nevermind album tour featuring the now iconic cover art from the Nevermind album as well as the writing, "Aust. Tour '92/ Access All Areas" ($1,000 - $2,000).
Cobain’s personal Nevermind travel itinerary, Nirvana backstage pass, Planet Ticket stub and more (range each lot $300 - $2,000).
Cobain's personally owned all access pass from the Nirvana In Utero concert tour in 1993 ($1,000 - $2,000).
Cobain’s original United Airlines boarding pass for a flight from Seattle, Washington to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois on April 20th (year of the flight unknown). ($400 - $600)
A Nirvana Nevermind tour schedule book for their Australian Tour in 1992 that was personally owned by Kurt Cobain. This schedule book highlights show and flight schedules, accommodations, venue details and daily itineraries, a diagram of the first Big Day Out in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, January 25, 1992 showing details such as restroom locations, T-shirt vendors, food and skate ramp locations ($1,000 - $2,000).
“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.” Julien added, “Rarely do personally owned items from Kurt Cobain with this incredible and unprecedented provenance of his life and career become available for public sale. This remarkable collection consisting of one dazzling and profound prized possession after another plays like the ultimate Kurt Cobain catalog with items offered such as his beloved Dodge Dart car to his original artwork to his rare Nirvana keepsakes, as well as unique NFT collectibles from his sister and guitar tech.”
“Kurt Cobain was as great an artistic and cultural force as any performer in the last 30 years, and this auction celebrates his and Nirvana’s indelible contributions to rock music and popular culture,” said Jim Irsay, Owner & CEO of the Indianapolis Colts, and founder of The Jim Irsay Collection, which includes some of the world’s greatest artifacts from music, pop culture and American history. “We are humbled and grateful that a portion of this auction’s proceeds will benefit Kicking The Stigma and our efforts to bring the issue of mental health out of the darkness and into the light.” (photo left: Cobain’s All Access Australia tour pass)
The Irsays launched Kicking The Stigma in late 2020 to raise awareness about mental health disorders and remove the stigma often associated with these illnesses. Through national PSAs, poignant digital content from athletes, celebrities and influencers, and the newly-created Kicking The Stigma Action Grants, the effort has gained national attention by shining a light and normalizing the conversation surrounding mental health. Through grants and personal donations by the Irsays, more than $16 million has been committed to raise awareness and help nonprofits and other organizations expand mental health treatment and research in Indiana and beyond. For more information, visit Colts.com/KTS.
Julien’s Auctions made headlines worldwide with its sale of Kurt Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar, which sold for $6 million in 2020 making it the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold at auction and garnered Julien’s its third Guinness Book of World Record placement. Julien’s has broken records with the sale of Kurt Cobain’s memorabilia including Cobain’s cardigan worn on MTV Unplugged in New York, which sold for a record $334,000, his In Utero tour Fender Mustang guitar which sold for $340,000, a self-portrait caricature drawing by Cobain of himself playing guitar signed "Kurdt Kobain Rock Star" which sold for over $281,000, his cardigan worn on his last photoshoot which sold for $75,000 and a Nirvana paper plate set list written in Cobain’s handwriting which sold for a record $22,400. (photo right: Cobain’s In Utero 1993 all access concert tour pass)
Fans can also have a chance to view these rock’n’roll artifacts at Julien’s Auctions Gallery in Beverly Hills from April 11th-15th, in the window display of the Hard Rock Cafe ® Piccadilly Circus, London April 28th-May 3rd then at Hard Rock Café in Times Square New York May 16th-20th before the auction.
UK & U.S. EXHIBITION TOUR
Free to the Public
257 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Monday, April 11th -Friday, April 15th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time Daily
Free to the public
Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus
Free to the Public: Daily: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time
Hard Rock Cafe New York
1501 Broadway-Times Square
New York, NY 10036
Monday, May 16th, 2022 – Friday, May 20th
11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time daily
Free to the public
JULIEN’S AUCTIONS LIVE AUCTION LOCATION
Hard Rock Cafe New York
1501 Broadway-Times Square