An Aussie bloke has bought the acoustic guitar that Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana‘s iconic 1993 MTV Unplugged performance for an eye-watering US$6 million (that’s about AUD $8.78 million dollarydoos, folks), making it the most expensive guitar ever sold in the history of guitars.
The 1959 Martin D-18E was originally expected to fetch around US $1-2 million at auction as part of the ‘Music Icons’ sale at Julien’s Auctions this weekend, but Aussie founder of RØDE Microphones, Peter Freedman, ended up outbidding the competition to pay a grand total of US $6,010,000 for the choice piece of rock history.
But he won’t be letting it gather dust on a shelf. Instead, the local legend has pledged to take the guitar on a worldwide exhibition tour, showing it off at galleries and art spaces, with all proceeds going to help struggling artists.
“It’s a big deal. I didn’t even buy it for me. I paid for it but I’m going to use it to highlight the plight of artists worldwide by touring it around and then I’m going to sell it and use the dough for that as well, later,” Freedman tells the PA news agency (via The Guardian), adding that he was “scared shitless and shaking” when the auctioneer’s gavel dropped.
“The musicians and artists have supported my family since the 60s,” he adds, referencing the little electronics shop his family first opened in Sydney back in 1967. “We’ve been in that game forever so I’ve been very lucky with Rode and I’ve been able to give away lots of money, quite a few mill.”
Freedman bid on the customised acoustic axe, which also came with its original hard-shell case decorated by the grunge icon, in person at the auction in Beverley Hills, and he reckons there’s no limit to what he would have paid for it.
“There were some seriously rich people here and I suppose I could have been completely scared shitless and somebody who has got billions and billions just pays, what, 20, 30 million?” he says. “But I would have kept going.”
What a bloke.
Meanwhile, Julien’s Auctions reckons the sale set five new world records, including most expensive guitar and most expensive piece of memorabilia.
FYI the previous record for most expensive guitar ever sold was a black Strat owned by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, which sold at auction for US $3.95 million back in 2019.