The guitar that Kurt Cobain used during the now legendary “MTV Unplugged” gig netted a record $6 million according to Julien’s Auctions. The previous record was at $3.95 million for David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame’s Black Stratocaster.
Enthusiasts and fans of Nirvana and Cobain were expecting a new record to be set, as the bid already topped $1 million even before the auction began. This particular guitar was 1959 Martin D-18E that Cobain had personally painted.
The highest bidder was revealed to be Peter Freedman, the founder of RODE Microphones. Like all other activities in the era of Covid-19, bidders from all around the globe participated in the auction physically, online and by phone.
Freedman was physically present at Beverley Hills, where the auction took place. He has indicated that he will display the guitar in exhibitions around galleries and art museums, where all the profits will be donated to support performing arts.
In a statement that was given via the auction host, Freedman said he hoped to use Cobain’s guitar as a symbol and message to tell the world about the difficulties and challenges that the performing arts faces.
Freedman said that the recent months have proved especially devastating for struggling artists, not only because many of them have suffered financially, but also because the lack of support has cemented the notion that their industry is not one that receives support in times of hardship.
Along with the guitar, the original guitar case that Cobain himself designed along with airline tickets and stickers that were attached when Cobain carried the guitar around were sold together in the auction.
This particular guitar holds a special place for many fans of Cobain and the music he has left behind. Cobain gave a fantastic performance in a live taping of the MTV Unplugged series on November 18th, 1993. It was five months before his death.
It marks a meaningful start for Nirvana and Cobain’s unplugged gigs, which reached its peak in the “MTV Unplugged in New York” performance. The album topped the US Billboard Charts and also received a Grammy Award.
At the same time, the transaction can leave a bitter taste to some fans as it has been reported that Courtney Love, Cobain’s widow, and his daughter Frances had refused and rejected futilely to stop the guitar from being sold.
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