Kurt Cobain's guitar from Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit video is up for auction

Virgin Radio

11 Apr 2022, 14:07

Kurt Cobain performing live, and a 1969 blue Fender.

Credit: Getty / Rex

If you’ve always wanted to get your hands on the guitar that Kurt Cobain used in Nirvana’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit video, now’s your chance. However, prepare to raid the piggy bank, because it’s expected to go for a whole lot of money.

The beautiful 1969 blue Fender is expected to sell for up to $800,000 when it it auctioned in the US in May. Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions said: “This is one of the most iconic guitars ever to come to the auction block, this is the blue Mustang Fender guitar, one of Kurt Cobain's favourite guitars of all time.”

Released in 1991, Smells Like Teen Spirit was the lead-single and opening track to Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind. The song shot the band to global fame and is one of the key moments at the start of the grunge movement. The accompanying video was set in a school gym, and saw the three-piece playing as a pep rally descended into chaos. 

The clip won two MTV Video Music Awards and, in 2000, the Guinness World Records named Smells Like Teen Spirit the most played video on MTV Europe. The video has since gained more than 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

As reported by Reuters, the guitar has stayed with the family since Cobain's death in 1994. Speaking about the item, Nolan said that it comes “with its original case and, also, the guitar strap, so that's... really important to collectors when they come to the auction to know the originality.” 

If you want to bid on the guitar, then it will be part of a Music Icons auction, which is taking place in New York between May 20th and May 22nd. The auction will also be online. The price range of $600,000 to $800,000 for the guitar is, according to Nolan, “a very conservative auction estimate.” 

As its name suggests, the Music Icons auction will also feature plenty of other items from notable musical stars, and a portion of the proceeds will go to a mental health charity.