Last year in June, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour’s Black Strat Fender Stratocaster guitar became the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold, at a bid price of $3.97 million. This record has now been broken by grunge music icon and Nirvana’s lead guitarist Kurt Cobain’s recently auctioned guitar, which has been sold for $6,010,000. The guitar was last seen in action 26 years ago during Cobain’s famous MTV Unplugged live performance in New York.
This limited-edition electric-acoustic guitar Martin D-18E was listed as one of the highlight pieces by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California. Along with the guitar, the lot featured its original hard case, half-used pack of Martin & Co. strings, three picks and a velvet stash bag containing a silvertone knife, fork and spoon. The bid for this iconic, vintage collectable opened at $1 million. The winning bid was placed by Peter Freedman, Founder of RØDE Microphones from Australia.
The auctioned Martin D-18E smashed more world-records: It is now the most expensive acoustic guitar, the most expensive Martin guitar and the most expensive band memorabilia ever.
Interesting to note, in October 2019, the green cardigan worn by Cobain at the same MTV performance became the most expensive auctioned sweater, and was sold by Julien’s Auction’s for $334,000.
RØDE Microphones released an article on their official website, stating, “Mr. Freedman plans to display the guitar in a worldwide tour of exhibitions at distinguished art galleries and spaces, with all proceeds going to the performing arts.” It added a quote by Freedman, “I immediately knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure the guitar and use it as a vehicle to spotlight the struggles that those in the performing arts are facing and have always faced.”
The auction also included other items from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert—a handwritten lyric sheet by Curt Kirkwood and a letter addressed to Cobain by Nirvana’s management company.