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Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ Guitar Headed to Auction

1959 Martin D-18E has a starting estimate of $1 million

The 1959 Martin D-18E guitar Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana's famed 'MTV Unplugged' concert is headed to auction.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

The guitar Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana’s famed MTV Unplugged in New York concert is headed to auction with a starting estimate of $1 million.

The guitar will be part of the “Music Icons” sale at Julien’s Auctions, taking place June 19th and 20th in Beverly Hills and on the Julien’s Auctions website. Prior to the sale, the guitar will be on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly Circus, London, May 15th through 31st, and at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, June 15th through 19th.

The guitar is a 1959 Martin D-18E, and the auction lot also comes with the original hard-shell case that Cobain had adorned with a flyer for the band Poison Idea’s 1990 album, Feel the Darkness. (The case is also stamped with three baggage-claim ticket stubs and an Alaska Airlines sticker.) Inside the case is a half-used pack of Martin guitar strings, three picks, and a “suede ‘stash’ bag” that’s decorated with a small silver spoon, fork, and knife.

“This important guitar has earned its rightful place in rock & roll history as the instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time,” Darren Julien, president and CEO of the auction house, said in a statement.

Along with the Unplugged guitar, the “Music Icons” sale will feature other Nirvana lots, including a smashed Fender Strat Cobain used during the 1994 In Utero tour, the silver lamé shirt he wore in the “Heart-Shaped Box” video, the typed set list from the Unplugged concert, and the lyric sheets he used for “Plateau,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” and “Lake of Fire.” Last October, the cardigan Cobain wore during Unplugged sold at Julien’s Auctions for a record $334,000.

Julien’s Auctions