Kurt Cobain’s MTV Unplugged guitar smashes David Gilmour world record at auction

From Planet Rock.

Kurt Cobain’s iconic MTV Unplugged guitar has sold for a massive $6,010,000 (around £4.83 million) at auction and has obliterated FIVE world records in the process.

The late-great Nirvana frontman played the 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar for the band’s MTV Unplugged set at Sony Music Studios in New York City on 18th November 1993 – just five months before his untimely death aged 27.

The guitar went under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions Music Icons auction in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday (20th June) and sold for six times its estimate of one million US dollars.

In the process it set an astonishing five world records – World’s Most Expensive Guitar, World’s Most Expensive Acoustic Guitar, World’s Most Expensive Martin Guitar, World’s Most Expensive Piece of Memorabilia and World’s Most Expensive Nirvana Memorabilia.

David Gilmour’s fabled guitar, The Black Strat, previously set the world record for the World’s Most Expensive Guitar in June 2019 when it fetched $3,975,000 (£3,134,000) at Christie’s in New York as part of the David Gilmour Guitar Collection auction.

The buyer of Kurt Cobain’s guitar was Peter Freedman, Founder of RØDE Microphones, who plans to display the guitar at exhibitions in galleries around the globe, with all proceeds (including the guitar) going to the performing arts.

Peter Freedman with Kurt Cobain's MTV Unplugged guitarPeter Freedman © Julien’s Auctions

Peter Freedman with Kurt Cobain’s MTV Unplugged guitar

Peter Freedman says: “When I heard that this iconic guitar was up for auction, I immediately knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure it and use it as a vehicle to spotlight the struggles that those in the performing arts are facing and have always faced.”

He continues: “The global arts industry has been shattered by the impact of COVID-19, with musicians and artists being amongst the most affected. The last few months were the straw that broke the camel’s back, and for many in the arts brought forth the harsh reality that they work in an industry for which there is little support in times of need.”

“For most, access to financial and health services – particularly mental health services – is very limited. While many industries are gradually returning to normal, it’s going to take a long time before this industry can begin functioning as it was. The toll this has taken and will continue to take is enormous and requires more than just lip service. It requires action now, and I am a man of action.”

Commenting on MTV Unplugged, Freedman adds: “Nirvana’s ‘Unplugged’ is one of my favourite records of all time and easily one of the best live performances ever captured on film.

“They were a huge influence on me; the early-90s were RØDE’s formative years, and Nirvana’s music was very much the soundtrack to that time in my life and that era of the company.”

Kurt’s Cobain’s guitar was the seventh of only 302 D-18Es built by Martin and was customised by Kurt, who added a Bartolini pickup to the soundhole.

Kurt Cobain's guitar and caseKurt Cobain’s guitar and case

Kurt Cobain’s guitar and case

On top of the guitar, the item came with a hard-shell guitar case decorated by Kurt with a flyer of Poison Idea’s 1990 album ‘Feel the Darkness’, and it also features baggage reclaim ticket stubs.

Inside the case is Kurt’s half-used pack of Martin guitar strings, three guitar picks, and his suede “stash” bag decorated with a miniature silver spoon, fork, and knife.

‘MTV Unplugged in New York’ was released as an album on 1st November 1994 and sold almost 7 million copies in its first four months alone.

Explore eil.com & 991.com sister – the world’s best online store for rare, collectable & out of print Vinyl Records, CDs & Music memorabilia since 1987.

EIL.COM Favourite Music Update Rare CDs, CD Singles, Rare Records, Vinyl Records, Albums and Music

  • Nirvana (US) - Nevermind - 180gm - UK - vinyl LP - £24.99, $31.49, €29.24 (New Item) (arrived 29-Feb-2024 12:26)
    on March 1, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    NIRVANA Nevermind (2017 UK/EU 12-track LP pressed on 180gram Vinyl ['BG' in run-out] in the Back To Black series, the era-defining 1991 album including the hit singles Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, Lithium & In Bloom. Comeshoused in a deluxe replica picture sleeve complete with the illustrated credits inner. Although not sealed, both the sleeve and vinyl remain in near mint condition) #Top 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time

  • Nirvana (US) - In Utero 30 - Super Deluxe Edition 8-LP Box Set - Sealed - UK - vinyl box set - £249.99, $314.99, €292.49 (New Item) (arrived 19-Jan-2024 13:19)
    on March 1, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    NIRVANA In Utero (30th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition 2023 UK/EU 8-LP box set newly remastered and pressed on eight 180-gram black vinyl LPs. Featuring 72 tracks with 53 unreleased live versions from two concerts in Los Angeles 1993 and Seattle 1994, plus bonus Tracks and B-sides. Housed inside an elaborate die-cut side-opening box with an Angel Acrylic Panel, plus and angel mobile, fanzine, tour poster litho, 3 gig flyers, 2 ticket stubs, All Access tour laminate and 4 backstage passes. Hype sticker & factory sealed) #Top 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time

  • Nirvana (US) - In Utero - 30th Anniversary Edition - SHM-CD + Folder - Japanese - SHM CD - £49.99, $62.99, €58.49 (New Item) (arrived 04-Dec-2023 10:25)
    on March 1, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    NIRVANA In Utero (30th Anniversary 2023 Japanese Tower exclusive limited edition remastered 26-track Double SHM-CD [Super High Material CD - playable on all CD players] set. Featuring the original album newly remastered by the original album engineer Bob Weston, along with a bonus 14-track disc of previously unreleased live recordings. Housed in a fold-out card picture sleeve with lyrics & obi-strip. Remains in a brand-new shop bought condition in the unopened stickered resealable bag. This also includes a 'Not For Sale' custom printed multi purpose 12" x 8½" PVC folder, available exclusively from Tower Records stores in Japan only! UICY-16192/3) #Top 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time

  • Nirvana (US) - Nirvana - 180gram 45rpm - UK - 2-LP vinyl set - £34.99, $44.09, €40.94 (New Item) (arrived 07-Dec-2023 12:00)
    on March 1, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    NIRVANA Nirvana (Deluxe Edition 2015 UK/EU 14-track remastered double album 2-LP pressed on 180-gram audiophile quality black vinyl at 45RPM. First released in 2002 this posthumous collection features classic album tracks plus the previously unavailable You Know You're Right and the Sub Pop single Sliver. Housed inside a black hype-stickered gatefold picture sleeve with NIRVANA silver-foil debossed across the front. The sleeve shows some minor scuffs and vinyl remains in Near Mint condition)

  • Nirvana (US) - Nirvana - 180gram 45rpm - UK - 2-LP vinyl set - £34.99, $44.09, €40.94 (New Item) (arrived 07-Dec-2023 17:00)
    on March 1, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    NIRVANA Nirvana (Deluxe Edition 2015 UK/EU 14-track remastered double album 2-LP pressed on 180-gram audiophile quality black vinyl at 45RPM. First released in 2002 this posthumous collection features classic album tracks plus the previously unavailable You Know You're Right and the Sub Pop single Sliver. Housed inside a black hype-stickered gatefold picture sleeve with NIRVANA silver-foil debossed across the front. The sleeve shows some minor scuffs and vinyl remains in Near Mint condition)

Shop for these and other rare vinyl records on RareVinyl.com
Got vinyl records or a Record Collection to sell? Sell to Vinyl-Wanted.com

Be the first to comment

We want your comments please!