The 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic guitar used by Kurt Cobain in the popular 1993 ‘MTV Unplugged’ session. It has broken records for the most expensive guitar sold. It sold for over US$6million close to AUD$8.5million. The winner of the bid, which had a total of seven bids went to Mr Peter Freedman, An Australian businessman and the founder of Røde Microphones.
Kurt Cobain purchased the Martin D-18E in the early 90s at Voltage Guitars in Los Angeles, he modified it for his left handed use. I guess that added to the rarity of the guitar, as it was already one 1 in 302 manufactured. For the winner Mr Freedman, the guitar came with the original hard-shell case decorated with an Alaksa Airlines sticker and a duct-taped flier for one of Kurt Cobain’s favourite punk bands, Poison Idea, some guitar picks, half used pack of strings and a suede ‘stash bag’ with a tiny knife, fork and well…a spoon.
Peter Freedman plans to display the guitar on a worldwide tour and the proceeds will go into the well needed performing arts sector. Not sure how one would get to see or buy tickets to this worldwide tour, maybe Peter will play a few songs on it, let’s just hope it’s not Wonderwall.
Peter Freedman tells ABC Radio Brisbane “I did it to highlight the massive crisis in the arts.
“When I found out it was available, I thought, ‘Nothing is going to beat doing this’ — and I was right.” Freedman said he was happy for the auction to go high as it was “high as it needed to”
“I would have paid $40 million if I had to — I have a house, clothes and food, so what do I need the money for?” Freedman said.
Freedman spoke about the music industry –
“Musos and entertainers get nothing — it’s as though they don’t exist, I know people who are sleeping on the floor, don’t have money for food and have families — they need help now. We’re going to tour it to Sydney and Melbourne. There’s going to be ticket sales, poster sales, and I’m going to sell the guitar at the end.”
Previously the most expensive guitar ever sold was a black Stratocaster owned by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd which sold in an auction for the tiny amount of $3.95 million in 2019.
In May 2020 when the auction was first announced the auction house CEO Darren Julien said “This important guitar has earned its rightful place in rock & roll history as the instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time.”