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Cobain's MTV Unplugged guitar can be yours for $1m


The acoustic guitar played by Kurt Cobain up for auction

The acoustic guitar played by Kurt Cobain up for auction

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The acoustic guitar played by Kurt Cobain up for auction

The acoustic guitar played by Kurt Cobain on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged session, just five months before his death, is expected to fetch at least $1m at an auction.

The 1959 Martin D-18E guitar that Cobain played for the November 1993 live taping is going up for sale at an event held by Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills next month.

It comes with its battered case, whose storage compartment contains a small suede bag where the musician is alleged to have stashed the heroin that he was addicted to in his final years.

The Nirvana frontman was found dead, aged 27, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Seattle home in April 1994.


The guitar "has earned its rightful place in history as the instrument played by one of rock's most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time", said Julien's chief executive, Darren Julien.

The album, MTV Unplugged in New York, featuring acoustic versions of tracks like About a Girl, Apologies and a cover version of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World, was released after Cobain's death, topped the Billboard charts and won a Grammy. An olive green cardigan worn by Cobain for the session sold for $334,000 (¤308,000) at auction in October 2019 in what Julien's said was a world record for a cardigan.

The $1m expected for the guitar is just a starting estimate, Julien's said.

The world record for a guitar was set in June 2019 when Pink Floyd musician David Gilmour's black Fender Stratocaster sold for $3.9m in New York.

Other Cobain items in the June 19-20 auction will include a Fender Stratocaster guitar he used on Nirvana's 1994 In Utero tour (estimated at $60,000-$80,000), a metallic silver lame shirt worn for the 1993 music video for Heart-shaped Box ($10,000-$20,000) and the typed set list he used for the MTV session ($4,000-$6,000).

All the items come from various people who worked with Cobain or were associated with his family, Julien's said.

Cobain's acoustic guitar will be placed on public display at the Hard Rock Cafe in London's Piccadilly Circus from Friday.