KURT COBAIN's 1989 stage-played, smashed and signed guitar used on NIRVANA's first U.S. tour sells for $486,400
Julien’s Auctions, the auction house to the stars, held on Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13 their headline-making “Icons And Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll” auction featuring an incredible line-up of over 1,500 lots featuring memorabilia, wardrobe, musical equipment, jewelry and more from legendary musicians and pop culture icons Kurt Cobain, NIRVANA, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Prince, Neil Young, THE BEATLES, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, Steve Jobs, Steve Vai, Don McLean, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Eddie Van Halen, EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER, Tupac Shakur, LL Cool J, GUNS N’ ROSES, Lady Gaga, and more, sold in front of a live audience at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City and online with thousands of bidders, fans and collectors from around the world participating at juliensauctions.com.
One of the highly anticipated moments of the weekend was the sale of the 1973 Fender Mustang owned, stage-played, smashed and signed by NIRVANA frontman Kurt Cobain which was sold for an astounding $486,400 (original estimate: $200,000). The axe was used on NIRVANA‘s first U.S. tour at two performances in 1989–the first at Club Dreamerz in Chicago, Illinois on July 8, and the second at the Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania on July 9 — where Cobain smashed the guitar to pieces across the stage during the finale performance of “Blew”. Following that performance, the band stayed at Sluggo Cawley of the band HULLABALOO‘s apartment, where Cobain noticed a smashed Gibson SG hanging on Cawley‘s wall. Cobain offered to trade it for the Fender Mustang he had smashed on July 9 because he thought he could repair the Gibson SG well enough to smash it again later on. Sluggo agreed to the trade and had Cobain inscribe the Mustang, signing as NIRVANA and additionally drawing two flowers along the upper right portion of the pickguard before the band moved on to their next show. Along the lower portion of the body, the inscription reads, “Yo Sluggo / Thank for the trade/ If its illegal to Rock and Roll, then throw my ass in jail/ Nirvana.”
“Property From The Archives Of Steve Vai” excited metal and hard rock fans from around the world with the Grammy Award-winning icon’s epic guitars, wardrobe and showstopping ephemera from his legendary career roaring across the stage with incredible results. From Vai‘s jawdropping collection of electric guitars came a 2012 Ibanez electric guitar (“Evo IV,” SV28) that sold for $44,800; a 2011 Ibanez electric guitar with custom coral and blue finish (“Sofia,” SV 83) which brought $44,800; a circa 2018 prototype Ibanez Woody electric guitar (“Nauga,” SV 277) which sold for $12,800; a 1998 Ibanez Hoshino 90th Anniversary Model electric guitar (“Crystal Snow,” SV 152) that brought in $12,800 and more.
In partnership with Gibson Guitars, Julien’s Auctions proudly presented a number of blue and yellow Gibson Les Paul guitars as part of Gibson Gives‘s fundraising efforts to provide relief to Ukraine. Highlights included a Gibson Les Paul played by Slash (GUNS N’ ROSES, SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS) at a concert in Prague on June 18, 2022 signed and drawn with a skull in a top hat on the guitar by the rock legend which sold for $31,250, a Gibson Les Paul signed and played onstage by Slash which sold for $28,800 and a Gibson Les Paul played by Paul McCartney in support of Gibson Gives during his 2022 summer tour that brought in $76,800.
The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert Collection charity auction offered guitars, cymbals, drumheads, and a one-of-one custom 2022 Ram Rebel Crew Cab pickup truck (sold for $64,000) with unique badging, all signed by music legends who participated in the all-star concerts honoring the life and memory of FOO FIGHTERS legend Taylor Hawkins. The sale of these items will go towards MusiCares and Music Support. Highlights included (with winning bids): a Remo Ambassador drumhead signed by musicians Joe Walsh, Joan Jett, Stewart Copeland and others who performed at the September 27, 2022 Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles ($5,625); a Remo brand drumhead signed by musicians such as Elliot Easton, Stewart Copeland, Kesha, who performed at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in Los Angeles ($7,500); an EVH red, white, and black colored Van Halen guitar signed by numerous musicians such as Wolfgang Van Halen, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in Los Angeles ($11,520); a black John Paul Jones Signature Manson Electric Bass Guitar played by John Paul Jones during the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium in London, England, signed by John Paul Jones, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, Elliot Easton and many other artists who performed both at the Los Angeles concert and at the London concert with NFT ($21,875, eight times its estimate of $3,000); a cherry red Brian May guitar signed by Brian May, Dave Grohl, Brian Johnson, Chrissie Hynde, and many others at the September 3, 2022 Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in London ($21,8750); a metallic blue Gibson Trini Lopez electric guitar that is signed by musicians such as Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, Chrissie Hynde, and many others that performed during the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at the Kia Stadium in Los Angeles ($22,400) and more.
“All of the greats were well represented in Julien’s annual fall classic Icons & Idols Rock N’ Roll event and this year’s lineup produced one of our biggest auctions yet with over 1,500 exceptional artifacts sold,” said Martin Nolan, executive director/CFO of Julien’s Auctions. “Additionally, we were proud to help raise funds for charity with the proceeds of many of these incredible items going towards supporting Gibson Gives, MusiCares, Music Support, and others.”