Late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s smashed Fender Stratocaster guitar has sold at auction for an eye-catching $595,000, despite being unplayable.
The black, left-handed electric guitar fetched nearly 10 times its estimated value during a three-day auction of rock music memorabilia that was held at the Hard Rock Café in Manhattan over the weekend, reported CNN Style.
The instrument was heavily damaged while Nirvana was recording their seminal “Nevermind” album in the early 1990s.
The reassembled but still unplayable guitar features signatures of the grunge band’s three members — Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic.
It also includes a handwritten inscription by Cobain addressing Mark Lanegan, the lead singer of the band Screaming Trees. Lanegan died in Feb. 2022 at age 57.
Written in a silver marker, the message reads: “Hell-O Mark! Love, your pal Kurt Cobain/Washed up rock star.”
The guitar’s neck plate also displays an engraving that reads “Boddah Lives” — a reference to Cobain’s childhood imaginary friend.
According to Julien’s Auctions, which staged the sale, Cobain gifted the guitar to Lanegan during Nirvana’s “Nevermind” tour in 1992.
Cobain died by suicide at his home in Seattle in April 1994 at the age of 27.
Also sold at the auction this weekend was Nirvana’s set list from the band’s debut performance of their breakthrough hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” during an April 17, 1991 concert at OK Hotel in Seattle.
The set list, believed to have been penned by Grohl on the back of a flyer advertising music lessons, fetched $50,800 — 12 times the original valuation of $4,000.
An oversized poster of the famed “Nevermind” album cover sold at auction for $10,400.
Other noteworthy artifacts sold at the Julien’s auction included guitars played by Bono and Eddie Van Halen, a chunky gold opal-and-diamond ring worn by Elvis Presley during his Las Vegas residency, and Freddie Mercury’s New York Yankees bomber jacket.
In 2020, a 1959 Martin D-18E guitar played by Cobain during his legendary 1993 “MTV Unplugged” performance became the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, fetching $6 million.