Australian businessman buys Kurt Cobain’s ‘MTV Unplugged’ guitar for record-breaking $6million

"I’m going to use it to highlight the plight of artists worldwide by touring it around"

Kurt Cobain‘s legendary ‘MTV Unplugged’ guitar has broken the record for most expensive guitar ever sold, selling for US$6.01million at auction, a rough equivalent of £4.85million. The winning bid – from a total of just seven bids – went to Peter Freedman, an Australian businessman and founder of Røde Microphones.

The 1959 Martin D-18E used in Nirvana‘s iconic ‘MTV Unplugged’ performance in 1993 was originally expected to sell for somewhere between $1 and 2million as part of the ‘Music Icons’ sale at Julien’s Auctions on June 19 and 20. Bidding had reached $1million before the auction’s official opening.

When interviewed by the PA News agency, Freedman said he was “scared shitless and shaking” when the auction ended. Freedman also said he was going to use the guitar to support artists, and doesn’t intend to hold onto it forever.


“I paid for it but I’m going to use it to highlight the plight of artists worldwide by touring it around and then I’m going to sell it and use the dough for that as well, later,” he said.

The previous record for most expensive guitar ever sold was a black Stratocaster owned by Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour, which sold at auction for $3.95 million in 2019.

When the auction was first announced in May, 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.”

The guitar was sold with its original hard-case, stamped with a flyer for Poison Idea’s 1990 album ‘Feel The Darkness’ and containing a half-used pack of guitar strings, picks and a suede “stash” bag.

Other Nirvana relics that were up for grabs included a smashed up Fender Stratocaster used by Cobain on the band’s 1994 ‘In Utero’ tour, the t-shirt he wore in their music video for ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and the setlist from the ‘MTV Unplugged’ performance.


Last year the green cardigan Cobain wore during the same performance also broke records when it sold for $334,000 (£184,864).

Nirvana’s acoustic performance for ‘MTV Unplugged’ was recorded in November 1993, five months before Cobain died, aged 27.