Kurt Cobain’s Guitar Sells For $595,000

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Julien’s Auctions actioned off some of the most prized items from MUSIC ICONS this past weekend.

The auction included 1,200 pieces of music history from rock royalty owned and used by the likes of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Lifeson, Freddie Mercury, Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, KISS, Mötley Crüe, Tom Petty and more.

The headlining item at the auction was a lefty black Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, smashed by one of the most influential artists of all time, Kurt Cobain, during Nirvana’s seminal Nevermind era which sold for an astounding $595,000 nearly ten times its original estimate of $60,000.

Another Nirvana highlight was a setlist for their April 17, 1991 performance at OK Hotel in Seattle, Washington which sold for $50,800, twelves times its original estimate of $4,000. Believed to be handwritten by Dave Grohl, the set list marked the band’s debut performance of their breakthrough hit, “Smells like Teen Spirit” before its release.

Another sensational highlight was a circa 2002 Gretsch Irish Falcon electric guitar, stage-played by U2’s Bono which sold for $238,125. The guitar signed by all four members of U2 was donated by Bono when he was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2003. A devotee of the Gretsch 6196 Country Club, Bono commissioned ten Irish Falcon electric guitars from Gretsch in 2000.

Another guitar hero and his signature axe rocked the auction stage this weekend– Eddie Van Halen and his Charvel EVH Art Series 78 electric guitar­–which sold for $114,300. The 2004 red, black and white striped instrument was stage-played by Eddie Van Halen during the final concert of Van Halen’s 2007 & 2008 Tour featuring David Lee Roth who was back in the line-up for the first time since 1985. The performance where this guitar was used on stage was part of Quebec City’s Summer Festival on July 3, 2008.

Michael Jackson’s one of a kind, custom-made ensembles representing why he was not only The King of Pop but also The King of Style took center stage with the appearance of his custom made black-military-style-jacket with gold hardware embellishments, stage-worn by Jackson during the 1992-93 “Dangerous” World tour which sold for $117,000.

Other auction items sold:

  • 1987 candy apple red Signature Aurora electric guitar from the personal collection of Rush legend Alex Lifeson ($82,550)
  • 1973 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe electric guitar used by Lenny Kravitz in the early ’90s during his Let Love Rule period and 1990 John Lennon Memorial Concert ($52,000)
  • Right-handed Melody 500 acoustic guitar belonging to Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page circa 1960s-1970s ($63,500)
  • 1971 Zemaitis resonator acoustic guitar, custom-made for Ronnie Lane ($50,800)
  • Vintage 1959 Olympic white Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, owned and used by Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars from his early days with the band through 2002 ($45,500)

The inimitable style and larger than life persona of The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, reigned once again this weekend with his oversized 18K Gold fire opal and diamond ring owned and stage-worn circa 1970s during his Las Vegas residency dazzling the auction stage at $45,000.

Other items from the legendary icon included: Elvis Presley’s black Ray Ban reading glasses ($11,700); a14K Gold “TCB” pendant necklace given by Presley to the singer’s close friend, Cliff Gleaves, circa 1970s ($13,000); his Stetson western hat worn in his role as “Joe Lightcloud” in the 1968 film Stay Away Joe ($22,225); a custom-made corduroy waist-jacket worn by Presley in his role as “Guy Lambert” in the 1967 film Double Trouble ($25,400) and more.

Beatlemania swept across the auction stage with items related to the Fab Four’s most popular songs and iconic eras topping the charts such as: a music lyrics sheet of The Beatles’ song “Baby You’re a Rich Man” handwritten by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Mal Evans, which sold for an astounding $65,000 thirteen times its original estimate of $5,000; an original limited-edition brick from Abbey Road Studio Two in London, England ($11,700); an RIAA Certified Sales Gold® Record Award presented to The Beatles for the sale of more than one million copies of the iconic pop single “Help!” ($22,750), a Gold® Record Award presented to the The Beatles for selling more than one million copies of “Can’t Buy Me Love” ($19,500) and more.

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