American musician Kurt Kobain's popular guitar used in the music video 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was auctioned for approximately $4.5 million at Julien's Auctions. It is a 1969 Fender Mustang electric guitar. The music video released in 1991 played an important role in the rock band Nirvana's rise.
The instrument was sold to the Jim Irsay Collection of Indianapolis after a heated bidding war from people all over the world. The guitar was originally estimated to be worth $600,000, reported Variety.
Being one of the most influential musicians in alternative rock, Cobain's guitar is a symbol as it was used in many significant live performances in his career. He also used it in the recording studio for songs 'Nevermind' and 'In Utero'.
Cobain has said the Fender Mustang is his favourite because it is not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars. The singer was left-handed. "Out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite. I've only owned two of them". His 1969 Fender Mustang had a lake placid blue finish with matching headstock.
The guitar was previously displayed at Seattle's Experience Music Project (also known as MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture). The Cobain family decided to donate a portion of the money from the guitar sale and other select items of the singer to mental health campaigns. The funds will be used for 'The Stigma', the Irsays' initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders. Cobain had struggled with depression and drug addiction in the last years of his life.
Darren Julien, president and chief executive officer of Julien's Auctions, said the legendary guitar is one of the most culturally and historically significant instruments. "To return it to my home state of Indiana to be part of Jim Irsay's renowned memorabilia collection is a great honour and personal highlight of my life".
He added that the proceeds will bring attention to mental health awareness. The singer died from suicide at the age of 27 after suffering from personal and professional pressures of fame.
Singer's sister Kim Cobain also sold his 1965 'Baby Blue' Dodge Dart 170 4-door sedan after owning it for 28 years. It was sold for $375,000. Two artworks drawn by Cobain were also sold for $35,200 and $87,500. Another guitar 'MTV Unplugged' 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar was sold at the auction. It fetched $6 million and became one of the most expensive guitars ever sold at an auction.