Iconic Fender Stratocaster, Smashed by Kurt Cobain, Fetches $596,900

An iconic black Fender Stratocaster, once destructively rocked by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, fetched an astounding $596,900.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Iconic Fender Stratocaster, Smashed by Kurt Cobain, Fetches $596,900

In an auction that has set the music memorabilia world ablaze, an iconic black Fender Stratocaster, once destructively rocked by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, fetched an astounding $596,900. This hefty sum significantly overshadows the initial pre-sale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000, according to Julien's Auction House.

The grunge guitar, repaired and repurposed, carries the spectral resonance of Nirvana's explosive post-"Nevermind" tour performances.

A Memento of Cobain's Raw Power

The instrument is embedded with a historic aura of destruction and recovery.

It comes with a black hard case, defiantly inscribed with the words "Abort Christ" in white block letters, and a white Ernie Ball stage-use guitar strap, invoking the rebel spirit of Cobain and the grunge era. This relic, bearing the battle scars of Cobain's tumultuous stage performances, was subsequently repaired and generously gifted to his friend and fellow musician, Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees.

On the guitar's body, a silver-marker inscription by Cobain reads, "Hell-o Mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain / Washed up rockstar." Adding to the authenticity, Nirvana's bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl have also left their signatures on the iconic instrument. "This artifact is particularly special," Julien said, underscoring the significance of the lot.

A Soaring Market for Nirvana Memorabilia

In recent years, memorabilia associated with Kurt Cobain and Nirvana have been steadily gaining in value and rarity. "Items from Kurt Cobain or Nirvana are becoming more difficult to obtain and they are one of the highest in terms of collectability of all rock bands," Darren Julien, the CEO of Julien's Auctions, told NPR.

The skyrocketing price reflects the enduring impact and fascination with Nirvana's music, as well as Cobain's tragically brief career. The guitar, modified for the band's electric live shows and showcasing signs of extensive use, has been reassembled though it's no longer playable.

This auction follows a previous sale by the same house of another Cobain casualty — a 1973 Fender Mustang, destroyed during a performance of a song from the band's debut album, "Bleach." That particular guitar reached a final bid of $486,400, affirming the lucrative allure of such potent symbols of the grunge legend's seismic influence on rock music.

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