Nirvana had no idea what kind of seismic change they unleashed on the music world when they released their hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in 1991. It would go on to become one of the most iconic songs and music videos of all time, launching the alternative grunge era of the 1990s. Kurt Cobain’s legendary 1969 Fender Mustang electric guitar from Nirvana’s seminal 1991 music video “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was recently auctioned off and it fetched a fortune.

The mythical instrument was auctioned off for nearly $5 million at Julien’s Auctions. The bidding war was among collectors from all over the world who participated in the online and over-the-phone auction. It was ultimately sold to the Jim Irsay Collection of Indianapolis.

According to Variety, the guitar sold for $4.5 million, greatly exceeding its original estimate of $600,000. Cobain mentioned the guitar in his final interview with Guitar World. He said that this 1969 Fender Mustang left-handed guitar in “competition lake placid blue” paint with matching headstock was one of his favorite go-to guitars.

I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars. But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite. I’ve only owned two of them.

The guitar was also used in the studio throughout the recording sessions for “Nevermind” and “In Utero,” as well as countless notable live performances. It was shot and selected for the coveted “Guitar Collection” at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, now dubbed MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture.

The Cobain family will donate a share of the earnings from the guitar sale and other select Cobain items to Kicking The Stigma, the Irsays’ campaign to promote awareness about mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with these illnesses, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Other highlights of the auction included Madonna’s pink Marilyn Monroe-inspired gown and accessories, which sold for $287,500; Johnny Cash’s 1956 Martin brand, model D-21 acoustic guitar, which sold for an incredible $437,500; Waylon Jennings’ custom Fender Telecaster, which sold for $179,200; and Bruce Springsteen’s handwritten lyrics to “Born to Run,” which sold for $44,800.

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Gunjan Nath

In search of simplicity and inner peace, Gunjan is basically a guy soldiering through his paranoia. You could say Art, Witty/Dark Humor, Movies, Anime, Post-rock/Black Metal/Hip-Hop/Shoegaze Music, Football, Creative Writing, Photography, Videography are his forte. A Jack of All Trades and a Master of Many.

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