Press Release

For Immediate release!


KURT COBAIN’S ICONIC "MTV UNPLUGGED" GUITAR TO HEADLINE MUSIC ICONS

1959 Martin D-18E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Played by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s Historic 1993 Multi-Platinum Grammy Award Winning MTV Unplugged Performance to be Auctioned in Beverly Hills, California

In that moment, Cobain’s mastery was in full view – Rolling Stone

FRIDAY, JUNE 19 AND SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 2020

Fans Can View the Guitar on Display Starting May 15th at Hard Rock Cafe ® in Piccadilly Circus and Subsequently at Julien’s Auctions Gallery in Beverly Hills Starting June 15th

Julien's Auctions Music Icons Catalogue

Los Angeles, California – (May 11th, 2020) – Julien’s Auctions, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars, has announced that the guitar played by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s acclaimed MTV Unplugged in New York performance will be sold at their MUSIC ICONS event taking place on Friday, June 19th and Saturday, June 20th, 2020 live in Beverly Hills and online at juliensauctions.com.

Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E guitar

Kurt Cobain played this 1959 Martin D-18E in what would become Nirvana’s most legendary performance (seen in cover above). In a live taping for the popular MTV Unplugged series on November 18th, 1993, approximately five months before his death, Cobain chose this guitar to paint what Rolling Stone called "his last self-portrait". Nirvana’s acoustic performance that night produced one of the greatest live albums of all time, MTV Unplugged in New York. Cuts from the album, released seven months after Cobain’s death, would go on to become the most celebrated and defining versions of Nirvana’s songs, "About A Girl," "All Apologies," "Come As You Are," and "Dumb," as well as covers of David Bowie’s "The Man Who Sold the World," The Meat Puppets’ "Lake of Fire," and a haunting rendition of Lead Belly’s "Black Girl" renamed "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." MTV Unplugged in New York debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard charts and is consistently ranked among the top ten live albums of all time. Cobain’s mastery of this guitar along with Nirvana’s flawless acoustic and vocal performance propelled the MTV Unplugged in New York album to multi-platinum certification and won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996. It was the seventh of only 302 D-18Es built by Martin and was customized by Cobain who added a Bartolini pickup to the soundhole. The starting estimate for the guitar is one million U.S. dollars.

Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E guitar and case In addition, the sale of the guitar comes with its original hard-shell case decorated by Cobain with a flyer from the punk rock band Poison Idea’s 1990 album Feel the Darkness. Three baggage claim ticket stubs are attached to the handle, along with an Alaska Airlines sticker affixed to the case. The storage compartment of the case also contains Cobain’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. (all in photo right)

Fans can also have a chance to view the Rock ’N’ Roll artifact in the window display of the Hard Rock Cafe ® Piccadilly Circus beginning on May 15th until May 31st then at Julien’s Auctions Gallery in Beverly Hills from June 15th through June 19th before the auction.

"Julien’s Auctions is proud to offer this historic guitar from Kurt Cobain, who upended the music industry and pop culture at large with his mythic performance fronting Nirvana on MTV Unplugged in New York," said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions. "This important guitar has earned its rightful place in Rock ’N’ Roll history as the instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time."

In addition, a black custom made and smashed Fender Stratocaster guitar used by Kurt Cobain while performing with Nirvana on the 1994 In Utero Tour (estimate: $60,000-$80,000), a metallic silver lame long sleeve button-down shirt worn by the artist in Nirvana’s 1993 "Heart-shaped Box" music video (estimate: $10,000-$20,000) and a copy of Nirvana’s 1989 Bleach CD cover signed "Kurdt" and inscribed with drawings by Cobain (estimate: $1,000-$2,000), will also be offered in the auction. Other items from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York performance will also be up for auction including the typed set list used by Cobain featuring the songs "About A Girl" and "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a group of three typed lyric sheets for the songs "Plateau," "Man Who Sold the World," and "Lake of Fire" (estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a single sheet of handwritten lyrics to the song "Oh Me" (estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a typed letter from Nirvana’s management company Gold Mountain to Cobain regarding the MTV Unplugged set list (estimate: $2,000-$3,000) and Cobain’s Winter 1993 issue of Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) newsletter published by independent radio broadcaster WFMU, which he was seen reading at the MTV Unplugged rehearsals with Nirvana (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

Julien’s Auctions has broken world records with the sale of Kurt Cobain’s memorabilia, including Cobain’s cardigan worn on MTV Unplugged in New York, which sold for a record $334,000, his In Utero tour Fender Mustang guitar which sold for $340,000, his cardigan worn on his last photoshoot which sold for $75,000 and a Nirvana paper plate set list written in Cobain’s handwriting which sold for a record $22,400.

Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E guitar


JULIEN'S AUCTIONS PUBLIC EXHIBITION & LIVE AUCTION LOCATION

Julien's Auctions
257 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Public Exhibition
Monday, June 15th – Friday, June 19th, 2020
Daily: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Free to the Public

LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION
Julien's Auctions Beverly Hills
257 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Music Icons

Friday, June 19th, 2020
Session I: (Lots 1-214) 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time
Session II: (Lots 215-428) 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Saturday, June 20th, 2020
Session III: (Lots 429-620) 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time
Session IV: (Lots 621-832) 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time

For inquiries, please email info@juliensauctions.com or call 310-836-1818.

For hi res images at 300 dpi (and above), please email requests to: info@juliensauctions.com


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For Inquiries, Please Email info@juliensauctions.com or Call 310-836-1818.


Register to bid

LIVE AUCTIONS

Registration is required to bid in this live auction and can be done online before the sale at the JuliensAuctions.com Registration page to bid by phone, proxy or online at JuliensLive.com/signup/ to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE AUCTIONS

Registration is required to bid in this online exclusive auction and can be done online before the sale at JuliensLive.com/signup/ to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818.


Placing Bids

LIVE AUCTIONS

There are four ways to bid in this sale:

  1. Bid through Julien's Auctions Online Live in Real Time at JuliensLive.com or via our iPhone app.
  2. Bid over the telephone through an auction house representative.
  3. Submit a bid in person.
  4. Enter Absentee bids. Absentee bid forms are printed in the back of each catalogue, and are also available by calling Julien's Auctions or online www.juliensauctions.com.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE AUCTION

  1. Enter Online Absentee bids in Advance at JuliensLive.com.
  2. Place Online Live Bids in Real Time in lot order on the concluding day of the auction at JuliensLive.com.


Media contact

info@juliensauctions.com
For hi res images at 300 dpi (and above), please email requests to: info@juliensauctions.com.


About Julien's Auctions

Julien’s Auctions is the world record-breaking auction house. Collaborating with the famous and the exclusive, Julien’s Auctions produces high profile auctions in the film, music, sports and art markets. Julien’s Auctions has received international recognition for its unique and innovative auction events, which attract thousands of collectors, investors, fans and enthusiasts from around the world. Julien’s Auctions specializes in sales of iconic artifacts and notable collections including Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Banksy, Cher, Michael Jackson, U2, Barbra Streisand, Les Paul, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix and many more. In 2016, Julien’s Auctions received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, The Marilyn Monroe "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress which sold for $4.8 million. Julien’s Auctions achieved placement in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 for the sale of Michael Jackson’s white glove, which sold for $480,000 making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction. Based in Beverly Hills, Julien’s Auctions has a global presence bringing their auctions and exhibitions to targeted destinations worldwide including London, New York, Las Vegas, Japan and China. Live auctions are presented for bidders on-site and online via live streaming video and mobile technology. For more information on Julien’s Auctions, go to www.juliensauctions.com.

Connect with Julien’s Auctions at www.facebook.com/JuliensAuctions or www.twitter.com/JuliensAuctions
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