Yesterday, the late Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang, seen in Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video–which aired on Sept. 29, 1991–was sold for $4.5 million at auction in New York.
The guitar was auctioned by Julien’s Auctions who initially listed the estimated value of the guitar as $600,000-$800,000. According to the Associated Press, The Lake Placid Blue 1969 Fender Competition Mustang was owned by the Cobain Family and was displayed as part of the owner of the Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay’s collection of rock memorabilia before the auction. It was Irsay who made the winning bid at the auction on Sunday to personally and officially own the guitar. The Cobain family will donate a portion of the sale to the Colts’ Kicking The Stigma mental health awareness campaign.
“I am thrilled to preserve and protect another piece of American culture that changed the way we looked at the world,” Irsay said. “The fact that a portion of the proceeds will go toward our effort to kick the stigma surrounding mental health makes this acquisition even more special to me.”
Over his career, Cobain was known for playing Mustang guitars and smashing them on stage, though the guitars he destroyed were out of tune and hastily assembled.
“Out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite. They’re cheap and totally inefficient, and they sound like crap and are very small,” said Cobain in a 1991 interview with Guitar World.
According to The Associated Press article, Isray planned to place an opening bid of $2 million on the guitar off the bat but ended up spending $5 million to purchase the guitar, as he knew it was for a good cause.
Watch “Smells Like Teen Spirit” below.