Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E Acoustic-Electric guitar broke world records today (June 20) when it was sold via Julien’s Auctions.
The acoustic guitar sold for a staggering $6,010,000 setting new world records for 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.
The 1959 Martin D-18E Acoustic-Electric guitar was famously played by Cobain on Nirvana’s episode of MTV Unplugged, which was recorded on November 18, 1993. The Cobain guitar was estimated to sell for $1 million. Scroll down to see photos of the legendary instrument.
Per Julien’s, “The buyer was Peter Freedman, Founder of RØDE Microphones, who attended the live auction in Beverly Hills and successfully won the guitar in a bidding war among collectors and bidders all across the globe who participated live on the floor, online and on the phone.”
Julien’s added, “Mr. Freedman plans to display the guitar in a worldwide tour of exhibitions to be held in distinguished galleries and art spaces, with all proceeds (including the guitar) going to the performing arts.”
In a statement, Freedman said, “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 continued, “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.”
He concluded, “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.”
This guitar was infamously part of a divorce dispute between Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, and her ex-husband, Isaiah Silva. The divorce was settled in May 2018 after months of battling out in court.
Silva contended that Frances gave the guitar to him as a gift, while Frances said she would never have given away the guitar because of its significance.
Per TMZ, Silva was awarded the guitar as part of the divorce settlement in lieu of Frances Bean not having to owe him any spousal support, of which he requested $25,000 per month.