The items themselves are often very cheap in retail value terms – or without any value at all - in 2004, Britney Spears spat out some chewing gum while performing a gig in Toronto. A fan put it on eBay and saw the bidding reach $14,000. No matter what the item, if it has been owned by someone in the spotlight, the price can skyrocket.

Nirvana memorabilia is hugely popular. As one of the biggest American rock bands during the late eighties, early nineties, they spearheaded the hugely significant Grunge scene and even though only producing 3 studio albums, are still regarding as one of the most influential bands of modern times. So it was very exciting to see a part of this history sent to the Barnebys valuation service early in 2015.


Described by the seller, it is “black & white Mexican Fender Stratocaster, played and smashed by Cobain, then pieced back together and customized by the guitar tech”

The guitar was used during the American leg of the In Utero Tour, in late 1993. At the end of the show on Feb 6, 1994 at Palais Omnisport, Rennes, France, Cobain himself handed the guitar to a seller, who was in the audience. The seller said he has since “left it completely unaltered, and it is fully playable.”

A worn and repaired second-hand guitar would not normally be something to get excited about. A new guitar can be bought for around $600 but as Roger Stiles, at Art Market Solutions explains, it is about much more than that:

“As a left-handed Mexican Fender Stratocaster it is not that expensive as a basic guitar… The quality of the provenance is everything and if [authenticity] established, could add thousands of pounds to the value.”

He adds that “condition is crucial” but “a good condition Stratocaster which he is known for could fetch in the region of £30,000 GBP if not more.”

In 2007, iCollector sold Cobain’s 1953 Martin D-18 guitar for $29,894 and in 2006 Heritage Auctions sold his Mosrite Gospel Mark IV guitar for $130,895.


Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 14.49.31 Kurt Cobain’s 1953 Martin D-18 guitar

Most fans walk away with their ticket stub and maybe a tee-shirt after they go to watch their favorite bands play. A guitar like this is a great find for collectors and much more of an appealing buy than some used chewing gum.

This Mexican Fender Stratocaster is now finally on it's own auction journey with Cooper Owen Auctions. It is up for sale in August 2016 in their Iconic Music/Media Auction with a high estimate of £100,000.

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