LOS ANGELES – Bidding for the guitar Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged in New York” performance in 1993 surpassed $1 million at an auction in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles on Friday.
Auction house Julien’s estimates the bidding could reach $2 million by closing, with other lots of famous musicians having already been snapped up in the “Music Icons” sale.
The custom-made electric Cloud 2 “Blue Angel” guitar on which Prince played “Purple Rain” during the 1980s and 1990s was sold for $563,500.
One buyer also paid $298,000 for a macrame belt Elvis Presley wore at one of his concerts, while another dished out $179,000 for one of the dresses Madonna wore in the video of her 1990 hit song “Vogue.”
But the star attraction of the auction, held over June 19-20 in Los Angeles, is the guitar belonging to Nirvana’s late frontman.
The opening bid for this 1959 D-18E Martin guitar started at $250,000, quickly shot past $1 million and is expected to double in the next 24 hours.
The lot sale also includes the original hardshell case, which the musician decorated with a sticker of Poison Idea’s 1990 album “Feel the Darkness.”
With a much more intimate tone than that of Nirvana’s studio albums, “MTV Unplugged in New York” is a recording of the acoustic concert that the band gave in November 1993 for the MTV network.
The album was released a year after the performance, around seven months after Cobain committed suicide, and went on to become a commercial and critical hit.
“MTV Unplugged in New York” was Nirvana’s first release after the musician’s death and earned a place of honor in the band’s short but influential discography, which also includes the albums “Bleach” (1989), “Nevermind” (1991) and “In Utero” (1993).
Also up for grabs at the auction are memorabilia and artifacts belonging to other music legends including “a rare page of handwritten working lyrics for ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ by Paul McCartney; Jim Morrison’s rare and historic ‘Paris Journal,’ filled with handwritten thoughts and poems by The Doors frontman shortly before his death; Johnny Cash’s most fabled professional and personal items including his tour used Yamaha baby grand piano; a star-studded collection of jewelry and belt buckles from Elvis Presley; and Michael Jackson’s famous black loafers,” Julien’s said.