Kurt Cobain's broken Fender Stratocaster sold for $596,000 — 10 times more than the starting price — at Julien's Auctions in New York City on Saturday. Cobain had smashed the electric guitar while recording the album Nevermind in 1991, and it was later put back together but left unplayable. He had signed it as "Kurdt Kobain."
Kurt Cobain's black Fender Stratocaster is covered in scratches and chipped wood. The names of Cobain and his former band, Nirvana, are misspelled. And the guitar itself, which was once smashed and put back together, is no longer playable.
The guitar was eventually repaired and gifted to his friend and musical collaborator, Mark Lanegan of the Screaming Trees.
"Hell-o Mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain / Washed up rockstar," Cobain wrote in silver marker on the body of the guitar. Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl also signed their names.
Other iconic references on the Fender Stratocaster is the inscription "Boddah Lives," scratched into the neck plate, which refers to Cobain's childhood imaginary friend. The guitar's case also includes the phrase "Abort Christ" written in large white letters.
Although the guitar "was supposed to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000," according to TMZ, the surprise $600,000 paid price was a steal compared to the $6,010,000 paid for Cobain's Martin D–18E, which was sold at a Los Angeles auction in 2020 — considered to be the most expensive guitar ever sold at an auction.