Rock and roll memorabilia is a big business, and guitars used by the biggest rock stars command big prices. According to Rolling Stone, the most expensive guitar ever auctioned was Kurt Cobain’s guitar from his 1993 MTV Unplugged performance. The 1959 Marin D-18E acoustic guitar sold in 2020 for just over $6M. Until this past week, coming in second was a guitar that belonged to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, which sold in 2019 for $3.98M. Well, now that guitar has slipped to third place. Another one of Cobain’s guitars strums into second.
The Lake Placid blue guitar, consigned by the Cobain family, enticed a very spirited bidding battle. Collectors from all over the world vied for the late singer’s iconic guitar, and in the end, Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, was victorious. It was estimated to make $600K – 800K and led the sale when it hammered down at $3.75M ($4.55M w/p).
Irsay’s passion for rock and roll and pop culture has driven him to amass an amazing collection. A few of the famous guitars he owns include David Gilmour’s guitar (mentioned above), Jerry Garcia’s Tiger guitar ($1M), and Bob Dylan’s Stratocaster ($965K). Irsay plans to open a museum to showcase his collection.
When the family found out that Irsay purchased the guitar, they decided to donate part of the proceeds to Kicking the Stigma, an Indiana-based non-profit that the Colts and Irsay started to help battle mental illness.