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
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 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.
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.
JULIEN'S AUCTIONS PUBLIC EXHIBITION & LIVE AUCTION LOCATION
257 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
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
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
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About Julien's Auctions
Julien’s Auctions is the world record-breaking auction house to the stars. Collaborating with the famous and the exclusive, Julien’s Auctions produces high profile auctions in the film, music, art and sports 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, Hugh Hefner, Pelé and many more.
In 2016, Julien’s realized $5 million in the historic auction of the Brazilian soccer icon, three-time World Cup Champion and FIFA Player of the Century’s collection of memorabilia, personal property and awards, which featured the sale of Pelé’s 3 World Cup Gold medals, sold for a combined total of US $970,992 (£674,300),
including his 1970 World Cup winner’s medal sold for $427,100 (£346,000), which set world records for the most expensive Pelé item and the most expensive soccer medal ever sold at auction. In 2020, Julien’s shattered multiple records of sports jerseys sold at auction in the sale of a trio of historic #23 basketball
jerseys worn by Michael Jordan (his historic 1984 “Signing Day” official Chicago Bulls rookie #23 which sold for $320,000, a new world record sale for a jersey worn by the 14 Time All-Star and five-time MVP legend), Barack Obama (the forty-fourth U.S. President’s 1979 #23 Punahou School jersey which sold for
$192,000, a new world record selling price for a high school jersey) and Lebron James (the NBA legend’s 2003-2004 official Cleveland Cavaliers rookie year NBA jersey rookie season which sold for $128,000) which combined totaled $640,000 as well as Colin Kaepernick’s official San Francisco 49ers rookie jersey which
sold for $128,000, a new world record for most expensive NFL jersey sold at auction. Other notable Sports memorabilia sold by Julien’s Auctions include Babe Ruth’s 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers coaching uniform which sold for $187,500 and NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s 1974 Dodge Charger Daytona race-winning car
which sold for $500,000.
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. In 2020, Julien’s Auctions received its third Guinness Book of World Record placement for the sale of Kurt Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar,
which sold for $6 million making it the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold at auction.
Based in Los Angeles, 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.
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