You can own one of Kurt Cobain’s old guitars, but don’t expect to strum power chords on it.
One of the Nirvana frontman’s broken axes will headline Julien’s Auctions’ Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll auction, which begins November 11. In total, more than 1,500 pieces of rock and roll memorabilia will be offered by the auction house, but the Cobain guitar is one of the most spectacular pieces available. The 1973 Fender Mustang was played, smashed and signed by Nirvana frontman in 1989. On tour for the band’s debut album, Bleach, Nirvana has performed in small venues across the country. At Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, Cobain destroyed the guitar during a performance of “Blew” on July 9 of that year.
After the show, Cobain traded the guitar to Sluggo Cawley of the band Hullabaloo. Before passing it, he inscribed it with “Yo Sluggo/Thanks for the trade/If it’s illegal to do Rock and Roll, then throw my ass in jail/Nirvana”. Now re-glued, the guitar is expected to cost between $200,000 and $400,000.
In addition to this Cobain paraphernalia, Julien’s offers a host of items that hold a special place in rock and roll history. A pair of John Lennon’s signature wire-rimmed glasses, often referred to as his “grandmother” glasses, are expected to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000. The specific pair on the auction block has been photo-associated with the late Beatle and serves as a lasting reminder of his signature style. And a Wm. Knabe & Co. grand piano once owned by Bob Dylan could sell for between $50,000 and $70,000. The Louis XV instrument was played by Dylan at his home in Woodstock, New York, and photos from 1968 show him composing songs and entertaining his children.
A number of rare items will also be up for grabs, including a sky blue 1949 Cadillac Series 62 convertible owned by Neil Young ($100,000 to $150,000), a car of which only 8,000 models were made. A black-and-white framed print featuring Tupac Shakur’s handprints and signature ($100,000-$200,000) will be auctioned for the first time ever, with items from the rapper’s personal life particularly hard to come by . And the acoustic guitar with which Don McLean wrote and recorded “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” will also be sold publicly for the first time, with an estimated price between $200,000 and $400,000.
Elsewhere in the catalog, you can expect items from Elvis, Prince, Amy Winehouse, Madonna and more. It’s a real rock-and-roll dream, which can become your reality if you have the money to make the winning bid.