Kurt Cobain’s iconic custom Fender Mustang guitar from Nirvana’s “In Utero” tour is going up for auction.
Along with the guitar, Cobain’s olive green cardigan from the MTV “Unplugged” performance also will be headed for the block during Julien’s Auctions’ “Icons and Idols” event at New York’s Hard Rock Café on Oct. 25 and 26. The auction also will take place online.
Cobain’s left-handed “Sky Stang III” was built by Scott Zimmerman at FujiGen in Japan and played extensively on the “In Utero” tour in 1993. Among the customizations was fitting a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker at the bridge. Zimmerman was contacted by Fender to build the guitar since the Fender Custom Shop was not equipped to build lefty Mustangs at the time they were ordered. The guitar shipped on Oct. 22, 1993, and was one of only two guitars that shipped on that date with the “Offset Contour Body Patented” stamp.
The guitar is one of the most important guitars from Cobain to ever come to auction and is estimated to sell between $300,000-$500,000.
Cobain had a long love affair with Fender offset contour bodied Mustangs and Jaguars and owned several. In one of his journals, he sketched out a plan for a “Jagstang” with a small headstock, “very thin” neck, contoured body that had the best of both worlds, and some of the features he got with his “Sky Stang III,” like the turqoise finish and double coil pickup.
His Jaguar and Mustang guitars were some of the only ones that most often stayed in one piece. Cobain was known to play cheap guitars that were destroyed on stage, especially during the “Nevermind” tours. But not all were so lucky. In 2008, one of Cobain’s smashed Fender Mustangs from Nirvana’s first U.S. tour sold at auction for $100,000.
Looking for a more affordable Kurt Cobain Mustang? Several years ago, Fender created a signature series of Kurt Cobain Mustangs and Jaguars that were based on many of his mods, including the Seymore Duncan humbuckers. You won’t find any new, but they’re more likely to be in one piece and under $1,500.
In addition to Cobain’s memorabilia, the “Icons and Idols” also will auction Elvis Presley’s 1968 rosewood Fender Telecaster as well as his Gold Mercedes-Benz and 1976 Harley Davidson, handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen, and many other rarities. For more, visit Julien’s Auctions.