A black-and-white Fender Stratocaster guitar used by Kurt Cobain for the end-of-concert, instrument-destroying jams during Nirvana‘s final tour –specifically at the band’s February 16th, 1994 gig in Rennes, France – has hit the auction block. The seller has posted the instrument on auction house Cooper Owen with a minimum required bid of £34,000 ($48,500). The Strat is projected to sell for upwards of $140,000.
“This is what I can say about the guitar Kurt Cobain gave me at the end of the 16th February 1994 show at Palais Omnisport, Rennes, France. I’ve been doing a lot of research about this guitar,” the seller writes in his description of the item. “According to James ‘Jim’ Vincent, Kurt’s guitar tech from Dec. 93 onwards, Kurt had five of these lefty black and white Strats, shipped by Fender specifically for the end-of-set jamming and destruction, as they were cheap and they were scared he would otherwise smash his new Mustangs.”
The seller admits that the Stratocasters weren’t used as actual instruments during the European tour – his research found that Cobain last used that type of guitar during the band’s In Utero U.S. tour, most notably during the Live & Loud concert that was subsequently broadcast on MTV – they were the guitars subjected to the band’s onstage annihilation at concert’s end. He also doesn’t specify how exactly he came in possession of the instrument.
As the seller also notes, two of the five Strats were irreparably destroyed, although the pieces were later sold by Vincent. One of the five guitars was unused, while two were smashed, repaired and still playable; of those two guitars, Vincent still has custody of one, and the other is in the Cooper Owen auction.
The guitar joins a batch of unique Cobain items to hit the auction block in recent months, including the frontman’s green cardigan that he wore during the taping of MTV Unplugged in New York and a lock of his hair.
Also up for auction at Cooper Owen: A self-portrait John Lennon painted while in art college in 1958. The piece has set a minimum bid of £2,500,000, roughly $3.5 million. The auction for both the Cobain guitar and Lennon portrait ends May 20th.