BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Grunge became gold Saturday as the guitar Kurt Cobain played on Nirvana’s 1993 “MTV Unplugged” performance months before his death sold for an eye-popping $6 million at auction.
The 1959 Martin D-18E that Cobain played in the band’s rare acoustic performance and subsequent live album was sold to Australian Peter Freedman, owner of Røde Microphones, at the Music Icons event run by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California.
The bids opened at $1 million for the sale that ended up breaking several world records.
Cobain used it to play tunes including “About a Girl” and “All Apologies” at the Nov. 18, 1993, show in New York that came less than five months before the singer and songwriter died at age 27.
A day earlier at the same auction event, a custom guitar played by Prince at the height of his stardom in the 1980s and 1990s sold for $563,500, a small sum compared with the Cobain guitar but well over the $100,000 to $200,000 it was expected to fetch.
Prince played the blindingly blue guitar with the artist’s “love” symbol on its neck beginning on the 1984 Purple Rain Tour, as well as on the classic albums “Lovesexy” and “Sign O’ The Times.” He used it into the early 1990s.
Archivists going through Prince’s possessions at his Paisley Park home and musical headquarters in Minnesota recently found the guitar that was thought to be lost during the four years since his death from an overdose at age 57.
Also Friday, a macrame belt that Elvis Presley wore about 30 times on stage brought in nearly 10 times its expected price, with a final bid of $298,000, and an ivory gown worn by Madonna in her 1990 “Vogue” video sold for $179,200.