Kurt Cobain’s “Smells like teen spirit” guitar up for auction

Kurt Cobain's “Smells like teen spirit” guitar up for auction Source: Julien's auctions

The original guitar used by Kurt Cobain to play the massive Nirvana hit “Smells like teen spirit”, is up for auction in the United States.

The iconic 1969 Fender Mustang Competition is just one of over 1,200 pieces being auctioned off by artists at the three day Music Icons Auction in New York at the end of May.

Auction house Julien’s Auction said that it is the first time that Cobain’s guitar is being offered on auction and that they expect to receive around $800,000 (738,000 euros). A portion of the proceeds will benefit an aid organisation for the mentally ill.

The left-handed 1969 Fender Mustang Competition in Lake Placid Blue with matching headstock was made famous by Kurt Cobain after he used it in Nirvana’s video for the song “Smells like teen spirit”.

Cobain, who took his own life under tragic circumstances at the age of 27, changed grunge music forever. Still revered today, the tragic circumstances surrounding his death when his fame was growing makes the guitar even more valuable.

According to the guitarist and frontman’s biography, he was struggling to cope with fame..

Other Cobain memorabilia in the auction include his 1965 Dodge Dart vehicle (estimate $600,000 – 553,000 euros) and a Cobain-painted skateboard (estimate $40,000 – 36,000 euros).

Another of Cobain’s guitars was auctioned by Julien’s in 2020, a 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar, fetched over $6 million (5.5 million euros). That guitar was used in the legendary “MTV Unplugged” performance in New York in 1993, five months before his death.

So if you are a Kurt Cobain or “Smells like teen spirit” fan and have some cash to spare then head on down the auction where you will be able to buy a little slice of history.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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