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Kurt Cobain: Cigarette pack and 'Skystang I' guitar mark record-breaking sale at auction

Kurt Cobain: Cigarettes and 'Skystang I' guitar mark record-breaking sale at auction
Kurt Cobain: Cigarettes and 'Skystang I' guitar mark record-breaking sale at auction Copyright Getty Images -
Copyright Getty Images -
By David Mouriquand
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The Nirvana frontman's pack of cigarettes and his left-handed Fender Mustang electric guitar played in his final public performance before he tragically died in April 1994 both sold for record prices at auction.


And you thought the price of cigarettes had skyrocketed...

An unopened pack of American Spirit cigarettes owned by Nirvana frontman.) Kurt Cobain, described as “maybe the most expensive packet of cigarettes ever”, was sold at an auction in Nashville for $5,200 (€4,760) – far outreaching the estimated $800 - $1,200 (€740 - €1,100).

The American Spirits - still preserved in the original cellophane wrapping – were sold by Julien’s Auctions as part of its “Played, Worn, & Torn: Rock ’N’ Roll Iconic Guitars And Memorabilia” auction.

“American Spirit menthols were the preferred brand of the late rock star,” the lot description describes. “This pack was saved by Cobain’s roommate at the Los Angeles rehab clinic where he briefly stayed several days before taking his own life.”

Elsewhere, Cobain's Skystang I guitar sold for $1,587,500 (€1,453,229).

The left-handed Fender Mustang electric guitar played by Cobain in his final public performance before he tragically died in April 1994 expected to fetch $1,000,000 - $2,000,000 (€922,000 - €1.8 million).

“This is a really incredible historic guitar. Of course, it's Kurt Cobain. It's his Fender Mustang. It's his SkyStang 1 guitar, his workhorse, his most played guitar of all time,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien's Auctions.

“Used on the ‘In Utero tour’, he played it on 53 out of 63 shows. The last guitar he ever played in the United States was in Seattle, January '94. This is the last guitar he ever played, ever, which was in Munich, Germany in 1994. And of course, sadly, we lost Kurt in April of 1994.”

Nolan added: “This is a really iconic guitar, original strings attached, and the original guitar strap with black masking tape covering the Fender brand name because Kurt just didn't love branding.”

Several other Cobain items were up for sale, including the jeans he wore in the 'Heart-Shaped Box' music video - sold for $412,750 (€377,000); a sketch and handwritten 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' lyric notes - sold for $91,000 (€83,000); a yellow argyle cardigan - sold for $13,000 (€11,900).

All items were originally left to Cobain’s roommate at the Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles.

It wasn’t just about the Nirvana frontman, mind you. 

Other highlights of the three-day auction include:

• Eric Clapton’s iconic 'The Fool' guitar sold for $1.27 million (€1.16 million) to The Jim Irsay Collection in Indianapolis, making the sale the first time a Clapton guitar has sold for seven figures at auction and set a world record for the sale of a Clapton guitar.

• Johnny Cash's owned Gibson Epiphone PR325S acoustic guitar played at a dinner for Joaquin Phoenix who would go on to play the Man in Black in the film Walk the Line: $63,500 (€58,000), nearly 20 times its original estimate of $3,000 - $5,000.


• Dolly Parton's 1970s custom made, and stage worn cape: $10,160 (€9,300), sold five times its original estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

• Dizzy Gillespie's Martin Committee trumpet: $76,200 (€69,000), sold above estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

• Keith Richards' Rolling Stones band signed 1999 Fender Classic Series '69 Thinline Telecaster electric guitar sold for $45,500 (€41,650).

Which one would you have bid on?


Additional sources • AP

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